What’s up Jason Haft? Can you intoduce yourself?
Sup… yeah, my name is Jason Haft from Union City, California. Reppin’ Connected INC (in Northern Cali).
When did you start with rap music?
I started listening to rap in the 80’s. I was just a kid trying to break dance after seeing Beatstreet and Breakin/Electric Boogaloo… but I started writing poetry in 95. I didn’t actually start rhyming over beats until 99-2000.
What made you step into the music business?
I got into the music business to actually piss people off. I do this music thing for fun. Lots of people that use to be around me were into rhyming, and acting big headed about it. So while they were talking bad about me trying to hold me back, not including me in their recording sessions and what not, I just did my own thing and became successful. I put my stuff out for sale at the stores or on the net and they’re still in that beginning stage going nowhere or asking me for hookups.
Is Jason Haft your real name?
Yeah, Jason Haft is my real name. I got a couple aliases but now, the people who really know me, know me by my real name.
Is “Just Defying Hatred” your first album?
Yes. It’s the first thing I put out for fun. But my first official solo album will be “Language Arts” which will be released and distributed nationwide through Connected INC. It’ll be a double album, one disc is Language Arts, the other disc will be the original “Just Defying Hatred” album.
Tell us something about the album… Did you produce it all by yourself, what are the features on the album…?
I put out that album just to have something out there. I only pressed 1,000 and gave away 200. The other 800 were sold and I even put it up on the net for download for a bit. I produced everything. From original music to sampling, to writing, recording, engineering, & mixing. I didn’t master it though.. I had a professional do it. It features my lady Lindsay & the owner of Connected INC, Lil Coner.
In some parts of your album you sound quite mad; you got a lot of energy on the album, you got some nice battle songs…. How would you describe yourself as an mc? Are you a battle mc (like Celph Titled or Skuntdunnana), freestyler, big lyricist (like Nas or Biggie)?
Lol…. mad? I guess I was passionate at the time just to make songs and talk shit I guess. Like I said, a lot of people didn’t want to see me successful at all.. from people that use to be around me, to churches, to whatever frustrated me in my life.. But I honestly consider myself a poet. I got battle songs, songs bout life, religion, family, everything that’s real to me I guess. I’d consider myself an MC mainly because I’ve actually performed, headlined & hosted at shows.. I wouldn’t compare myself to any other artist cuz I don’t think I sound like anybody but myself. But I do battle, freestyle, write, etc.. I’m just more into making more meaningful music now so the random battle track won’t be created as much as before but the arrogance is still there.. What can I say? I’m conceited.. (laughs)
Speaking of freestyles…what do you think about freestyling? Is it a good way to show your skillz by recording 5 mixtapes each month and make yourself well-known in the music industry or is it better to find/pay a producer and record a “normal” album?
Hmm.. freestyles are what they are. Some people think it’s great, others think, “do you really want to hear an album of freestyled rhymes?” People get discovered in many ways. What I’ve noticed that works is that people who make albums/mixtapes and go out there and show that they have the fan base and ability to sell products will make it big. Nobody gets deals out of nowhere. People that are successful have been doing music for many years and have underground albums and early tracks. I don’t know if there is a mainstream artist in Hip-Hop/Rap that can say their mainstream debut album is actually their very first recording. But whatever way a person wants to make music and sell it is their business. Whether it’s mixtape or real album doesn’t matter. If it sells then it sells. But if people just want their skills in music or lyrics to be heard, do something original. Pay only if you think it’s worth it. Don’t buy a garbage beat or pay for recording time with a person who hasn’t done anything for themselves.
On your album you mixed westcoast rap and gospel music. Tell us something about that.
Well.. the westcoast rap I couldn’t avoid. I’m from here.. I don’t speak the same slang as anywhere else and the lifestyle that I’m living in the west coast can’t be found anywhere else. The gospel music is a different story. I wouldn’t say I’m religious but I do have strong beliefs. And to me, I just incorporated references to the bible and my beliefs into my music to make a message. I didn’t use teachings from churches or other influences that put a spin on faith in my life, so I made songs against those entities in a creative way.
What other projects do you have besides that album?
Well, I just finished work on the Balled Out – Silver & Black Album (Compilation) with Lil Coner that will be released through Connected INC. We have a group album called “Lil Coner & Jason Haft – Telling Stories” that will come out in a couple months. And my official debut solo will be released late October – early November 2004.
Did you appear on some mixtapes, soundtracks, other albums?
I’ve appeared on Lil Coner – Mama Tried, Connected INC presents…. Balled Out, Connected INC presents…. Balled Out – The Silver & Black Album, & Higher Records presents “Our Side of the State” I’ve worked with many other artists for their projects but that material hasn’t been released so I can’t speak on it. Just do a google search on “Jason Haft” and hopefully you’ll see my name on more stuff. But I am working on a soundtrack for a movie but I can’t give any more info on it either.
Who had/has the biggest influence on you as a rapper?
Honestly, my lady Lindsay has influenced me the most. I guess trying to impress her was part of the reason I went from poetry to rhyming. & now she’s my biggest critic.
Who are the people in the business you respect the most?
Well.. I have respect for every artist just for doing it. But the most in this game? Well.. for me it would have to be Lil Coner. I was locked up with that guy and now I work with him. I pretty much know most of his life story so to see where he was at before & to see where he’s at now is a big inspirational story to not just me, but to anybody. I give credit to the guy for just being able to finance & put out three albums in nine months after doing eight years in jail.. & to give back to his community despite all the harrassment by law enforcement…. I gotta respect that.
When you’re writing lyrics, how you doin’ that? Do you just sit down and write lyrics or do you wait for some inspiration…?
Well I use to write without beats.. now that I’m quick at the whole song making process from scratch, I just make a beat, write the song and get done all in about four hours. My life inspires me and I never have writers block. Not all the songs I make are like.. the best song ever but it’s easy to me. I have over 200 recorded songs and about 1500 beats that’s never been written to.
You’re also makin’ beats. Tell us something about that.
Yeah.. I enjoy it. It’s just another form of expression.. Whether it’s a gloomy, dark, morbid, melody or a happy ass beat.. Whatever.. Beats & melodies usually inspire people to write & i enjoy seeing what other people do with the beats I create. I’m amazed sometimes after hearing the lyrics and style people use over a beat I made. Like if they sat there and wrote to the beat and that’s what they came up with.. It’s a very great feeling knowing I inspired someone’s creativity like that.
What equipment do you use? And what do you have to bring to the table if you want to become a producer? Is it enough to have a good PC and some equipment?
I use a computer, dr-770 beat machine, vestax professional turntable, vinyl records, mxl 990 condenser mic, blah blah blah blah.. look, i started with a computer, fruity loops, & a $30 karaoke mic and made great music. Forget all that other ish.. good music is good music. The only things a person needs to become a producer is a good sense of hearing & the ability to take criticism. I can make a beat on a kitchen table for all I care. If it sounds good.. that’s all that matters. But yeah, if a person wants to produce, & use professional equipment, learn how to use the equipment. Talk to other people who use the same equipment and learn off of them, the more knowledge the better…. A good pc for home recording ain’t enough.. a good soundcard and programs that function correctly are also needed. And have patience.. making music ain’t easy when you don’t know what you’re doing..
What are the rappers you produced for?
I’ve produced beats that have featured Lil Coner, Lindsay, Young Steve, Ill Fon$, C Note, Fredo Algebra (Tight Rope Walkers), Marcus D (Death Row), Mousie, Lil Brah (Get Low), Tone Capone (Starz the Limit), Filthy Fon$, Ace of Spits, Tito B, Al Beezy, & a lot of others that haven’t been released yet.
What are the producers you respect?
I respect JT the Bigga Figga & Young Cellski a lot. Growing up listening to their beats & songs made long drives in a car really fun cuz their stuff is great. Khayree is dope.. I remember reading credits and seeing he plays live instruments.. I was amazed after hearing Young Lay’s Black & Dangerous and Mac Mall’s Illegal business albums. But nowadays, I’m impressed by a lot of mainstream stuff. Timbaland seems to be the most creative out of the known producers right now. Try to get a hold of some instrumentals he produced and listen to it on some expensive headphones. You’ll hear some crazy ass sounds coming from all over the place blending perfectly. & I know it seems cliche’ but Dr. Dre is a dope producer. Listen to NWA’s Niggazforlife album. It’s amazing.
Tell us something about the label you represent (JDH Entertainment). Who’s all in there?
Well I made JDH Entertainment as a tax shelter. Making music ain’t cheap especially when you provide products that cost to create. So instead of just taking my 9-5 money and spending it, I made a business to deduct expenses. But I represent Connected INC. Lil Coner put me on as an artist & producer based on the work we did on his Mama Tried album.
What do you think, who’s gonna be the next big talent? Anybody you worked with?
Well.. I can’t tell. I’m just one fan among many. Out of the people I’ve worked with, I know Lil Coner is really making a name for himself and he’s got distribution deals and what not, so I expect him to get big among the underground scene. His first album is classic in my opinion. People tell me all the time that they can listen to his whole album without skipping a song. He’s also got the mind of a great entrepeneur and I can see him getting even more successful based on his understanding of the game. But there’s so much talent in the bay area right now that I’ve been around, I can’t just name one. It’s really more than talent that makes a person “shine.” You need to have a business mind, & the drive to hustle to put yourself at a certain level. I can tell you people I think deserve credit. For one, Mousie. He’s just a great all around entertainer. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever come across not just in making music, but in writing stories as well. I think people haven’t given him enough props so I hope people who read this look at his work and see the creative genius behind it. Another talented person I would like to see make it big is Mac Mall. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and I know he’s had hits on the radio and videos on t.v. but I think he just great at writing stories in rhyme form. I hope he’s the next person from the bay to make it big based on the fact that his albums are very all around in topics. I enjoy listening to his albums.
What are the rappers you would like to work with and why?
I’d like to work with anybody that’s dope. Why? because I don’t want to work with people who suck. I don’t want weak songs tied to my name. But I don’t have any particular rapper in mind to work with or get a feature from if that’s what you mean…. My solo album “Language Arts” has no features.
What can you say about the people that don’t like your music and did you have any beef with some rappers….?
Well if you don’t like my music then oh well. It’s your loss I guess. Nah but it’s all good. Everyone has their taste in music. I don’t like lots of stuff I heard lately. But I hope they continue to do what they like and put it out cuz that could be someone else cup of tea.. just not mine. And vice versa, some people have told me they love my album and others who know expected something else from me and weren’t feeling it. I don’t care. I’ll continue, hopefully getting better at it and still put it out. I’m not affected. & beef with rappers? wtf? I don’t got beef with anyone. I’ve dissed a couple people & they dissed me back out of the fun of competition and what not but I don’t take it serious. I don’t make songs about people I don’t care about and put it on anything I sell. If I really had a problem with somebody, it wouldn’t be in a song. I handle real issues in other ways.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Well.. “Language Arts” will be a very meaningful album to me. It’s different than a lot of what’s out there now in subject matter & I’ll release it in late October – early November 2004. The group album Lil Coner & Jason Haft – Telling Stories will be another “deep” album but it will have a less dark feel to it than “Language Arts” and you’ll see how great Lil Coner & I are at creating songs based on the imagery and entertainment value. I’m also featured on Connected INC presents…. The Silver & Black Album compilation which will be released this month (September ’04)…. Besides that, most of the material I will put out will be in production for numerous Connected INC projects that will be out in 2005.
What are you doing in your life besides music? You are a family man, right?
Besides music, I’m a self employed person. I own JDH Tax & Business Services which provides tax preparation, loan processing, immigration petition filing, etc.. I’m also in the real estate game, buying and selling homes & pocketing the equity/profit from the sale. Everything I do now is legitimate and is on paper so the Government can rest assured that I’m a positive role model in my community and I do pay taxes on my income. As for the family, I’m engaged to be married and I stay in contact with my Mother & Sister. No kids yet.
What you doing in your free time? Do you got any hobbies?
Well.. music is a hobby to me. In the off season from taxes & what not, I make music for 8 months out of the year.. My free time.. I collect dvds and great music on vinyl. I also study biblical history & spend time reading books on people’s point of views on the “truth.” I go to open mics and perform my spoken word poetry and I’m also in the process of creating the website for Connected INC.
What’s in your cd player these days? What kind of movies you like? Are you sports fan?
My cd player is currently knocking Balled Out – The Silver & Black album (i mixed it and got it mastered so I’m knockin it now while it’s getting pressed hahahhahah ), Mac Dre’s – Genie of the Lamp, Unearthing the Underground (Goth Music double disc compilation) A string quartet tribute to Metallica, & the Luniz – Operation Stackola.
Name your favorite rap albums…
in no particular order but classics to me..
Mac Mall – Illegal Business
Nas – Illmatic
Young Cellski aka 2 Took – Mr. Predicter
Casual – Fear Itself
GLP – Straight Out the Labb
Copywrite – The High Exhaulted
Mobb Deep – The Infamous
Souls of Mischief – 93 til Infinity
Those are albums I can listen to without skipping any songs..
What thing iritates you most in life?
People who act like they’re successful but only got there from the help of their mommy or daddy.. people like that piss me off.. I hate spoiled people that brag about stuff they didn’t earn.. much respect to their parents for providing it but now.. I guess I’m just jealous of the jerk who’s got the materialistic things, rolling up to parties in an SUV on 24’s when I don’t got it and I work hard everyday and I see them unemployed playing John Madden football all day while getting an allowance at the age of 21 & up.. that ruins my day for real..
What would you like to do in next 5-10 years? How would you like your future to be?
In 5 – 10 years I’d like to own an RV and take a road trip from here to alaska to mexico to whatever I can do on land. haha.. RV cost like $100,000.00 or more so that seems realistic in 5 – 10 years.. But I’d like to continue doing what I’m doing now and just be successful and have the funds to allow me to travel and see the world. I’ve achieved a lot in my short life so I’d just like to live a relaxed life in about 10 years without worrying about bills and what not..
What’s the place in the world you would like to visit, but you still didn’t?
Jerusalem.. I’d just like to see what the major three religions in the world are fighting over.. and maybe I’ll have a spiritual experience while I’m there and take over the world..
What’s the most important things in life? Love, money, family, happiness…. ?
The most importants things in life…. well, I’ll quote a counselor from jail who told me this: I want to look good, be right, & be comfortable. but to quote Ecclesiastes: I just want knowledge, wisdom & understanding.. with that, I’ll have everything I want.
What are the three things in your your life that you couldn’t live without?
My wife to be, my beliefs, my confidence.
Do you got any message to the people who gonna read this interview?
Just keep searching the net for my name Jason Haft hit up the site: www.connectedinc.net anybody.. hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org.