Interview: Jok Trill
Jok Trill ist zurück auf der Straße. Vollzugslockerung, nach Jahren hinter Gittern. Mit “Meth Chronicles Vol. 1″ gibt es seit letztem November auch ein neues Album. Und darauf wird genauso weitergemacht wie vor über 20 Jahren in Louisiana alles angefangen hat – mit dreckigen Wahrheiten aus dem Drogengeschäft, serviert auf Hardcore Gangster Beats.
Jok Trill, great to talk to you. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
First of all, I really do appreciate the interest that you and your german audience have shown for me. I’ve been around for a while with some great highs and some hard lows, but it makes me feel very good when I am acknowledged for my craft. I love rap music. I am rap music. I love telling the truth over hardcore gangster beats. That’s what Jok Trill is famous for. And that’s what I plan to do in this interview. Tell you the truth about the past, the music and the future of Jok Trill and Underworld Records Entertainment.
You started out as a member of Louisiana-based group Militia. How did that come about?
Of course I have to mention Kreep Dog. As a matter of fact, it was actually Kreep Dog’s idea that we put out our own music and start our own label which at that time was called No Cut Records back in 1992. He was incredible and making dirty south gangsta beats. So my start was definitely with him. Then around that same time I hooked up with another rapper by the name of Ian Efx. And this guy was actually the best street underground gangsta rapper that I’ve ever heard. And it was just common sense that we form a group together because he knew of my history and I knew his and at that time it was very important to have street credibility. But we made a lot of noise in the communities that we were from. But you have to remember we were real street guys. We got 99% of our money illegally at that time. So when it seemed as if the rap money would come slow we had no problem getting the sack or picking up a strap and go get it out the street. We were young wild kids who did not like being told no.
You really got around back in the days. Which town did you represent when you put out your album “Dirty Work”?
Yes, I did get around back in the days. From Louisiana to Texas and Chicago/Illinois to Gary/Indiana just to name a few. But at that time I was definitely representing New Roads, Louisiana AND Gary, Indiana in my music. They both were my home so I drew from each of them when I expressed myself musically. I also think that’s what gave me such a different sound in those days. I think that fusion of South and Midwest from the truest street perspective is what made me stand out and gave me an edge above all the rest. But “Dirty Work” is definitely a classic album. People still to this day bang it, listen to it and tell me constantly how that song defined that period in their lives.
Tell me about the production process of the “Dirty Work” album.
The “Dirty work” album was mostly produced by three people: Jaylow The Ghetto Grinda, Tyskee Lovah and 3V. Jaylow was the main producer of “Dirty Work”. He also was more like the motivating force behind the music that all of us were doing at that time. As a matter of fact, he still is rapping as well and you can find him on YouTube at battles where he competes under the name The Grinda. He’s had a lot of success in the rap battles and he’s even made thousands of dollars through those competitions. I had no idea that the music I was creating would have such a powerful effect on the regions around me. But from then up to now, I see how many people and lives I have affected from the songs I’ve created so many years ago.
So, which song means the most to you from today’s perspective?
The song that means the most to me is “Dirty Work” because that was the first song that made all listeners take me seriously as a rap artist and because the content of that song is still very relevant to this day. As the chorus goes, as a hustler you ask yourself the simple questions: “What do I gain from it? Think about the money you’ll make / What about the pain from it? It’s just a chance you take”. I think that is a question that every hustler has to ask himself, before he engages in any type of illegal activity. Is the risk I’m about to take worth the benefits that I may or may not receive. And once you ask yourself that question, after that you know if you are willing to deal with the consequences of your action.
Who are the guys next to you in the restaurant picture inside of the album?
The guys in the picture with me were Tyskee Lovah and my homeboy named Axe. Axe is dead now and Tyskee Lovah is in Indianapolis, raising his family. Those guys were like brothers to me. It hurts that when Axe died I was in the penitentiary and couldn’t be there to support his family. Over the years you lose touch with a lot of people who matter to you most.
There was also this posse cut “The House The Gangsters Built” which I like alot. Where are the featured rappers at today?
I’ve already told you about The Grinda and Tyskee Lovah, but Sigger has his own production company in Tallahassee, Florida called Diamond Dealers Studio Productions. They sell songs to the industry and allow other rappers to present them. They are very active in publishing and producing music. I am very proud of my connections with them. H&R Bloc received 17 years from the federal government of the United States of America for drug trafficking in cocaine in high volumes. T-Wes owns a barber shop in Gary, Indiana and I believe that is the full extent of the participants in that song.
Tell me more about your overall situation back in 1997. How do you remember this time?
1997 was one hell of a year. I was at the height of my drug dealing success. You see, my album “Dirty Work” was never about me selling 1 million copies. It was simply a celebration and a personal testament of my success in the drug game. I wasn’t worried about making money in the rap industry because I had already made so much money in the drug industry. That’s also why I am a legend in the communities where I am from today. Everyone who heard me then knew that the things I was saying in my music was the absolute truth in my life. They saw the cars, they saw the women, they saw the lifestyle. But 1997 lead right into 1998 which was the turning point in my life completely.
The drug task force ran into my home and my business at the same time, confiscating all my drugs, my property and my cash which at that time was in the excess of 100.000 american dollars. They charged me with the possession of cocaine, several counts of dealing cocaine, counts of the possession of marijuana – just a lot of stuff that makes your head hurt. So I went to jail and shortly after I bonded out with the last money I had. I had to make some hard decisions at that time. I had to ask myself did I really want to continue down this path to risk my entire future or did I want to try to seriously look at the music industry as an alternative to the life I was living. Well, the answer I came up with was both actually. I wanted to do both. And from there was the birth of “Married To The Game”, my most popular song to date. What that song meant was I would never ever stop being a gangster in the streets and a drug dealer who made his profits from the underworld. And that was also the birth of the title “No More Games” for the album that I was working on at that time. That title meant that I was finally going to take the rap industry seriously. But I forgot the truth in that old saying, that one slave cannot serve two masters. I tried to straddle the fence and be a rapper as well as a drug dealer at the same time. But I soon found out that I cannot gain success with that type of double minded strategy.
Was the “No More Games” album ever released?
As I said, “Married To The Game” was my biggest song to date. It garnered me a lot of attention from large radio stations and some of the most powerful rap labels in the country from No Limit Records to C-Loc Records. C-Loc is the man who discovered Little Boosie, the rap sensation of this day. I was being contacted by several record labels after the release of “Married To The Game”. But my problem was that at that time the state of Indiana had outstanding warrants for my arrest for my previous drug activity. Once it became apparent that I was wanted to serve time in prison then all my deals were off the table. I lost everything and I had no place to go but down.
So is it true that you were incarcerated throughout the 2000s?
Just as you say, in the 2000s I went to the penitentiary for 12 years for distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine and armed robbery. I was Indiana’s most wanted for several years. They still have my face on their internet services. So I signed a plea agreement with them after my arrest in 2010 to serve six and a half additional years for these alleged crimes. I went to prison again and I have steadily been working my way out. I am currently on work release as we speak. I have one more year until I am completely free. But still in that time I have recorded another album, “The Meth Chronicles Volume 1″.
This album is about the Meth epidemic in Terre Haute. How did you come up with this idea?
I came up with that idea because during my time on the streets selling drugs in the 90s it was all about rock cocaine. But now the new epidemic is meth and it is a far greater scourge then this region has ever seen. I was amazed at seeing the amount of drugs that was being moved and the effect that it has taken upon so many lives in Terre Haute. It caused me to pick up my pen and write. Listeners from Europe can find my music on iTunes.
Through all the ups and downs you kept your promise from the “Dirty Work” album – Underworld Records is still around in 2015…
I came out of prison with a vengeance to express myself. To let my voice be heard. And I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people on the internet looking for Jok Trill. All of that promotion by my fans validated everything that I felt. And I did not want to let them down so I brought Underworld back on the map. And I told the story yet again of so many who have felt themselves to be voiceless. The truth is it does not matter who you are or where you’re from if you are from Gary, Indiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, California, Germany, France, Italy, Europe, Africa, Mars or another universe. If you feel that the odds are stacked against you and there is no one who will except you that is a lie. You are welcomed in the underworld. You will be received, your voice will be heard, you are my family and I will have your back until the end of time. There is something going on here that is more than money, more than nationality. We are universal brothers and we struggle together. If you feel you are at the bottom and are determined to struggle until you make it to the top then you are my brother. We will make it together until each and everyone of us cross the finish line into the glory. So many don’t understand us, but at the end of the day we are all we have to support each other and to build one another up until we make it to the promised land of achieving our goals together. If you are determined in achieving your goals no matter what your background is then you are my Underworld brother and we will make it together and that is a promise upon my life.
What can we expect next from Underworld Records?
Over the years I realized that anything that comes fast will leave you even faster. And that is the past of Underworld but there is a beautiful future ahead for Underworld Records Entertainment. As I’ve mentioned we are becoming a film company as well with Underworlds Film Entertainment. Big Silk is my cousin and was guiding Underworld Records Entertainment during my incarceration. For now he himself happens to be locked up so I am taking over the head position of this company and directing it into the future. You will have new music from Underworld this summer that will shock the world. Not only from Jok Trill but from Lil Beans Corleone, Chris Chronkite, Pelli G and other Underworld artists. So what I am suggesting is that anyone who reads this whether in Germany or the United States subscribe to my YouTube channel and be ready to see history in the making. Between our films and the new music that is already being put together this will prove to be a year that you will not soon forget. The best is yet to come.
Find Jok Trill online