GW: Where are you from and when did you get an interest in music?
Jae Wrek: Born in Manhattan I was raised in The Boggie Down Bronx Zoo , Pelham Parkway to be exact. Growing up my mom was real big on music, there for I was hip to all of the classics, old school hip-hop, R&B , Jazz & Soul, so music was one the first things I ever knew & loved. My path to becoming an Emcee didn’t really start with lyricism, but more so with poetry. I wrote my first poem around the age of eleven and it wasn’t until the age of fourteen that the thought of writing music was planted in my mind. A friend of mine named Fate said “Hey have you ever thought about turning your poetry into music?”. A year past, and at 15 I recycled a poem to create my first verse ever. I will never forget Fate telling me “Why don’t you speed these parts up & find a better word for this” showing me the ins and outs; flow , syllables , pronunciation & all. I was instantly captivated & from that point on I was no longer a poet, but a LYRICIST. It was then that I recorded my very first track & have been a proud creator of music ever since.
GW: How old are you now?
Jae Wrek: I’m 22, about to be 23 this October.
GW: Did you fall in love with recording music after you laid down your first verse?
Jae Wrek: Yes I Did. Because it was my first point of expression & I did it for so long Poetry was a hard thing to venture from, but I did. After creating and recording my first verse I wasn’t the same artist in a sense of expression. My vision, my thoughts, my words, my creations all screamed LYRICIST. I’ll always remember the day I first recorded, because it’s the reason I am having this interview with you right now. When that mic went off I knew in that very moment that music was my passion & is something I would do until my heart no longer beat in my chest.
GW: Why did you start writing poetry so much?
Jae Wrek: It was really the only kind of expression I had next to drawing. Which is another big thing for me; I’m an artist all around. It started with me just writing my thoughts on paper and then a teacher of mine helped me understand that there was an art to it & how i could make it into something that captivated minds and sparked inspiration. It was very interesting and I knew i would love doing it. After a lot of practice I won my first poetry & ran with it.
GW: Are you still writing poetry?
Jae Wrek: I haven’t written a poem in about a month, although I try to exercise that ever so often. It’s my way of paying homage to the gateway of my life as an Emcee.
GW: I take it that you do all of your own lyrics, since you’re a writer?
Jae Wrek: Absolutely, nobody has written a thing for me in my life. Constructive criticism is the closest thing to help that I’ve ever received in regard to my material.
GW: What’s your writing process?
Jae Wrek: If there is anything i could say is the foundation of a good writer it would be PERFECTION & MEMORIZING. My writing process is such that I am creating, perfecting & memorizing at the same time. For example; I’ll write eight bars and then start from top to bottom, reciting my lyrics over and over until i get my next set of 8 bars. I will continue this process until the verse is done. There are also times that I will be majorly inspired & write an entire verse all the way through, but will still repeat my first process. Being versatile I have practiced many different processes but narrowed it down to two.
GW: Is music your main focus right now?
Jae Wrek: Music is definitely a major focus but I can honestly say that being a realist & still on a come up, it isn’t my main focus. Financial Stability & Education are My Main Focus and unfortunately my music doesn’t pay the bills, in fact it creates more. I plan on returning to college in pursuit of a major in Psychology & bachelors in Art therapy. Would I ever do music as a career? I never truly considered it until recently when I appeared on 106 & Park’s Freestyle Friday. Many doors opened for me. Everything I do, I don’t do to get rich off of. Many of these things are purely because I love doing them. I like to provide a message and I like to provide music that people can relate to. I know how helpful certain kinds of music and artists were for me growing up; some people find this strange, but it got me through a lot. I just want to provide the same thing and that’s where I get my fulfillment, so I never really looked at it like a career type of thing. I mean there’s no doubt that if someone came at me with a nice contract and it was civil then I would take it, because who wouldn’t like to get paid for something that they LOVE to do? My music is very much an important focus and will always be , but right now I’m just trying to survive.
GW: How did the door open for you to be featured on 106 & Park?
Jae Wrek: My brother/manager K.Jax convinced me to appear in the audience for promotional purposes… long story short, by the grace of god I landed an audition on the spot and killed it. It was then that i was placed in the lineup to appear on the show.
GW: What’s changed since you’ve been on the show?
Jae Wrek: I’m way more humble & focused to begin with. Don’t get me wrong I’m a very humble person, but that wasn’t what I showed when I appeared on the show. thee experience didn’t go the way I wanted it to or necessarily needed it to because I wasn’t humble about it. It wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just that when I got on stage I got into battle mode and lost all sight of being humble about the situation, not being cool and calm about it what so ever. I was very aggressive and I fumbled in the last seconds of the first round. It was a draw and in draws they give it to the champion, so that’s how that went down. Since then I’ve been extra humble and more driven, way way way more driven. I realized a lot of things as far as my presentation as an artist, my image, how you need to be professional at all times, even in a battle you need to be professional because you never know whose looking. My loss was a very teachable moment, as unfortunate as it was; I took a lot from it. There are artists that may spend half their underground career working to land the spot that I got on 106&Park and for that I’m so thankful and have made it my business to NEVER take opportunity for granted.
GW: Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
Jae Wrek: Being a successful person, captivating souls, touching hearts & freeing minds. I say it to people all the time, whether I end up famous or if it’s just me going out and doing voluntary shows, fund raisers, community outreach or whatever the case may be, I will be heard. Recently I have been doing a lot of commercial music, but am a TRUE lyricist and prefer to write conscious rap and when people hear that side of me that’s really what hooks them. There’s nothing in my mind that doubts in two years I’ll be somewhere gracing a stage, or bumpin through your speakers. It all starts with the drive to do these things, which I have plenty of.
GW: How would you explain your style? Who’s been your influence?
Jae Wrek: I’ll quote a few bars from one of my tracks. “Take KISS and ADD a lil STYLES P, SLICK RICK & the mind of A PIT WIT RABBIES, A HINT of RAKIM & A DASH of JAY-Z , Sprinkel on A BIT of PAC and MUAHH uve made ME ” – JaeWrek The base of my flow is inspired by the entire Old School Hip-Hop and Rap Era (The Golden Era), to sum it up with names such as Slick Rick, Rakim, Wu-Tang and the list goes on. Also blended with the new because I’m a young cat , my flow is very fresh , up to date and relevant to my generation Majorly my New School influences are Jay-Z, Em, Nas , The Lox , Immortal technique & Kendrick Lamar plus a few more. Pac & B.I.G are a definite but I don’t really like to say them because it’s usually an automatic answer for the majority. Over all, best rapper alive or not Jay-Z is my favorite Emcee, point blank period.
GW: For someone that hasn’t heard your music, what do you want them to experience from listening to your music?
Jae Wrek: As far as my commercial material. I wanna break necks due to excessive head bobbing, havin people jumpin in their seats till they have no choice but to get up and move their feet. And I want the same with my conscious material, but majorly just want them to walk away with a smile on their face, with their minds free and hearts a little bit bigger. I want to make impact, when someone listens to my music, I want them to be like” that happened to me, hey I’m going through that same thing , wow I’m not the only person in the world “. More than anything I want there to be RELATION. If you can relate to it, I’ve done my job.
GW: It sounds like you have a lot of emotion and it actually seems like music is an emotion for you.
Jae Wrek: Yes, yes, it absolutely is. It was and still is one of the first and only points of expression for me. Whatever I go through; Bad day, Good day, I come home, zone out and it transfers onto the paper whether I want it to or not it just flows.
GW: I know you draw and you write, is there anything else that you do that makes you who you are?
Jae Wrek: I call myself Hip-Hop, simply because I truly do possess all the elements that when combined make Hip-Hop. Being able to produce music & work turn tables is the DJ element , I do choreography & breakdance which is another element , I draw generally but am also a graffiti artist which makes the third element & last but far from least I Rap. Got your four elements right there.