Yesterday, DJ Jay-P dropped his new mix called JustRight and made it available to the world. Jay-P is one of Southern California's most active DJs with a schedule that takes him all over Los Angeles and Orange County on a weekly basis. He's also a MySpace DJ, and can boast sharing the stage with names like Kanye West, Nas, Bilal, and many others. So you know he's good. But this isn't really about him. It's about the mix I opened up this feature with.
JustRight isn't a simple upload-the-mp3-to-mediafire-and-share-it kind of mix. It's part of a larger project under the Third Floor Network (a network of independent musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs) that combines philanthropy with music. By downloading the mix on the JustRight site, or by picking up a physical copy, you instantly become informed of how you can help the socioeconomic condition of the Aytona Village in the Philippines. I'll let Jay-P explain it...
How did a mixtape turn into a charity project?
Every time I visit the Philippines I am touched by the hardship, poverty, and living conditions of so many Filipinos. It hits home because the Philippines is my home and Filipinos are my people. I've always wanted to do something to help out even if it was something small. When I started working on this CD, my initial goal was to simply take donations through Paypal and buy school supplies for children in pre-school. After sharing my plans with my Dad and my partners Roslynn Cobarrubias, Chrystal Cruz, and Joel Ricafort, a simple idea evolved to a large project to help build homes for the less fortunate. That was when the JustRight Project was born.
That was simple, yet the importance is so significant. Why the title "JustRight"?
Being a fan of different types of music, I go through phases where I listen to certain genres and certain artists for months at a time. During the inception of the the JustRight CD, I was listening to Robin Thicke's song entitled "Jus Right" from the Sex Therapy album. That song title stuck with me and I felt that it gave a mature feeling of love. I felt that it was perfect to call the new CD JustRight because it's the sequel to Make Her Feel Good mix which had a puppy-love vibe and Love.Sick which was a break-up Mix. The title JustRight represents maturity, love, hope, and the idea that love happens for the right reasons at the right times.
What is the financial goal of JustRight, and what does that money translate to?
Third Floor Network and myself did not pledge or set a financial goal amount to raise for the project mainly because we didn't know what to expect. I think I can speak the same for my partners that instead of pledging a set amount, we personally pledged to give 100% of my free time and effort until the end of March 2011 to the project and do our personal best to raise awareness and give others a platform and opportunity to help out. Thanks to our friends and family, we have already raised enough money to build the first home even before the CD drops or any of our events.
It only takes $2,300 to build a home that will benefit a family of 5 or more people. The beneficiaries are considered to be the poorest of the poor. For most of them, a home will be the only thing they will own aside from the clothes on their back and some personal belongings. In our eyes, $2,300 builds a small home with only necessities, but for the beneficiaries, having a home with running water, a solid roof, and a kitchen builds a second chance in life and a brighter future for their children. $2,300 changes lives and brings dignity and hope to those less fortunate.
You've teamed up with the ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Foundation to make this happen. Why did you choose that particular foundation?
It was actually a coincidence that my Aunt Rose, a close family friend, has been working on building the Aytona Village for over 2 years now. When I found out that her family donated the land, I was sure that I wanted to be a part of their project. ANCOP is the foundation that she chose to build the village with mainly because they promote Christian-Catholic beliefs and she believed in the structure, resources, and reputation of the foundation.
How far do you want to take JustRight?
I feel that Third Floor Network and myself have already accomplished our initial goals of raising awareness on the poverty in the Philippines to our peers. The beauty of our marketing strategy is that it encourages others to take initiative and contribute to the project. With that said, we are in the process of planning events with individuals in Manila, Toronto, and New York with many doors still opening for us daily. I would like to take the JustRight Project as far as we can without having any expectations. It has to be fun, entertaining, and JustRight!
From your first hand experiences in the Philippines, tell me why it's important to help the people there.
As human beings, it's JustRight to help the less fortunate when we are capable. Even the slightest effort can make the biggest difference. As a Filipino-American I have been blessed with opportunities here in the states that my parents worked hard to get. I'm just giving back and sharing some of my blessings with those less fortunate. Respect the past and invest in the future.
Now to the musical element. Explain the JustRight mix, compare it with your other releases, and explain how you made this CD for your listeners.
My previous mixes were about myself because they reflected what I was going through in my life during that time. JustRight is in a way similar but I made it more for the listener. I treated this mix as if I was a composer working on a composition with a simple goal of making a classic. I wanted to compose a mix that people can listen to from beginning to end without skipping tracks and at the same time shine light onto artists and songs that don't normally get exposure in the mainstream market. I wouldn't label the JustRight CD underground or commercial as I strive so hard to find a balance between the two to capture the interest of advanced listeners who can appreciate all types of music.
Justright brings a different first impression to its listeners compared to other mixes. Instead of having a fancy intro with DJ scratches and name drops I decided to keep it simple with a direct verbal message of what to expect for the next 80 minutes. Like a thesis to an essay, the first three songs were blended plain and simple to represent the 3 genres you can expect to hear on the entire mix (Soul, R&B, Hip Hop). Immediately after that you are re-introduced to the DJ Jay-P sound with songs by Common, Groove Theory, and Musiq Soulchild who were artists also featured in the beginning of the Make Her Feel Good mix. Throughout the mix, you will find a handful of remixes and exclusive tracks only available in the JustRight CD. With over 100 songs used to create this 77-track mix, I'm hoping that my listeners will keep JustRight on rotation for years to come.
How long did the mixtape take you to complete?
The CD took me 10 months to finish from inception to duplication with a lot of long nights in my home studio. The longest part was gathering songs that fit the music format I had in mind. It took me over 6 months to gather over 200 songs before I started recording the mix. I also started over 8 times until I felt it flowed well from beginning to end.
Your work ethic is just as crazy as mine. So from one hustler to another, when do you have time to sleep?
I sleep when I can. I have such a busy lifestyle with multiple jobs and projects on my plate at all times but I try to prioritize getting rest and my health. My motto is "Help yourself to help others. You can do more when you're capable." That includes sleeping and maintaining good health!
I normally do a "Top 5" thing when I interview folks here. So since you're a DJ, yours would have to do with music. What are your top 5 albums of all time? GO!
This is a tough question and it would probably take me hours to give you an answer so I'll just state my top 5 hip hop albums in no particular order.
1. A Tribe Called Quest - Low End theory
2. Jay-Z - The Black Album
3. Wu-Tang - 36 Chambers
4. Emanon (Aloe blacc and Exile) - Imaginary Friends
5. Nas - Illmatic
So after 10 months in the studio, JustRight is now available HERE. A perfect follow up to his previous mixtape, “Make Her Feel Good”, JustRight boasts over 100 tracks, ranging from Freeway to Rahsaan Patterson (major brownie points for using these two), from Trek Life to Christine Alane. Jay-P’s ear has undoubtedly evolved, as he features his own remixes (my favorite is his Drake “Best I Ever Had”) and also some mashups that had me saying “No, he didn’t just do that!” (like Groove Theory’s “Tell Me” over Musiq Soulchild’s “B.U.D.D.Y.”). There is something to be said about his song selection. It’s mature and almost unconventional – testament to said evolution. When you visit the site for your free copy, please take the time to learn more about the charitable element, and consider making a donation. On Friday, February 11, Jay-P and the rest of the JustRight team will host a release party at East 3rd in Downtown Los Angeles. Everyone is invited to celebrate this unique project.
For more info, please visit http://itsjustright.org and http://iamjayp.com.