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Don Dubb

All right so Justified. Man it’s an honor to talk to you bro, I appreciate you giving me the time. I’ve been trying to catch up with you, you’re a busy man. First of all I start off with your name. Where you at. Where are you from. How can people find you?

Justified

Fasho, I’m Justified Smith. Located in the high desert, straight out of Compton you know. Representing Fathers in Hip Hop.

Don Dubb

Man I see there’s so may Fathers in Hip Hop. Tell me about it man this is interesting, it’s different. What I see is it’s community based. I see it, as unifying a lot of different people, from different walks of life and different sections and whatnot. Talk to me about the mission and the goal and the vision behind this movement.

Justified

The main objective of the fathers in hip hop is to encourage and increase fatherhood engagement. You know, fathers understand the importance of being active in their children’s lives. And also we like to create opportunities for them to do that with a series of events that we do such as Daddy’s on wheels. We’ve done that four years consecutively this year got affected by the COVID. We didn’t get to do it. We also have a situation that we do called dinner with Dad which brings the fathers to the dinner table at a selected restaurant and they’ll receive a discount for coming out and eating with their children. But the premises behind that is to create dialogue and just that family table that you got in the old days. But it seems you know, in this current time that dinner at the table you know is not as important as it once was. So we want to create those opportunities for the fathers to sit down to dinner with their kids and enjoy their conversation.

Don Dubb

That’s what’s up. Hey man. I was doing a little research on you bro. Is it true you got 20, 25 albums in your catalog ?  You got a nice catalog. Am I wrong in that count ?

Justified

Last time, I really did a count. I would say, I’m at about 17 …yeah 17.  20 isn’t to far fetched  17 to 20.

Don Dubb

That’s still a healthy catalog man…… Tell me about your musical journey how did you start.?  A  lot of people don’t make it to stick around for that long. That’s huge for you to be independent and have a catalog that I think is really impressive.

Justified

You know, I started off with the neighborhood guys. We had a group called The Leaders of tomorrow and that’s where, I first you know, really fell in love with rapping as, you know being accepted in a circle. I mean, being a part of what was going on because you know the neighborhood can influence you in a lot of different ways. So you know rap was where, I kind of fit in and kind of fell in love with it. And from that point, I took it serious. I really didn’t have a plan B outside of you know just knowing that music was gonna be my route. So I’m fine with you know a lot of grinding before actually dealing with a situation but Late in 99′, early 2000 I signed with Deep in the Game Records, an independent label and they really put a big budget behind me. I had E-40 on my album, Bad Azz. I got to say rest in peace to Bad Azz as well now. They put a lot of money into my project. As far as features and production and then you know actually print it up and we had distribution throughout the Southwest which got us placements inside of a lot of record stores, Like Sam Goody, Tower Records, The Warehouse, They don’t even know these names….lol. So you know we were in the major retail stores for music, and shout out to Violet Brown for that. She made sure our projects made it into those shelves. And you know, after seeing how little control I had, and how my hands were involved from the CEOs hands on down. You know they could freeze my career or move it forward or find another artist that they believed in more, and once I got weary of the politics it was like, Let me do my own shit.

So after that, I had to stay connected with the production team. They told me, whether I was with deep in the game or not, they still enjoyed working with me, and I didn’t have to go through the label, to deal with them. They produced another record for me. I paid for it, but they gave me a way better deal than they hit the original CEO because it was more of a collaborative project. Like a producer and a dope artist. You know we got really hands on together with it. So I printed up my first hundred copies and sold them from the trunk. I took the money from one hundred copies that I made and went and flipped a thousand CD’s and you know I stayed out the trunk consistently with a new record. Damn near every year and just pushing from the trunk, ten dollars and adding albums to the catalog. You know growing our print up, you know at least four to five different projects at the same time. Once I had that many in the catalog it just helped me you know. You find somebody who’s digging you they’ll by five albums you know. So I stayed out the trunk, for a long time and really wasn’t trippin’. I’ve never looked for a deal. I’ve never you know, sent out packages to majors. I just always had independent dreams that I could you know, distribute my music on my own. It really wasn’t about being famous, it was about getting access.

Don Dubb

I like that, I’ve listened  to some of your older records. Man it kind of seems like you have had an evolution to some of your content. I mean it’s always been positive. I see more of a change here with later projects, they’re more centered around being a father being a businessman, an entrepreneur you know impacting Hip Hop in a different way. Is that your goal, is that your mission? Do you see yourself as a community leader ?

Justified

To answer like the first part of it, you know with the music evolution, it’s because we evolve as people. And when you’re an artist that’s really making music that reflects the real life you live, I mean, and smoke and mirrors your music is going to grow with you. So 19 year old Justified. That deep in the game, it was a totally different person from Justified today. So each record, go from album 1 to the albums now, every record just reflects where I was on my walk at that time in life. So yeah, I mean when I was a single and negative, I had music out that reflected that lifestyle, right. And at other times of my career, I was married, my music reflected more of a married man’s perspective than in my past. My music reflected that. Several fathers trying to find their way through music, and then with this new album that we’re about to drop and where the music is going now is more of the testimony to all that. And then the growth of where that is brought me as a man and as a father. So now fatherhood as relevant dialogue and topics is what I’m on because that’s really the world I live in. I can’t be this father at home and then there’s girls and gangsta on my records. My music reflects how I really live, so my music has to reflect where I’m at now. You say evolution that’s just because I’ve evolved as a man, my music had to grow with it.

Don Dubb

I mean that’s a piece of authenticity that I believe is missing in the game currently, it is highly respected and valued. So keep that up bro. So moving on to what you got going on right now, new records new plans new videos let me know what’s going on ?

Justified

You know just the last couple years, I say maybe three years I’ve really focused on singles. So you know the singles that I’ve released over the last three years while they’re three years old to me they’re brand new to new listeners. I’ve pushed those, just printing up on the streets. I haven’t dropped a album in some years now, it’s just been singles but I’m taking those best singles and adding the best music that I just been making over these past four years, to come up with really is, what I feel is my best work. Because I feel like I’m at my best place in life ,so my music has to reflect my best because I’m at my best. You know we just about to drop Wait For It featuring Don Dubb and  Big2DaBoy I’m really excited about that record because it’s for the Kingdom. It’s a testimony in a way that some might not be used to hearing, because it’s really raw and it has that that street gangsta feel to it. But the lyrics and the content is glorifying God. So I feel real good about this record and I see it being a catalyst to my next solo record as well as the partners that I’m dealing with on it. I think it’s gonna be a great song, and I pray it opens doors to other projects coming after it.

Don Dubb

Nice nice. I know that you dropped another record, centered around what was happening in society with the police brutality and the police shootings and some of the protests and in riots ?

Justified

Right, Times Like These featuring my boy Costie Payne. That record is just in time. You know it’s what’s going on right now. My views on it maybe some of my views are not as popular as others, but I think I hit some viewpoints that can be felt around the table. If you don’t agree with it, you’ll definitely respect the way that is presented. I think it’s very important for art especially hip hop artists to keep keep the music including current events and the things that are actually happening, you know in our society need to be brought to attention and in know a creative artful way that’s nice.

Don Dubb

Hey Justified,  I appreciate you taking time with me, to discuss this and I appreciate you opening up a little bit and give us some history and some game. We look forward to future, much respect and Blessing to you and your movement.

Justified

Appreciate it. Mos Def….

Justified
Compton’s Justified wants fathers to represent the only hood that really matters, Fatherhood.

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