Artists who move past punch lines to convey an actual message exceed what the masses expect from a lot of artists. Some popular successful artists however, aren’t their own boss. As a result of mimicry, these artists’ storytelling has stagnated.
Fortunately for lovers of music, we have access to artists like JusB. JusB is his own boss. Artists who are their own boss play a pivotal role in the shaping of sonic landscapes because they don’t have to adhere to a predetermined pallet to from which to paint. JusB is creating his own colors.
With his new track ‘2CanB1’ produced by Asen James featuring HAZali, JusB takes a summer anthem approach to a create an ‘autumn anthem’ of song with substance and depth. It’s not pointlessly deep for the sake of ‘being deep’. 2CanB1 is enough to swim in without feeling like you need to come up for air.
Musically, this song has the dance-close-with-your-boo type of driving bass line, but lyrically, however, JusB laces the track to make you want to do more than dance. JusB makes you think.
JusB peppers the track with moments of reverence and communal solidarity by repeating #BlackLivesMatter; intertwined with the actual reasons we matter. Along with his own personal tales of overcoming obstacles, what’s even more striking is the fact that his words do a sort of psychological service to assuage the seemingly insurmountable problems in our community.
‘2CanB1’ is a high-quality track that evokes the emotions of hope, testaments of faith, loyalty and the wisdom to pass on perseverance to those willing to receive his message.
Brandyn ‘JusB’ Thomas isn’t just some rapper. His calm demeanor protects a tabernacle of experiences that he’s endured.
As one of the forces that helps spearhead the Boombada Room (a visual production company) and Alive Underground( a performance platform for the independent artist), JusB helps to pave the way for other artists to come forth and share their talents. He is the son of Darryl Thomas, a prominent jazz guitarist who has worked with previous generation greats such as Anita Baker and Frankie Gaye.
JusB’s stature in the Bed Stuy community is that of a humble yet ferociously talented friend who can reshape the energy of space with his music and perspective. His quiet confidence doesn’t speak frivolously to fill up a sometimes necessary void of silence. Most folks from “The D” have the unique talent of cutting through the surface and getting to the heart rather quickly. This is exactly what Jus does with his music.
After being curious to hear more about his perspective, I was lucky enough to sit down with JusB at Outpost and have a really enlightening conversation. Over the past year he’s moved around a lot, had an apartment burn down, and let another apartment willingly go so he could sponsor artists like Meridian Lights to perform, closing out the 2015 summer season for Alive Underground at Therapy Wine Bar. That is an impressive dedication to art and music.
Brandyn has learned a lot about letting go and how to heal from what can be perceived as losses. Therefore, home is a mental space of peace, purpose and freedom. Home is comfort. It’s more than a location, but really for Jus B, home is Detroit –where his childhood exposed him to a lot of talented musicians.
MN: What were some of your favorite records as a kid?
JusB: Anita baker, any Anita Baker record. The Musiq Soulchild record Aijuswannasing record…I really feel is a standpoint for soul music. The way he entered the game was so smooth with that. This could sound crazy but the Timbaland and Magoo record..
MN: yo..that doesn’t sound crazy at all.
JusB: yea..the one with Up Jumps the Boogie on it…that was pretty innovative. The Missy Elliott Supa Dupa Fly record. Those brought a lot of personality out for me when I was about… I think I was 11 but I remember I had the tapes of those joints.
I would just listen to it on a tape player and beat with pens on a can and try to imitate the measure that Timbaland was doing as far as the production. Then the Dilla Donuts album as I became more of an adult. But is was Musiq Soulchild that lead me into the whole soul genre.
MN: When did you first start making music?
JusB: I started making music when I was about 10 years old. My father is a musician. He’s an artist. A Jazz Guitarist. He’s played for Anita Baker, Earth/ Wind, Gap Band, and I grew up as a Theatre kid. My mother put me in everything. I’ve been tap dancing since I was 4 years old. I started acting when I was 7. I went to a performing arts high-school. I did HIp Hop. I’ve done everything in the arts. Any time I was around my father, I was in the studio with him and his Jazz band. I remember one day he left to go to work and I went in the studio and I recorded – I don’t know why..but I started crooning. So I pressed record and I did this song when I was like 11.
The lyrics were like “The smell of your perfume, really fills the room ‘cause i’m falling in love with you’ – and it was so corny but……
Then I was on my father’s 3rd album on song called ‘Confused’. I was singing on that joint.
I started recording really recording very young. Outside of being an actor, I would leave school and then go to the studio. So i would have a 9 period highschool day, then I would go to the studio and sing. I thought I wanted to be a singer, but really I wanted to be a writer and I didn’t have anybody else to sing my songs. So I sang my own songs.
Then I had the opportunity for a small writing deal with Universal when I was really young, about 16. I pulled out of it because I didn’t really feel like I wanted to record, I just was obsessed with the idea of writing and hearing my thoughts audio-wise..and not from me. so I took a break for a while. at the time I was an extremely active dancer and just auditioning alot. booking shows, doing plays. all that kind of stuff in college. I was an English / Theatre major. I didn’t really think about recording my own music.
I really took it seriously about 4 years ago when I moved to NY. Officially. And I took it seriously because I’ve been active my whole life and I felt like I didn’t to say what anybody else wanted me to say any more.
So as an adult at 27 at the time, when I got back behind the mic I wasn’t crooning anymore.
I’ve always been a poet. I’ve always been writing. I took it to the mic. I had a lot of anger built up inside me. I’ve been recording since I was like 10, but JusB has been alive for like the last 3 years.
MN: How important is camaraderie in making music?
JusB: It starts with who you are. It’s always good to have people who are inspiring around you. It’s always important to be available to people who motivate you. Whatever motivates you, be around that. Be available with not just opinions but your energy.
MN: How do you define love?
JusB: Love for me are both familiar things and things that I have not seen yet. Nothing in between that is love to me. Love is the real people, small things, colors, the wind. Love is also the things I want to see…like a view in Dubai. I was just at the beach and felt love. Any time it something it’s bigger than me and effective – that’s love. Most important, love is a Black woman. I grew up in a single parent household so the respect that I have for my Mother, Grandmother and Aunt – that’s what I identify as love. How they make me feel is the way nature makes me feel. Love is something beyond man. It’s a feeling.
MN: What makes you a Magical Negro?
JusB: I am a Magical Negro because I am unapologetic, I am myself at all times. I never want to be anyone else. I create with purpose with the intent of change. I could not do that without the greats like Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Alvin Ailey doing before me. I’m trying to make the next negro just as magical. I got it from the best.