Last week while watching Killer Mike interview George Clinton, Mike made an observation about Clinton’s mastery of dealing with people, and George’s response resonated deeply. He said, “One thing I give myself credit for, I know how to get out of people what they don't even know they got in 'em.”
While artists and producers deservingly soak up accolades for their finished products, there’s a role in the creative process that often goes unacknowledged, and it’s exactly what Killer Mike observed in George Clinton—the talent orchestrator.
There are some people in this world that have an innate eye for essentially creating recipes for creativity. These creative conductors know exactly who to place into a room to create a fantastic collaborative product, even if they themselves don’t know what the end product will be.
Hip-hop has seen a great many of these figures, and J.Period is one of them.
Also known as The Mixtape Assassin, Brooklyn-based DJ and producer J.Period has been assembling top-caliber mixtapes for the past 17 years with artists whose legacies continue to dominate the culture years after their prime.
In the last decade alone, J.Period has crafted mixtapes with The Roots, Q-Tip, Don Cannon and members of The Rocksteady Crew. He was also the brains behind last year’s chart-toppingHamilton Mixtape, and on May 2 will deliver his soundtrack to Epix documentary series America Divided, RISE UP!, which will feature names like Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, Xzibit and DJ Jazzy Jeff, among others.
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Basically, J.Period is the DJ Khaled of your favorite rappers’ favorite rappers, but he’s also so much more. While Khaled’s role as an assembler of talent is currently unrivaled in the mainstream, J.Period’s veteran skills as a DJ (just peep the accolades on his Wikipedia page if you’re looking for pedigree) and producer better allow him to leave his mark on his projects alongside legendary artists.
While Khaled’s name is scattered across the production credits of his latest album Major Key, most of the production on the album was in fact handled by outsiders. J.Period’s mixtapes, on the other hand, are all very much a hands-on affair, with his “Best Of” tapes even finding the producer reconstructing both well-known hits and unreleased rarities into a work all his own. If he's not composing original productions, he's crafting enthralling, exclusive remixes, or re-imagining the magic created in the studio by acts like The Roots and John Legend.
One of J’s greatest strengths is taking something we’re familiar with and crafting it into something fresh, exciting and often informative. While DJ Khaled has been snagging radio spins left and right over the past decade, J.Period has been digging back into hip-hop’s roots (no pun intended) and returning with fistfuls of inspiration. His musical travels offer both a hip-hop history lesson to newcomers and moments of re-imagined nostalgia for those already in the know.
For example, his project with Canadian artist K’naan, The Messengers, is a three-part series that reintroduced a new generation of listeners to musical icons Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and Bob Dylan, all through the lens of hip-hop. Whether through his “Best Of” collections, his “Official Tributes” or his original works, J.Period has spent his career perfecting the craft of assembling talent and leaving his underrated, personal mark all over it.
You may not hear J.Period's work dominating urban radio stations across the country, but make no mistake as to the power of his impact and influence on hip-hop culture.