Sunday, September 20, 2009
Q&A with JC Poppe on Sleep Therapy
This new project from JC Poppe, Sleep Therapy, bangs! Laced with dope tracks and a progressive flow, JC Poppe definitely delivers with Sleep Therapy! His project touches on a few social issues, including sex education, while paying homage to his family. He also takes a hard look at mainstream music and pushes at other artist to put out better music.
His sound? Unique.
“I guess alternative hip-hop,” JC Poppe said when asked to describe his sound. “Big influences on me are Public Enemy, M.O.P. and Rage Against The Machine, so I usually keep it aggressive.”
With Sleep Therapy, he definitely keeps it aggressive.
JC Poppe has rhymed since 1995 but it wasn’t until 2004 when he first started putting out music.
“The very first project I completed was called The Anger EP,” he said.
On that first project, it included four tracks, one of which being Give it to Em.
“I was blessed to have been able to work with a guy named B. Reith who is actually a Christian artist and signed to Toby Mac’s label, Goatee Records,” he said. “We are both Brown Deer guys (a diverse blue color suburb north of Milwaukee) so it was nice to have that hook up before I moved into the Milwaukee scene a few years ago.”
JC Poppe’s Sleep Therapy is just another example that there is a dope hip-hop scene in Milwaukee.
“I've been active in the Milwaukee scene since late 2006 as a fan but have only now really thrown my hat into the ring as an artist.”
As his new project was being uploaded to CD Baby (now available), we decided to reach out to JC Poppe for a Q&A about his latest project.
The Mad Bloggers: Why Sleep Therapy as the title?
JC Poppe: I literally have a sleeping disorder and I was always struggling to stay awake. The only way I could keep myself up was to keep my mind or body occupied with something and vibing to the beats I got made the creative juices flow so that I could be awake and productive. It's also a commentary on the pop rap heard on the radio. There is a lot of awful stuff out there and it would keep me up as an artist, striving to destroy the music that is killing the culture of hip-hop.
TMB: How would you describe your sound?
JC: I would say that my sound is fairly aggressive and passionate, and lyrical. I have beats that are generally sample heavy and I love heavy guitars as much as the sound of a soul groove. I try to be as forward as possible with what I do while still leaving things enjoyable to listen to.
TMB: Who did you collab with on this project?
JC: I was fortunate enough to work with some really amazing national artists as well as some of the best that the city of Milwaukee has to offer. 88-Keys out of NYC was gracious enough to allow me to rock two of his beats. Guilty Simpson out of Detroit and Naledge of Kidz in the Hall also have guest verses on the album. It was really awesome of those guys to work with an unsigned indie artist that they've never heard of before the day I contacted them. As far as Milwaukee talent goes I have production and/or vocals from several members of The House of M (Raze, Dana Coppafeel, Dylan Thomas), a verse from Speak Easy who is a monster of a rapper and my manager Jank One did the beat for A Saving Sound.
TMB: What was the driving force behind putting this project together?
JC: I've been spinning my wheels for years on putting together a proper album and not just a few loose tracks here and there. In my mind it became one of those things that it was either time to put up or shut up and with the support of my wife and the help of some really great people in the Milwaukee hip-hop scene, I put up. It has always been a dream of mine to accomplish the task of making an album.
TMB: What track on the album says the most about who you are as an emcee?
JC: My verse on the song Trampin which features Naledge, I think really speaks to who I am as an emcee. It has a very focused rhyme scheme and a message that is delivered with passion.
TMB: Mixtape Epidemic is fire but it seems to call out people. What does the track mean from your perspective? What message are you trying to get across?
JC: First, thank you for the compliment. The track certainly has the real potential to be very incendiary to some people. My perspective is that the Internet era of hip-hop is a double-edged sword. The good is that people like myself can be heard around the world and can gain opportunities like doing this interview. The bad is that every single person in the world can put together a song and put it out regardless of whether they have talent or not. I feel that rap/hip-hop has been bogged down by talentless people flooding the Internet with horrible music and that usually manifests itself in the form of the mixtape. What better way to invest as little time and money into yourself as to steal other people's beats, rhyming over them with your computer mic or whatever and then uploading it to mediafire or zshare or whatever. I get that it's a promotional tool that people like 50 Cent had huge success with but most people making them are not 50 Cent no matter how much they'd like to be. I get that it's a way to keep your name out there for people in the industry so that you don't get forgotten or left behind by new talent because we all know that a rapper's relevance is based on everything but talent now-a-days. However, everything that we as artist write is not great or even good. I've heard tons of verses from guys that I love as artists that are complete stinkers because they are over exerting their talent. The message that I'm trying to get across is to be smart about what you do because if you waste your talent on a mixtape and then come up empty on your album ... when the money is invested ... you are worthless to the landscape of sound and have effectively crushed yourself out of being important. I know these are strong words but it's what I believe in ... right or wrong.
TMB: What does your music really mean to you?
JC: My music is the most important thing to me after my family. It has helped to keep me sane over the years and it kept me out of a lot of trouble. Instead of fighting somebody physically, I did it by writing verses. I was always a step away from getting kicked out of school until about my junior year of high school when I finally woke up ... so I used music to cope with everything. Later on, music served as a sounding board for introspection and social commentary as well as once again trying to cope with issues, though the issues were different. There was a six year period where I lost a lot of people in my life to suicide, murder, drugs, etc. and a good four of those years I spent drinking really hard and had issues with it. If it wasn't for my writings, my music, I have no idea where I'd be.
Trampin featuring Naledge (of Kidz in the Hall)
Sleep Therapy is available for download @
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