P.A.T. Junior is a boss.
Raleigh resident P.A.T. Junior epitomizes the indie hustle– you can pay him for a feature on the beat he produced for you, then he’ll turn around and not only shoot, but edit the song’s video he produced and hopped on for you too.. Seriously, he edited my last music video.
Fortunately, PJ’s gifts does’t coincide with a destructive ego. He’s an old soul: kind-hearted, pure, honest, and expressive. Everyday Dope Life had the privilege of sitting down with the multi-talented renaissance man in hopes of gleaning some truth from an ever reliable source.
You are your own boss, using revenue streams from combined hustles to make your own way. Tell me about that process. How did you feel when you were about to make that jump? And then tell me some of the pros and cons when juxtaposed with your classic 9-5?
It’s actually been a long time coming. I’ve been building my other skillsets outside of song writing and rapping for about 5 years now. However, I didn’t decide to make that jump – I got “pushed” – but then I realized I had the wings to fly in this realm of the full time artist life. Last year in August, a week before my last album dropped, I got laid off for the third time since I’ve been married. My wife and I got together, talked and prayed about it and felt like it was time to take it on.
The great thing about doing this full time is that I get to make my own schedule. I do my best to go to bed at a decent hour (whatever that is) so I can wake up and start my day early. But if I decide to work late, then that’s cool too. I guess the only “con” is that you have to create your income and that can be tough at times. But then again, that’s not really a “con” because that is apart of the job description, right?
Word. So with that being said (creating your own income), How did you get into shooting and editing videos? The skills are very evident. Take us through how you got to this point.
As I said earlier, it’s been a long time coming. I’m actually self-taught when it comes to shooting and editing video. I’ve always been into film.. since I was a kid. I remember in high school, I had a camcorder that was passed down to me and I would document fun moments in class and on the bus. I would make these mini-movies of my times with friends, family, and just whatever I wanted to film. Of course, I didn’t have any video editing software, so whenever I needed to do voice over or do commentary, I would just record over the “dead” moments in the video. It definitely made it much more entertaining and made for some great laughs too.
I’ve done a plethora of storyboards for video shoots and have a nice bit of directed and edited videos out there. A small portion of it is for my own music.
P.A.T. Junior’s got beats..
Along the same lines, you’re a polished producer. How much of your own work do you produce? Any production credits for others that you want the people to know about?
It really depends on the project. As of late, I’ve been making a lot of my own stuff. For my last album, I did a lot of the foundational/skeleton work for most of the tracks on “Learning To Live (In A Day)” – so I’d say about 65% of it was me hands-on. It’s funny you say “polished” producer because that was one of my main goals to accomplish before I started heavily producing for myself…becoming polished. I’m just getting to the point where I feel like I can produce a full EP or album for myself without second-guessing the quality of my work. Nevertheless, I still like to bring on my guys D. Steele, Justin Pelham. and the new guy Xtals (who are apart of my production team) to help flesh out the work and diversify the sound.
I’d say my greatest placement is on my dude Swade’s “Alumni” album. The single is called “Highway 27”. He said that I provided the track for a record he can perform for the rest of his life. That’s probably the biggest compliment I’ve received in my 5 years of producing. And that beat is probably my favorite track I’ve made for someone – ever.
Continuing with production, what are your favorite tools of the trade? Everyone seems to have their own methodology, and I’m fascinated by that. Also, some influences please:
When making beats, good mixing is crucial. Great mixing can make an average beat sound good. So, as of late, the entire Sound Toys suite has been my go to and my current favorite. I’d say, one of my biggest influences is the group and the individual artists from Return To Forever – Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock (and all the others). Current producers? I’m a fan and influenced by D. Steele, DJ Dahi, Kaytranada, and few others as well.
I know you’re a big fan of Oddisee and recently had the privilege of opening for him. Describe that experience. Tell us why you gravitate towards his music.
Ah man, huge fan. It was an incredible experience. Oddisee and his band are some of the coolest, most knowledgeable dudes you’ll ever meet. They’re very professional and team-spirited. As far as Oddisee, he’s just an incredible artist. MC/lyricist, producer, and his aesthetic – he’s just got it. I love that he continues to redefine and evolve in his sound but still has that jazz foundation. It reminds me of Return to Forever.
P.A.T. Junior’s got BARS.
“Moving I’m the next second, X Weapon, tech sketching, always drawing Logans on the older me”…That right there is wild. I’m a Hip-Hop snob and pride myself on my writing as an artist, so I’m always stoked when I see/hear stuff like that. The scheme is rapid fire and intricate; the reference is dope. The only comparison I would “draw” here in terms of structure and cadence would be Earl, but it’s still very much his own.. all that being said to get to the damn question (lol)…
Who/what shaped your writing style? Furthermore, being so technically sound, how do you feel about the “mumble rap” epidemic?
Definitely poetry. My origins are in spoken word. My Mom would write poetry and share it with me when I was younger, so I’m originally inspired by her work. I actually grew up listening to ATCQ, Biggie, Rakim, and other great lyricists. As I got older I started listening to Jay-Z, Fabolous, Eminem, and other witty lyricists. And then of course, other genre’s of music have greatly influenced my writing as well – especially Jazz and Soul. As of matter of fact, I don’t really listen to a lot of Hip-Hop on the regular now and I think that has a great part in how I write and how I approach my production.
I can’t lie, there are some good qualities that can be pulled from “mumble rap” music – especially the melody driven content. I think it has its place in Hip-Hop and can be seen as a sub-genre but I can’t go as far to say that those who are unintelligible when rapping are great writers/lyricists. BUT, some of them have amazing cadences that can be implemented when recording. I’ve definitely heard some Hip-Hop favorites incorporate it in their music.
Do you ever find yourself catering to the ADHD tailored content and “dumb down” aesthetic of the business?
Funny, I was just tweeting about this the other day. There is a difference between adaptation and compromise. However, I can’t succumb to this new thirst of music and artists releasing every 2 months. What happened to taking your time to create art and injecting it with passion, love and every other part of your persona? What happened to not over-saturating? What happened to making the people wait in order to build anticipation? If the followers of your music are always having their audio demands satisfied, doesn’t that devalue the artistic quality of what you are putting out? It’s almost as if your usual Sirloin steak meal is becoming a Happy Meal from McDonald’s.
Dope analogy, sir… Finally, “Christian Rapper”. Does that mean anything in particular to you?
I have friends who are Christian Rappers and they make good music. I definitely enjoy listening to their releases and support them when they release.
P.A.T. Junior is from North Carolina, by way of New York.
We’re both from the birthplace of Hip-Hop. Some say NY isn’t what it used to be. Is that dead-ass b/FACTS my guy?
Haha! It’s definitely not the same but change and evolution can be a good thing. Only time will tell…
Elaborate upon the music scene in North Carolina, honing in on Raleigh. What separates it from elsewhere?
If I’m going to elaborate on this, I can’t leave out Durham. So let’s say Raleigh/Durham. Just like New York, Atlanta, Cali and other great cities that have their own take on the different styles in Hip-Hop, we do too. However, it’s also a melting pot of various cultures because you have people from all over who’ve moved here (previously mentioned cities). So it’s a very diverse, cultured, and attractive scene. You get a little bit of everything in it’s own unique style when you come to North Carolina – that’s what separates us.
P.A.T. Junior has more on the way.
Tell us about the project you’re dropping this summer.
It’s definitely the atmospheric sequel to “Learning to Live (In A Day)”. You’ll hear that I have a new attitude, a much more refined perspective on life.. and it’s self-produced. Lyrically, there is definitely more low hanging fruit than the previous tree but you can still miss various literary devices I’m always planting if you don’t listen well enough. It’s my best work.
Parting thoughts, shout-outs, waxing poetic?
Shout out to God, my wife, my Be Absxlute team and everyone that is supporting my journey. I also want to encourage everyone reading this interview to:
Be authentic. Be great at whatever it is that you do. Strive to be undeniable. Be Absxlute!
Peep the latest and greatest from P.A.T. Junior below. It was a pleasure.