"ON STAGE, MY NAME is J-Skillz."
This is a statement that he holds dear to heart. The nineteen-year old, born and raised in Queens understands the difference between life on the stage and life off of it. On stage he is a dynamic performer growing by the performance. When he is with the Cataclysm, he brings an energy like none other. He takes over the ears and hearts of his listeners with his emotional lyrics. "Two things I feel separate me from the rest of the group is the picture I try to paint in all of my pieces, as well as the emotion I bring."
Off the stage, James is a college student, and aspiring rap artist. Music came to his life when he was 14. According to James, "I was in eighth grade in my music class, and for some reason the teacher decided to let us have a freestyle contest. Prior to the contest, I had always messed around with rhyming and freestyling, but this was the first time I had ever done it in front of anyone besides my best friend. When it was all said and done, I literally took home the trophy. Before this, no one knew that I rhymed so honestly, 50% of my victory was due to being an underdog, but the other 50% was due to skills." Later on in high school, James had another experience in music class in which he wrote his very first full song for a class project. "Supreme Lyricalism is still a classic to this day." That eighth grade freestyle battle and that tenth-grade high school music project are what James looks at as being life changing events.
J-Skillz feels that he is destined to succeed in the music business. With his involvement in two other groups, Queens Official, and an up and coming independent label, Lock Down Entertainment, he feels that one of them, if not all of them will bring success. "One of the hardest things about being associated with three different groups is showing equal dedication to each, but I know that my loyalty will pay off. Each group has something good going on, so it's definitely worth it." However, J-Skillz is not a bandwagon jumper. He has been with both Queens Official and Lock Down through the good and the bad.
Now that he has emerged as a member of the Cataclysm, he gets to flex his talents with one more group. Being with the cataclysm is something different for Skillz because it's more than just Hip-Hop. It?s R&B, Jazz, and poetry all in one. "I love the Cataclysm as well as my fellow Cataclysm members. We are like brothers. Our individual talents combined together form a team of artists that the world needs. We provide something new, something original." As a Cataclysm member I know that if we do this properly, we will be the next big thing."
In the end J-Skillz wants to be known as a versatile artist. He doesn?t believe in being defined as a certain genre of Hip Hop. "I want to be able to rhyme about anything and still get appreciated for it. I love all types of Rap, so I'm going to rhyme about whatever I feel. Now that I am a part of the Cataclysm, I have the opportunity to get a better feel for poetry." Indeed being part of the Cataclysm will take James' "Skillz" to another level.
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