[No Hand Outs Interview]

Interview Date: 17th. January. 2012

Published Date: 02nd. April. 2012

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader & The Reccollectah

Special thanks to JD Era & Black Market Music Group Inc. 


JD Era

With over 6 years in the game you may think you know about JD ERA already, but guess again. Sure ERA has been a staple artist in Toronto, receiving multiple acclamations and notable plays on radio. He has collaborated with some of today’s most popular artists and producers. But this year, ERA is finally taking his well deserved spot within the entertainment landscape. With a music style that is true to his renowned, raw and energetic talent, JD ERA has the attention of key players and Legends in the game. Backed by an experienced, business and digitally savvy team, ERA is gearing up to embark on a revolutionary new approach to music. Not only will he be releasing his greatest, most commercially viable music ever, he’ll be doing it through innovative methods which have already helped him expand his fan base well beyond the border and overseas. With over a millions views on YouTube, Blogs, and overall steady online following this Toronto Artist is truly living up to the fact that he is one of Canada’s best lyricists and ghost writers. Applauded by his peers and other industry professionals for his freestyle flow, JD possess an unrelenting demeanor and competitive attitude that will most definitely continue to serve him well.
Since being named Champion at the Marc Ecko Freestyle Competition, Era has performed alongside artists like Nas, Gza, Kardinal Offishall, Tyga, Drake, Method Man, Red Man, Raekwon, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Gucci Mane, The Clipse, Mac Miller, Terminology, Currensy and Freddie Gibbs to name a few. It became apparent that he was garnering even more recognition when he was nominated for two DJ Stylus Awards and took home the hardware for Best Rap at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. His freestyle prowess was highlighted once again when he was crowned the winner of the TAG Records’ Survival of The Freshest competition, solidifying his freestyle champion designation. In addition, his late summer street release, “Coming to America,” was nominated as Best Mixtape for Flow 93.5’s Real Frequency Award. With 5 solid mix tapes albums under his belt, ERA latest mixtape release entitled “Th1rt3en” and is now available on iTunes.
For the 2011 and 2012 NBA seasons JD ERA’s talent and likability secured him the theme song spot on The Score network’s “Court Surfing” NBA program broadcast across Canada, while videos releases for “You Know This”, “Fame & Fortune” off the Th1rte3n mixtape charted on Much Music and other notable music countdowns.

Looking into the future is exciting; with a world of opportunity he is sure to make it to the top. To get even closer to his dream July 1st 2011 all of the attention finally paid off when Era caught the interest of a certain Killer Bee, Raekwon “The Chef” who launched his label ICE H20 Canada presence in Toronto. Despite rumors of where he would sign, Era announced that he would be joining Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan to build his Ice H2O Records imprint. Once again, things began to take off for Era.
Traveling and performing with a hip-hop legend doesn’t happen every day but Era was fortunate enough to do just that. After multiple appearances together, Era also put in some work on Raekwon’s latest project “Unexpected Victory” with 5 features and 2 lead videos for tracks “Just A Toast” & “Soldier Story”. “Unexpected Victory” has gained Era a tour with Raekwon. They’ve completed a 13 date Canadian tour across Canada and are now currently wrapping up a 40 date U.S Tour. All of this is leading up to Era’s next release “No Handouts” which is expected to be released April 16th 2012, aptly referred to as 416. Appearances on this project will include the likes of Grammy Award Winning producer 9th Wonder, BET Producer of the year Lex Luger. Judging from the string of singles that have been released, ERA fans have proclaimed the highly anticipated “No Hand Outs” project to be a XXL freshmen classic. Wu-Internationa catches up with possibly the first artists in Canada to be officially down with the Wu to find out how it all started and where it is going, Enjoy!

I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: how are you JD?
JD Era: Peace! I'm blessed. Things have been moving in the right direction.

Wu-International: You recently got signed to Iceh20 Inc records, how did this come about? 
JD Era: I met Raekwon about a year ago at a show. He had heard my name going around the city and wanted to meet me. I played him my album at the time and the rest was history.

Wu-International: Was there any other specific reasons that made Raekwon sign you?
JD Era: Chef tells me he loves my versatility. I'm just trying to beast on every beat and show the world we mean business.

Wu-International:  Some might say Drake craze and his popularity has helped as the businesses are now taking Canadian artists more seriously now, what are your thoughts on this?
JD Era: It's definitely helped bring attention to the country and artist North of the border. I feel like regardless of where people are from the talents always going to stand out.

Wu-International: After you got signed a lot of fans wondered who you were. Can you tell a little bit about your background, whereabouts, etc… ?
JD Era: I'm a Toronto emcee. I started out in the battle scene and just slowly built my buzz across the country pushing my mixtapes and videos.

Wu-International:  Why are you called JD Era?
JD Era: JD is my initials and Era is a timeline. Just my way of saying its my time.

Wu-International: Any other names you go by you like to share with us please?
JD Era: Era Era. Say my name twice if u mean it.

Wu-International: How did you get into MC’ing?
JD Era: I started out freestyling and battling locally. Then a homey of mine Bad Nuze brought me to his studio and I never looked back.

Wu-International: You were known for your freestyling when you took your first steps in the rap game. Do you still freestyle and what does it take to be a good freestyler in your opinion?
JD Era: Yea I still freestyle. Not as much as back in the day but I'll still ruin a rappers career tho. To me the best freestylers are just quick witted. You gotta see 3 or 4 bars ahead.

Wu-International: When did you know MC’ing would be more to you than just a hobby or good fun?
JD Era: I always knew in the back of my mind that I would do this. Rap was taking up too much time and money for me to not take it seriously. I just always wanted to get better and loved the music.

Wu-International: You recorded your first singles in 2005: “Ride Clean” and “Take me home”, the second one apparently did very well on urban radio stations. How do you look back on those first efforts?
JD Era: Your diggin in the archives! Those were my first songs to get played on the radio. They helped me understand how radio works. Those were mixtape songs getting played on commercial radio. Looking back it was another stepping stone.

Wu-International: Next step were mixtapes, your Facebook page mentions you have 4 mixtapes out there. Can you let the (new) fans know which mixtapes you have under your belt and where they can find them?
JD Era: Black Market vol.1 and 2. Cold war with superstar Jay. Coming to America. Th1rt3en. You can download them at www.nohandouts.net

Wu-International: There was also talk of a JD Era album getting released in 2010. Did that ever materialize? If so can you give us the title?
JD Era: Naw. But a lot of those songs came out over time.

JD Era

Wu-International: According to the aforementioned Facebook page u had worked with GZA and Nas amongst others? Can you tell us some more about these collaborations?
JD Era: Naw I opened for them. I'm definitely looking forward to working with legends like that tho. It's like working with Raekwon.

Wu-International: Judging from your many Youtube videos your style was very urban and radio minded. Will the music you work on for Ice H2O be different from those releases?
JD Era: Yea I think you get a better idea listening to my mixtapes. I can do the commercial joints, but the music is really about the bars. I'm in the best school possible as far as being an emcee. So I gotta show and prove.

Wu-International: The first results were already to be heard on Raekwon’s “Unexpected victory” free album where you had 4 features, would you please like to run them down one by one and tell us something about the recordings?
JD Era: Just a Toast- Mark Henry sent that. We were drinking Courvoiser exclusive. Luxury Rap- Fred Da Godson got his verse done in the 9th inning. Goodfellas

Wu-International: Which track showcases your skills to the new fans best in your opinion and why that one?
JD Era: It's hard for me to choose one record. I just want fans new and old to really take in this No Handouts project..

Wu-International: A new mixtape “No handouts” is announced to be dropping soon, can you tell us some more about this tape?
JD Era:  I'm really proud of the music on No Handouts. It's all original material. I can't tell you too much about it cause I want all the features and production to be a surprise. But I won't disappoint.

Wu-International:  Apart from this mixtape, have you already started on a solo album? If so can you tell us something about the producers and features involved?
JD Era: I started working on the album but I'm being patient right now. I still want my music to reach a lot more people before we drop the first LP.

Wu-International: When is this first album on Ice H2O scheduled?
JD Era:
we're gonna play it by the temperature. That's one of the benefits of being independent.

 Wu-International: Does this project already have a title?
JD Era: Not yet.

Wu-International: You started with radio minded music and now signed to Raekwon’s label. What part of the hip hop audience are you and Rae aiming at with this album for Ice H2O?
JD Era:
Yeah, I  have records that can be played on the radio but it's never been my focus. Especially connecting with Raekwon. He's not a guy that typically gets played on commercial radio. I'm focused on rap fans and people that appreciate the lyrics.

Wu-International: Just now you and Raekwon are hitting the road with a Canadian tour. Is this the first time you embark on a tour of this size and what do you expect from it?
JD Era: Yea were actually mid tour right now. It's my first time. It's been a good experience. I'm just learning as we go along.

Wu-International: How have the shows been so far? How has the audience reacted to your performances?
JD Era:
Shows have been dope! I'm a high energy guy on stage and the fans have been going harder than me. So it's been sick.

Wu-International: Any plans of joining Rae on tours outside Canada as well?
JD Era:
Yea Im going to be with him for the u.s. leg of the tour as well. So look out for that Unexpected Victory Tour in your city!

Wu-International: Now that you have been working with the Chef in the studio and you are on the road and on stage with him … what have you already learned from this rap legend?
JD Era:
The real gems I'm learning I can't really put into words, but his work ethic is crazy. He's 20 years deep for a reason. Wu is 20 years deep for a reason.

Wu-International: So in all honesty, what is like working with Rae?

JD Era: Its refreshing for me. He's one of the wittiest people I've met. So when we're in the studio there's a lot of creative energy going around. He forces me to stay on my A game with my rhymes too. You already know how sick Rae is with the word play.
Raekwon & JD Era

Wu-International: Wu-Tang Clan is a dynasty, how does it feel to be associated of some sort with Rae who is a part of this movement?
JD Era:
It feels good. Its almost like a full circle being that these are the guys that I grew up on. 

Wu-International: You are probably the first Canadian with any ties to the Wu-Tang Clan, some fans will already view you as a killa bee, and others an affiliate, how do you see yourself in this light?
JD Era:
I don't really think about it. To me I'm JD Era representing Raekwon and his Ice H20 imprint. Love from the Wu fans is a bonus. But I know I have my own groundwork to do. 

Wu-International: Have you had the chance to meet other members of the Wu-Tang Clan and if so who?
JD Era: 
Yea I got to meet Ghost, and Meth when they came to Toronto. Looking forward to meeting the rest of Rae's brothers.

Wu-International: Apart from Rae who else can the fans see you working with, be it a general from the Clan or a killa bee?
JD Era:  By album time I'm sure I'll get something together. I'm all about the element of surprise.

Wu-International:  You have been using the internet a lot it seems to promote yourself: there’s the many Youtube videos, you used to run a blog in 08-09, there’s Twitter and Facebook off course, now you havewww.nohandouts.net/ to post your recent endeavours. For young artists internet is a given. How did it benefit your career?
JD Era:
It's just a way to reach fans in places that I may never have been before. The Internet is a bit of a gift and a curse because fans don't absorb music the same way anymore. It's here today gone tomorrow. But it's helped me connect to people on a more personal level.

Wu-International:  Anything else you would like to share with the fans that have not been covered already ? Shout outs ?
JD Era:
Shout out my Ice H20 family on both sides of the border. My Black Market brothers. NoHandouts.net No Handouts is gonna be epic.

Keep up to date with JD ERA at 
JD Era Website

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