If you’re a Jay Z fan you’ve more than likely heard him repping his new slogan #NewRules with veracity. Ironic as it is that one of the most commercially successful hip hop artists in the game is pushing this anti-industry motto. However, there’s no denying that indie rap is the new wave. With today’s technology, having major label backing is no longer a necessity to make it in the game. With social media and global marketing available at your fingertips it’s possible to stay self-sufficient in this new age of hip hop. So, we’re bringing you a new artist or group every week that really creates their own rules, and asking them how you too can make your own lane.
For this installment we’re featuring CJ Fly of Pro Era.
Mass Appeal: How did you meet up with Pro Era?
CJ Fly: Pro Era started around 2010, it was me, Joey Badass, Capital Steez and Powers Pleasant in the beginning.
MA: Before you started Pro Era, were you doing anything music wise?
CJF: Yeah, I’ve been rapping for a while, since I was a kid.
MA: How did you come up with your name?
CJF: CJ is short for Chiane Jr. and the Fly came from me always dressing up for school. My friends would always call me fresh and fly. I like dressing up.
MA: How did you start off rapping?
CJF: I loved poetry as a kid so it just made sense. I grew up on reggae and to me rap and reggae are similar. Reggae is just rapping over a reggae beat, once I realized that I started getting more into hip hop.
MA: Are you of Caribbean descent?
CJF: Yeah, my dad’s from Jamaica and my mom’s from Barbados.
MA: So, in the beginning when you were starting out, how were you able to get studio time? I know you have a music video out, what’s the process of being able to do that without a major record label backing you?
CJF: LRG, sponsored my latest video. Studio time, I’ve been lucky to have friends who have mics. Before I used to pay $15 an hour to record at this neighborhood spot but now we all have our own equipment.
MA: How did you do your very first music video?
CJF: My very first music video was sponsored by LRG as well, I’ve done videos with just Pro Era though. In our collective we have everything you need, everyone has multiple roles.
MA: Do you want to be signed to a record label or do you like being independent?
CJF: I don’t want to have to answer to anybody. I don’t like rules. I think eventually it might happen but on my own terms.
MA: When you were starting off by yourself what kinds of steps did you have to take to get where you are now?
CJF: I just set my goals and try to meet them. Before I even put a project fully together, I set goals that I want to meet for 2013, 2014. I try to aim for things that I think I can meet and make sure it happens. I think about what I want and I manifest it.
MA: What advice would you give others who are trying to come up?
CJF: Set goals and meet them. That’s the main thing I’ve learned. If you put it out there it will manifest, you just have to keep cultivating it.