Just Rese, formerly known as Tyrese Johnson Music, was featured on EBMUD — one of my favorite tracks from Elujay’s Jentrify. This was my first time hearing Just Rese, and after checking out his soundcloud, I knew it is only a matter of time before Bay Area music fans began to hear his name alongside other emerging artists like Caleborate and Elujay. I recently had a chance to sit down with the Oakland native to discuss how he started rapping, his new musical direction, and his upcoming project HIPS.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing lyrics since middle school. I got into it because I had homies who were fucking with it. So there was a period of time where everyone around me was rapping, and I was the only one who wasn’t super into it. I didn’t do it because moms didn’t let me listen to hella rap music, so it was something that wasn’t a big part of my life.
Can you recall your first performance?
My first performance was in middle school. I had a couple. One of them was this performance in downtown Oakland. Me and the homies used to be in Emeryville after school rapping in front of people to see if we could make money by getting people to donate. One day we were out there and this cat who ran an organization in Oakland, called YMR (Youth Movement Records). He gave us his contact and a little while late he invited us to a show and we were allowed to perform a song.
How would you describe your sound?
I just recently had a rebranding. I used to go by Tryese Johnson Music and now I go by Just Rese. One of the things that has changed in that process is that with Wax Roof and the project we have coming out now, we’ve kinda created a sound that is kinda funky and upbeat and hella danceable, whereas before I was making really low-key, reflective shit over slow emo beats. Now I’m focused on making music that is energetic and bright, even though the subject matter is the same and talking about the shit i’m going through, which is basically about girls.
How has Oakland influenced your sound?
Oakland has such an important emphasis on being authentic and original, and I think there is a strong push to find some shit, be dope at it, and make it yours. I enjoy being here, I have an affinity for hyphy shit, even though i’m not making it, but I like the spirit of it. The spirit of hyhpy is in the performances. I’m lit on stage because of hyphy.
Do you have any projects coming out soon?
I have a project called HIPS that’s fully composed by Wax Roof. It’s going to be an EP, it also has co-production from Drew Banga. Caleborate is also on there, Duckwrth is going to be on there. I’m really excited because it’s coming at a time where I’ve done this rebrand, so a lot of people aren’t expecting this sound. I don’t have a specific date, but hopefully it drops at the beginning of 2017. There’s a couple things I have to do to get ready for it but hopefully it drops first quarter.
Where does the title HIPS come from?
The inspiration of the title comes from a conversation I was having in the studio. I’m never going to be someone that’s considered the life of the party at a function, and one of my friends described me as “hidden in plain sight”. To me the word “hips” relates to movement and dance, and the energy of the music, and that’s reflective of what my next project is going to be like.
In 2015 you dropped two EP’s, For the Lost One’s and Not a Day Later. What are you trying to accomplish with HIPS?
HIPS is going to be a project that I’m trying to do right. I want to approach every aspect of it right, I’m doing PR for this project, I’m going to have videos ready before I drop shit. This is dropping at a time where there’s hella eyes on the Bay, people care right now, so I want to give them something that’s packaged well and makes them want to pay attention.
What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2017?
Hopefully at the end of 2017 I can say I killed bigger venues. That’s a really big thing because I enjoy performing. I would like to have began working on another project and have developed deeper connections and further solidified myself as an artist.