Hip-Hop Soul: J. Holiday

After taking the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in 2007 with his debut album, Back of My Lac’ and producing two chart-topping singles, J. Holiday thought he was well on his way to the top. But after taking his audience to Bed, it seems that’s where he’s stayed for the last two years; while the release of his sophomore album, Round 2, made its way to No. 2 on Billboard’s R&B chart, the project never reached the level of its predecessor.

Now, with a new label and new a mindset, the Washington D.C. soul singer is ready to regain control of his music and take responsibility for his disappointing last album. Shedding light on ways to make it in this industry and things new artists should not do, Holiday opened up to XXL.—Amber McKynzie

It’s been two years since your last album. Are there any projects you’re currently working on?

J. Holiday: I just put out a mixtape called M.I.A.: The Lost Pages to reintroduce myself after the label change and all that. People were wondering what’s going on with me so I put out the mixtape. We got a song on there called “Float Away,” that’s picking up a bit. [I’m] still working on the album. Back in [the studio] with [The-]Dream and [songwriter] Los [Da Mystro], so just tryna get this music to the people.

You mentioned a label change. What was the situation your last label home, Capitol?

Honestly, urban music is probably [some] of the hardest music to sell as far as the label standpoint. They just didn’t have the urban system. I definitely had some good times on Capitol, but you know the urban department just didn’t have it all the way right, so I just had to get somewhere where that knew Urban music and that could be that force behind me. Now I’m with Def Jam.

Why Def Jam and not another label?

We were looking at Def Jam and Interscope, but Def Jam has a little more when it comes to hip-hop. They definitely know what they’re doing over there, so I mean that’s just it — simple and plain.

Back of My Lac’ was a nice set up for you. So, what do you think happened to your momentum after that? You said there was label stuff, but was there anything going on personally to take you away for a while?

Every artist that comes out for the most part don’t really know what’s going on as far as how things work, what’s going on, who does what, what’s your responsibility and what’s not your responsibility. When it came to the second album I started taking a little more responsibility [with] what I wanted to do and the kind of music that I wanted to do. It’s always a battle of power, so it just came to a point of, Alright, well, we not gonna put nothing behind it. We just gonna let you bump your head.’ I don’t know why they do that because if I lose, you lose, so it didn’t make any sense to me.

FOR MORE J. HOLIDAY, GO TO PAGE 2

  • Hannya

    I wish much success to Holiday. I bought both of his albums and i love them both. Hopefully he can get some more fame and recognition that he deserves.

  • Jesus ain’t happy about this one

    how can you take someone seriousl when they compare themselves to Jesus.

    • MuzikNLyfe

      I dont thik that he was realy comparing himself to Jesus but, he was giving an example. If people can forget about someone as powerful as Jesus, whats to make you think people won’t forget about you…

      • liz

        i agree

    • Kim

      UGH Lord JESUS, the man is making a general reference of how two-faced people can be. Example: People Idolized Jesus Christ for the work that he did and for some time he had a huge following. Right. However, Powerful & influence leaders felt threaten by Jesus Christ, for he was against their agenda. These leaders of course manipulated and even. Now, IN COMPARISON: In the music industry, J. Holiday was the idolized by many when he came out. People loved his voice, his style, His lyrics. However, The almighty leaders of the music Industry found reason to shut him down and lead many people to abandon him as an artist. Clearly, J. Holiday is a follower of Jesus himself, So, I’m sure Jesus understands where he’s coming from. Seriously, Relax. I’m just glad to know that he even recognizes God in this dane age. SMH. Anyway, More power to J. Holiday. I really do miss his voice & musical Style. The Man definitely deserve more shine. PEACE

  • joe blakk

    he didn’t compare himself to Jesus read it again he was saying if they did to him why wouldn’t they do it to anyone else that’s all

    for anyone else please read before u look like dumbass over here

    • You fuckin dumbass!!!!!

      YOU FUCKIN MORON. HOW YOU GON TELL OTHER PEOPLE TO READ IT WHEN YOU CLEARLY DIDN’T READ IT YOURSELF.
      HE DID COMPARE HIMSELF TO JESUS. ITS IN FUCKIN QUOTATION MARKS AT THE TOP YOU FUCKIN MORON.
      THIS NIGGA AIN’T GOT NO BUSINESS BRINGING UP JESUS. FUCKIN RIDICULOUS,

      • Bo

        Man sit your dumb ass down somewhere. Joe blakk is right.

        • someone ure not

          ok clearly you didnt read what he said i know J personally and he always gives Jesus credit in whatever he does unlike a lot of artist who sell out and forget the very one that got them the fame. so whoever you are get some of the hate out of your system and stop trying to find something to complain about. It boils me how so many people always have something bad to say about J if you took the time to get to know him you would know what he is really like soooooo again sit down with all that riggamaro and support instead of hate… btw how can you say anything about Jesus and your cursing… stop casting stones that will soon enough turn around an become bullets aimed at u.

          • U R A LOSER

            You crazy.
            I swear u fuckas could look at a clear blue sky and convince urself it’s black.
            I’m sure Holiday didn’t mean any disrespect but he did compare himself to Jesus. How do you simpletons not see that. I don’t get it.

  • Annonymous

    All I can say is that this man is AMAZING + just so damn REAL. “Always stay true to who you were not who you are now.” [thumbs up there] You go J. Holiday. We love you boo!

  • http://www.twitter.com/KingJHoliday KristiLuvNC

    Why can’t we have more men like this in the industry…or people, in general.

    I really hate the fact that Round 2 didn’t have as much sucess as it should have. I still listen to it as if it was released last week! It has substance….and it showed growth from Back of my Lac…if u ask me…

    I’m so ready for the next cd because J never disappoints.

    The good R&B artists that are true to their music are swept under rugs and thrown under buses b/c labels are so busy tryna push the “artists” that are willing to sell-out to sound pop and whatever else.

    Good interview J.Holiday….U da bestest! …and you shouldn’t feel like Round 2 was not as good…because it was…i just feel like you didn’t have strong support from the label…

    Keep singing the real shit…we’ll forever love u for that….xoxoxo

  • http://twitter.com/team_jholiday atarah

    great interview j and xxl make sure everyone goes and follow j holiday on twitter @kingjholiday and his official team @Team_JHoliday asap!! much love

  • http://n/a Patrise Grimes

    Hey
    Jholiday the interveiw is encouraging and I’m glad you are coming back. This time will be even greater. Always remember if no one is saying anything negative about you then check yourself and what you’re doing. People will always have something negative to say that’s the way of the world. Continue the journey and your next level. God got your back, and remember God gave you the talent so put your best foot forward, and by the way I loved both of your albums and your first mix tape too.

  • Grimey

    Fuck you and Fuck Gay Holiday.

    • nYoFace

      ur a loser Grimey

  • S.

    J Holiday, amazing as always.
    Haters – have way too much time on their hand haha, need to get a life. If you have nothing positive to say about J then don’t say anything at all!

  • Shelle

    J Holiday deseves much love & RESPECT – he is talented, works hard, he appreciates his fans. Haters stay in the trash were u belong.

    Keep doing what ur doing J holiday – so glad u stick to ur principles and are true to yourself. Don’t change or be manipulated into being something ur not. I may never really know u personally but u bring positivity and I can see ur heart is in the right place with songs like Ghetto & Homeless. You are far from one dimensional and can be deep when ready – (deeper than the River Thames Ha Ha – sorry a little London humour – my bad).

    Loving ur attitude to life, God gave u a talent, so glad ur sharing it. U def make a girl go weak at the knees LOLXXX:)

  • http://www.twitter.com/kristiluvnc KristiLuvNC

    it’s obvious that J. Holiday is a great artist but just got caught in the mixup of label politics. I dare you to go buy his albums and listen for yourself. You will then realize his passion and dedication for R&B/soul.

    I will forever be down with J.Holiday…when all of the pop-r&b singers have had their day and nobody wants to listen to that crap anymore, J will still be here-doing what he does best-singing and performing.

  • http://xxlmag Dee

    I LOVE J. Holiday!!!! Both albums! People slept on Round 2. It was the bomb!!! Turn up the radio, is my joint!!!!!! Please come back, The INDUSTRY NEEDS YOU!!!!!!

  • Kim

    UGH Lord JESUS, the man is making a general reference of how two-faced people can be. Example: People Idolized Jesus Christ for the work that he did and for some time he had a huge following. Right. However, Powerful & influence leaders felt threaten by Jesus Christ, for he was against their agenda. These leaders of course manipulated and even forced people to abandon Jesus leading to his demise. Comparison: In the music industry, J. Holiday was the idolized by many in the when he came out. People loved his voice, his style, His lyrics. However, The almighty leaders of the music Industry found reason to shut him J. Holiday down leading people to abandon him as an artist. Clearly J. Holiday is a follower of Jesus himself, So, I’m sure Jesus understands where he’s coming from. Relax. I’m just glad to know that he’s even recognizes God in this dane age. SMH. Anyway More power to J. Holiday I really do miss his voice & musical Style. The Man definitely deserve more shine. PEACE