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Old 04-05-2014, 12:59 PM   #1
Art Vandelay
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Default Raekwon & JD Era beefing. Rae closes IceH20 offices in Toronto

JD Era: Getting Out Of The KitchenJD Era: Getting Out Of The Kitchen
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Raekwon has a history of cooking up some of the illest verses and projects with and without his Wu brothers. His work over the past 20 years has given him the entitlement to be considered one of hip-hopís best lyricists of all time. He conducts himself with an attitude that matches the American hip-hop dream, moving himself from the ghetto and into million dollar mansions. With his experience and the support of hip-hop heads all over the world, you would think that a co-sign from the Chef would bring in numbers and a platform for your music to hit that same level of support, but for Missisauga-based rapper JD Era, that million-dollar dream has yet to happen.

In 2012 the Chef came to Canada like Columbus came into the Americas. He was welcomed like a king and his presence in Toronto and eye to the Canadian hip-hop music scene was assumed to be promising and in our benefit. However, JD Eraís arguably stalled career has shown us otherwise. Era has been around since before Drake saturated Toronto radio stations and before Raekwonís last seven solo projects were put out. For the time he has spent in the industry and with a co-sign from one of hip-hopís most well-known rappers, his career hasnít reached the amount of people youíd imagine.

JD Era is the only act associated with Raekwonís Canadian division for ICEH20 Records. It's worth noting that although ICEH20 proudly touts the fact that they're a Canadian record label, their output over the past few years has been limited to online-only mixtapes. Their former headquarters in Toronto has recently closed since opening its doors in 2012, leaving many to wonder aloud as to whether of not this entire endeavour was nothing more than a ploy for Raekwon to take advantage of Canada's generous cultural funding programs and associated tax breaks.

Recently, JD Era independently released a 39-minute project called Barz, which showed that Era is still a skilled lyricist with a lot to say. Three minutes in to the project, Era addresses a Breakfast Club interview in which Rae initiated that his Canadian label wasnít progressing because there was no work being put in from the artists. In reply, Eraís states on the song that ďChef and I havenít said six words in six months,Ē exposing the camaraderie that he and Rae feel towards each other.

Era is at a point in his career in which he is trying to hold those in his team accountable for their titles. As a label, ICEH20 should be paving the way and executing the means for Eraís material to hit the same level of fans that the head of the label has access to. As a business man, Raekwon has demonstrated that he needs to put the focus primarily on his artistís development instead of his own. ďItís one thing to be a great rap artists,Ē Era says, ďItís another thing to be a great business man.Ē Although Eraís loyalty and fandom for Raekwon is still very evident, Raeís rapping career and reputation should only make up a fraction of what he can offer new artists. And even after all these years, JD Era is still an up-and-coming artist.

As for not putting in work, it appears Era has been doing quite the opposite, not to mention on his own. He has several videos coming out in the next few months and a project set to come out in the summer with collaborations from different genres and a variety of Canadian artists. Heís expanding and evolving his music into something that combines his history of well-constructed lyrics to experimental sequencing and vocals. However, even with attachment to the label and the platform the co-sign has given him, Era is still in need of the obvious: a budget to work with. ďI need a push,Ē Era says, ďa budget, thatís the perfect label situation. In any dream artist situation, they want the budget to create, and they donít want to do things that they had to do prior to getting signed.Ē

JD Era is Juno-nominated and well known in the Toronto hip-hop music scene, but this co-sign from Rae has only given him problems and more to live up to. We spoke to the veteran rapper about working with Raekwon, his current situation with the label, and how he sees his future going.



Noisey: Whatís the situation with ICEH20? Do they still have a studio in Toronto?
JD Era: They never had a studio here. They have offices in Toronto, but I know they just set up a new studio in New Jersey. Theyíre trying to set up in a new location in Canada because theyíre still pushing the Canada thing, but Iím the only Canadian artist on ICE20. But Iím signed on the Canadian side, itís a different situation. With myself and Raekwon, weíve always had our own situation, because at the end of the day Ė thatís the guy that put on for me. All of the years, no one really came and said "Iím gonna give you a shotĒ before Raekwon. Heís just gotta get his business together.

What do you mean?
It's one thing to be a great rap artist, but itís another to be a great business man. Being associated with Rae is a double-edged sword, because you get some new fans by association, but thereís a level of expectation that comes from those Wu fans supporting you. There was a point where I stopped and looked back on what I did with my Raekwon co-sign, and I wasnít satisfied. I put in a lot of work, and I didnít feel like it hit where it needed to hit. No Handouts did really well it terms of how it was received, but I still think the music could have been spread to a lot more people. My goal on Barz is to sit back and reevaluate this situation, and take certain things back into my own hands.

What kind of things would you like to see Raekwon do for you?
I need a push, a budget. In any dream situation for an artist, they want the budget to create, and they donít want to do things that they had to do prior to getting signed. Just to be able to sustain a certain standard of living and to record. I respect Raeís ear and his vision, I know what his thoughts are about everything, so thatís why I wasn't surprised by those Breakfast Club comments. But I feel like if youíre in a position where you can get your message to people, and Iím your artist, then you should be speaking positively about me in public.

Raekwonís a childhood hero, but there was a moment that happened where it forced me to reevaluate. No Handouts came out and we went on tour. We came back off the tour, which by the way we didnít get paid for, and Iím in Raeís office. Iím like "Yo we gotta print CDs cause we just came off the tour, so letís promote!" Heís like "Iím not printing CDs." Iím like "youíre not printing CDs? This is a record label, how are we gonna give people my music?" Heís just like "Yo you gotta figure that out, Iím not printing CDs.Ē

At the end of the day, people are not gonna make sacrifices for you just because youíre Raekwon.

Do you regret signing to ICEH20?
I donít regret anything, its all a learning process. I believe in persistence. You keep working and you get whatever it is you deserve. Have I received any money since signing? Not at all. In fact, I probably would have made more money staying independent. I regret having to deal with this for so long, but there are positives and negatives to every situation. The passage into the US is priceless. I can go anywhere and just tell them like Iím Raekwonís artist, and in their eyes Iíve passed the rap test because of that co-sign.

So what do you want from a label?
I donít want nothing from Raekwon Ė get me my budget Ė get it right and get the business right. Make sure the kidís good and that business is business. I donít know if Rae's a great business man. My opinion is that he can be a better business man, but I can also be a better rapper. Thereís always room from improvement, you know what I mean. I will say this, the rap game is really 90% business and 10% talent. So if you donít have your business straight, no oneís gonna hear what youíre putting out.

Do you think his time in Wu-Tang helped shade his perspective on business?
Thatís the thing, itís like, he came from a fucked up business history, and heís telling me ďyo Era, I donít want you to deal with the stuff that I dealt with," but when he was coming up, that deal wasn't thorough. But Raeís the type of dude that, depending on how he woke up, youíre going to get whatever heís feeling that day. I got respect for him, thatís big brother at the end of the day, but him being the big brother means we donít see eye to eye all the time.

Do you think his heart is in the right place with ICEH20 and his reason for starting it?
Raekwon legitimately has good intentions for Canada and he legitimately loves Toronto. That was his intention from day one, to put Canada on. He said that in interviews all the time, but Iím the only Canadian signed to the label. Him and Camo didnít see eye to eye, and the Raz Fresco connection didnít go beyond them just speaking. We need more labels in Canada, you've got to do it properly for us to really create something. There has to be more people doing it properly. The idea of a Canadian being signed to a rap label in Canada is a pipe dream.

Canada is very backwards in terms of the hip-hop scene. We donít have enough channels, but if they just allocated a couple more channels, a couple more signals to play the music, thing would change. Right now, itís a numbers game, and if thatís the case, we need more people taking chances. Why is it that we have to leave Canada, get co-signed, and then come back for everyone to love you? We have this weird thing where we wanna judge and critique the music based on everything but what it sounds like. Thatís a problem in Toronto, but really itís a problem everywhere.

Do you know if Raekwon heard you mention his Breakfast Club interview on the song off the Barz mixtape?
He hears everything, Rae listens to all of this fucking shit. It will never been a beef thing with Rae, weíve been through a lot. But Iím going to keep putting him on the spot. Iím going to keep putting him in situations where his people are gonna be like ďwhatís up with Era?" Heís going to keep giving this bullshit story, saying Iím not working. But Iíve been doing my thing for years and years, Iím just going to keep on working. And weíre going do what weíre going to do, how we handle business with no help. Independent. I definitely have to eat, and heís not helping me do that.

What do you want potential fans to know about you, outside of the fact that youíre signed to Raekwon?
I donít even like talking about Raekwon too much, because Iím Era, Iím pretty fucking good too. I just want to get away from it, I want to separated ASAP, because as much as it helped me, it didnít really help me in the long run. Iím one record away if weíre being honest. I've got three new videos you might see next month. I let the music speak and weíll see what the temperatureís like. Weíre not in the business of sugar coating things, thatís not how its supposed to be. Iím always going to be as honest as the time is. Weíll see what comes. Iím open to a lot of different things. Iím still independent at the end of the day man. Everything you seen thus far, JD Era has put a stamp on it. Everything will be right in due time, I just gotta stay consistent and keep working. I gotta get more people on board with my stuff.


Raekwon has a history of cooking up some of the illest verses and projects with and without his Wu brothers. His work over the past 20 years has given him the entitlement to be considered one of hip-hopís best lyricists of all time. He conducts himself with an attitude that matches the American hip-hop dream, moving himself from the ghetto and into million dollar mansions. With his experience and the support of hip-hop heads all over the world, you would think that a co-sign from the Chef would bring in numbers and a platform for your music to hit that same level of support, but for Missisauga-based rapper JD Era, that million-dollar dream has yet to happen.

In 2012 the Chef came to Canada like Columbus came into the Americas. He was welcomed like a king and his presence in Toronto and eye to the Canadian hip-hop music scene was assumed to be promising and in our benefit. However, JD Eraís arguably stalled career has shown us otherwise. Era has been around since before Drake saturated Toronto radio stations and before Raekwonís last seven solo projects were put out. For the time he has spent in the industry and with a co-sign from one of hip-hopís most well-known rappers, his career hasnít reached the amount of people youíd imagine.

JD Era is the only act associated with Raekwonís Canadian division for ICEH20 Records. It's worth noting that although ICEH20 proudly touts the fact that they're a Canadian record label, their output over the past few years has been limited to online-only mixtapes. Their former headquarters in Toronto has recently closed since opening its doors in 2012, leaving many to wonder aloud as to whether of not this entire endeavour was nothing more than a ploy for Raekwon to take advantage of Canada's generous cultural funding programs and associated tax breaks.

Recently, JD Era independently released a 39-minute project called Barz, which showed that Era is still a skilled lyricist with a lot to say. Three minutes in to the project, Era addresses a Breakfast Club interview in which Rae initiated that his Canadian label wasnít progressing because there was no work being put in from the artists. In reply, Eraís states on the song that ďChef and I havenít said six words in six months,Ē exposing the camaraderie that he and Rae feel towards each other.

Era is at a point in his career in which he is trying to hold those in his team accountable for their titles. As a label, ICEH20 should be paving the way and executing the means for Eraís material to hit the same level of fans that the head of the label has access to. As a business man, Raekwon has demonstrated that he needs to put the focus primarily on his artistís development instead of his own. ďItís one thing to be a great rap artists,Ē Era says, ďItís another thing to be a great business man.Ē Although Eraís loyalty and fandom for Raekwon is still very evident, Raeís rapping career and reputation should only make up a fraction of what he can offer new artists. And even after all these years, JD Era is still an up-and-coming artist.

As for not putting in work, it appears Era has been doing quite the opposite, not to mention on his own. He has several videos coming out in the next few months and a project set to come out in the summer with collaborations from different genres and a variety of Canadian artists. Heís expanding and evolving his music into something that combines his history of well-constructed lyrics to experimental sequencing and vocals. However, even with attachment to the label and the platform the co-sign has given him, Era is still in need of the obvious: a budget to work with. ďI need a push,Ē Era says, ďa budget, thatís the perfect label situation. In any dream artist situation, they want the budget to create, and they donít want to do things that they had to do prior to getting signed.Ē

JD Era is Juno-nominated and well known in the Toronto hip-hop music scene, but this co-sign from Rae has only given him problems and more to live up to. We spoke to the veteran rapper about working with Raekwon, his current situation with the label, and how he sees his future going.



Noisey: Whatís the situation with ICEH20? Do they still have a studio in Toronto?
JD Era: They never had a studio here. They have offices in Toronto, but I know they just set up a new studio in New Jersey. Theyíre trying to set up in a new location in Canada because theyíre still pushing the Canada thing, but Iím the only Canadian artist on ICE20. But Iím signed on the Canadian side, itís a different situation. With myself and Raekwon, weíve always had our own situation, because at the end of the day Ė thatís the guy that put on for me. All of the years, no one really came and said "Iím gonna give you a shotĒ before Raekwon. Heís just gotta get his business together.

What do you mean?
It's one thing to be a great rap artist, but itís another to be a great business man. Being associated with Rae is a double-edged sword, because you get some new fans by association, but thereís a level of expectation that comes from those Wu fans supporting you. There was a point where I stopped and looked back on what I did with my Raekwon co-sign, and I wasnít satisfied. I put in a lot of work, and I didnít feel like it hit where it needed to hit. No Handouts did really well it terms of how it was received, but I still think the music could have been spread to a lot more people. My goal on Barz is to sit back and reevaluate this situation, and take certain things back into my own hands.

What kind of things would you like to see Raekwon do for you?
I need a push, a budget. In any dream situation for an artist, they want the budget to create, and they donít want to do things that they had to do prior to getting signed. Just to be able to sustain a certain standard of living and to record. I respect Raeís ear and his vision, I know what his thoughts are about everything, so thatís why I wasn't surprised by those Breakfast Club comments. But I feel like if youíre in a position where you can get your message to people, and Iím your artist, then you should be speaking positively about me in public.

Raekwonís a childhood hero, but there was a moment that happened where it forced me to reevaluate. No Handouts came out and we went on tour. We came back off the tour, which by the way we didnít get paid for, and Iím in Raeís office. Iím like "Yo we gotta print CDs cause we just came off the tour, so letís promote!" Heís like "Iím not printing CDs." Iím like "youíre not printing CDs? This is a record label, how are we gonna give people my music?" Heís just like "Yo you gotta figure that out, Iím not printing CDs.Ē

At the end of the day, people are not gonna make sacrifices for you just because youíre Raekwon.

Do you regret signing to ICEH20?
I donít regret anything, its all a learning process. I believe in persistence. You keep working and you get whatever it is you deserve. Have I received any money since signing? Not at all. In fact, I probably would have made more money staying independent. I regret having to deal with this for so long, but there are positives and negatives to every situation. The passage into the US is priceless. I can go anywhere and just tell them like Iím Raekwonís artist, and in their eyes Iíve passed the rap test because of that co-sign.

So what do you want from a label?
I donít want nothing from Raekwon Ė get me my budget Ė get it right and get the business right. Make sure the kidís good and that business is business. I donít know if Rae's a great business man. My opinion is that he can be a better business man, but I can also be a better rapper. Thereís always room from improvement, you know what I mean. I will say this, the rap game is really 90% business and 10% talent. So if you donít have your business straight, no oneís gonna hear what youíre putting out.

Do you think his time in Wu-Tang helped shade his perspective on business?
Thatís the thing, itís like, he came from a fucked up business history, and heís telling me ďyo Era, I donít want you to deal with the stuff that I dealt with," but when he was coming up, that deal wasn't thorough. But Raeís the type of dude that, depending on how he woke up, youíre going to get whatever heís feeling that day. I got respect for him, thatís big brother at the end of the day, but him being the big brother means we donít see eye to eye all the time.

Do you think his heart is in the right place with ICEH20 and his reason for starting it?
Raekwon legitimately has good intentions for Canada and he legitimately loves Toronto. That was his intention from day one, to put Canada on. He said that in interviews all the time, but Iím the only Canadian signed to the label. Him and Camo didnít see eye to eye, and the Raz Fresco connection didnít go beyond them just speaking. We need more labels in Canada, you've got to do it properly for us to really create something. There has to be more people doing it properly. The idea of a Canadian being signed to a rap label in Canada is a pipe dream.

Canada is very backwards in terms of the hip-hop scene. We donít have enough channels, but if they just allocated a couple more channels, a couple more signals to play the music, thing would change. Right now, itís a numbers game, and if thatís the case, we need more people taking chances. Why is it that we have to leave Canada, get co-signed, and then come back for everyone to love you? We have this weird thing where we wanna judge and critique the music based on everything but what it sounds like. Thatís a problem in Toronto, but really itís a problem everywhere.

Do you know if Raekwon heard you mention his Breakfast Club interview on the song off the Barz mixtape?
He hears everything, Rae listens to all of this fucking shit. It will never been a beef thing with Rae, weíve been through a lot. But Iím going to keep putting him on the spot. Iím going to keep putting him in situations where his people are gonna be like ďwhatís up with Era?" Heís going to keep giving this bullshit story, saying Iím not working. But Iíve been doing my thing for years and years, Iím just going to keep on working. And weíre going do what weíre going to do, how we handle business with no help. Independent. I definitely have to eat, and heís not helping me do that.

What do you want potential fans to know about you, outside of the fact that youíre signed to Raekwon?
I donít even like talking about Raekwon too much, because Iím Era, Iím pretty fucking good too. I just want to get away from it, I want to separated ASAP, because as much as it helped me, it didnít really help me in the long run. Iím one record away if weíre being honest. I've got three new videos you might see next month. I let the music speak and weíll see what the temperatureís like. Weíre not in the business of sugar coating things, thatís not how its supposed to be. Iím always going to be as honest as the time is. Weíll see what comes. Iím open to a lot of different things. Iím still independent at the end of the day man. Everything you seen thus far, JD Era has put a stamp on it. Everything will be right in due time, I just gotta stay consistent and keep working. I gotta get more people on board with my stuff.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
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Yeah saw this coming a mile off. Raekwons a jackass.
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #3
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Rae is not a businessman.
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:35 PM   #4
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And he says Rza has to get his business right???
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
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RZA has been the shepherd of a somewhat awkward flock sheep for 2 decades.
While Raekwon clearly has failed to take notes and has trouble with just one.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:16 PM   #6
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Ha ha, lol.
Rae's too busy eating poutine and Riceroni whilst in Toronto - fatso doesn't have time to think about printing CDs when he has turkey burgers on his mind.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:33 PM   #7
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:48 AM   #8
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I always kinda felt Raes more about the image of being a boss and running a biz.. Like he's living the dream, talks a good game but maybe still has to learn something's. I mean why did CNN leave Icewater too? When Rae signed em up it again seemed a lot about image, Rae all up in their vids n name plastered at the start. Anyway who knows what the real story is. Raes hearts maybe in the right place, but he ain't got the proper know how yet.I wonder what Raes side of the story is on JD Era?
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:06 AM   #9
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The guy is obviously dumb. He should stick to classic emceeing.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:59 PM   #10
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:11 PM   #11
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NOT GOnNA READ

THIS DUDE WAS SUPPOSELY BEEN OUT BUT TRIES TO SOUND LIKE WACK MEEK MILZ

FUCK CANADIAN RAP UNLESS ITS THE GOD DRAKE OR SAUKERTES
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
i’m in rae’s office. I’m like "yo we gotta print cds cause we just came off the tour, so let’s promote!" he’s like "i’m not printing cds." i’m like "you’re not printing cds? This is a record label, how are we gonna give people my music?" he’s just like "yo you gotta figure that out, i’m not printing cds
lmfao
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythrandir View Post
fatso doesn't have time to think about printing CDs when he has turkey burgers on his mind.
lol
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:20 AM   #14
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if the printing cd story is true, that's a shallow move on raes part.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:44 PM   #15
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I don't know why you would open a record label when you are a rapper that is witnessing the entire industry around you collapse including your former label LOUD. I also don't know why you would 'sign' an artist with no unique attributes what so ever that will help him stand out like JD Era. What will make someone pick up his cd as opposed to the other 90,000 black mid twenties males rapping? He's obviously lazy unimaginative and dated if he's looking for someone to 'push him' and a 'budget'.

On his side (JD), he needs to think outside of the box and find a new career. If people don't naturally gravitate towards you and your music, why would they artificially though a 'budget'? Also, the fuck would you sign with Raekwon for? What will he do for you? Get you a discount to wu shows? How can Raekwon give your stupid ass a budget when he's using free beats from youtube to rap? There's nothing special about JD and he should look into something else to do with his time. Stop blaming it on someone else. All of these unimaginative ass rap mother fuckers are obnoxious
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