Interview With J.Dash – This Hip Hop Tech Geek Will Teach You To WOP
If you know the name J.Dash, then you know what I mean when I say that it’s time to WOP. I admit, I never would have considered interviewing J.Dash for MakeUseOf – I mean, we’re not exactly an entertainment blog. We’re into interesting web apps, cool games and that kind of stuff. A few of us love hip-hop and rap , but we just don’t focus on that here.
On the other hand, Aibek received an interesting press release from J.Dash’s publicist, informing us that J.Dash is actually a self-described “tech geek” and “hacker”. That doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of a popular hip-hop artist that just landed a huge dance craze, getting popular celebrities to do the WOP (yes, that’s exactly what Miley Cyrus did).
Curious about someone cool enough to break out of such stereotypes, I had to jump on this interview opportunity and see if it was just a marketing gimmick, or whether J.Dash could really tech talk with us. We made the arrangements for J.Dash to respond to my questions, and as I put my thoughts down on paper, I took some time to listen to WOP on YouTube. Let me just say, for the next three days, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. If you don’t know already, WOP stands for “With Out Prejudice”.
I made a little bit of money (I made a little bit of money)
I paid my bills (I paid my bills)
I paid this cover (I paid this cover)
I wont stand still (I wont stand still)
Let me see you
Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop
Now let me see you
Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop, Wop……
Chatting With J.Dash
You can find J.Dash listed as an artist on sites like MTV and Billboard.com. On his website, he’s described as a piano prodigy since the age of 5, and a rapper since his teens. What is most thrilling about his background is that aside from his hip hop prowess and his classical musical training, he also holds a computer science degree from the University of Florida.
That’s right, he doesn’t just claim to be a geek, he’s got the creds to back it up. I had to get to know this guy, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know him too.
MUO: Can you share at what point in your life that you were inspired to get into hip-hop?
J.Dash: I was inspired to make hip hop music when I was around 14. I heard Timbaland’s “Up Jumps Da Boogie” and was hooked to the rhythm and dominating form of expression. This was even before I had a real interest in computers or technology.
MUO: How much has technology inspired your music and music production?
J.Dash: I’m heavily involved in the production and engineering of most of my music, so I would say technology plays a large part. Music has most recently started moving in a more authentic direction (which I love), so I am excited to add a lot of live instrumentation into my music. It feels like when I first started again. Life really inspires my lyrics, but my love for technology drives a lot of the production.
MUO: Can you share some of the applications and technology you use in your music production?
J.Dash: I started out with Fruity Loops and a couple of keyboards. Now I use Logic Pro with my Akai MPC Renaissance, Yamaha Motif XF8, Native Instruments plugins, Waves bundles and anything else I can get my hands on.
Having Some Fun
MUO: Okay — Here’s one that’ll create a firestorm: Are you a Mac or a PC guy? Even better – Android or iPhone??
J.Dash: Here, I’ll help you start a bigger firestorm. I use Mac and PC for several reasons, but I prefer Linux distributions (let slip the dogs of war). I am a computer engineer so I customize all of them to fit my needs, but I’m more comfortable with Linux and Mac command lines. PCs tend to be a bit…ummm, how do you say…crap at times. I love my iPhone. I develop apps for both iPhone and Android, but Mac stuff is way more fun to work with.
MUO: How much does your knowledge of tech play into promotions – do you handle YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook yourself?
J.Dash: It definitely helps. I try to combine them as much as I can, but it’s hard to keep up. Seems like there’s a new social network every week. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr @therealjdash.
MUO: I’m sure there are tech geeks at MUO into dropping beats for singing or rapping – are there any desktop or mobile apps you suggest?
J.Dash: If you’re getting started then Garageband or Fruity Loops (for you PC users) will do just fine. Logic Pro and Pro Tools HD are my go-to’s for professional recording software. Some fun Mobile Apps to play around with are T-Pain’s autotune app, and anything made by Propellerhead. I don’t use these professionally, but these are awesome ways to waste time.
MUO: Are you working on any cool computer projects you’d like to share?
J.Dash: I have developed a few new iPhone apps, but usually these are just to make myself lazier. Anything I do more than 3 times I try to automate. Other than that, I’m extremely focused on my music right now. I also have the opportunity to compose a piece for a 60-piece orchestra centered around me on the piano. Finally, an opportunity to show the world how my mind really works…
MUO: Thanks J.Dash! By the way – I was listening to WOP while coming up with most of these questions. Man, I can’t get it out of my head now…
J.Dash: CAUTION! Doing the WOP repeatedly may cause extreme awesomeness. Perform at your own risk.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that you can make use of your own geekiness to make what you do even better – even hip-hop. Don’t forget to check out “WOP” on YouTube if you haven’t already. It features both J.Dash and Flo Rida, and a whole lot of people doing the WOP. The video has been featured on BET, MTV, Sirius Radio , and more. Once you get hooked on it, you can even download the song or the ringtone right on iTunes. While you’re at it, you can pick up his latest album “Tabloid Truth” at iTunes as well.
A huge thanks to J.Dash for taking the time to chat with us and sharing some pro tips on using technology in the creation of music.
Images Provided by J. Dash