On The Rise: J Nolan Taking Hip Hop Back To The Essence Bringing Fresh Energy

by Raheem Karim
J Nolan
J Nolan

Credit Instagram

Rapper J Nolan Bringing Fresh Energy

J Nolan is taking the hip hop world by storm with flame thrower bars. In this generation of turn key rappers J Nolan is taking hip hop back to the essence. The 30 year old hip hop artist, songwriter, and entrepreneur based in Atlanta, GA dropped his dropped his debut album Broken Dreams in 2010, but its his 2018 album album Rise of ATLantis he receiving critical acclaim for. J Nolan has landed song placements in multiple TV shows including Step Up: High Water, ABC Network’s “The Rookie,” You Me Her, and Noir Caesar’s anime pilot for the manga series XOgenaSYS.  The Atlanta emcee has continued to press forward this year, killer freestyles, with potent political messages and everyday musings on life as black, creative, and aware. Music Life Social had a opportunity to do a Q&A interview with the emcee. Learn more about him and listen to his latest album Rise of ATLantis. He shared some very interesting perspectives about the music game and his style. Be on the lookout for J Nolan in 2020.

Where are your from
I’m from Atlanta, but I was born in New Haven, CT where I lived for the first few years of my life. I also spent some of my childhood in San Jose, CA which is where I started school as a kid.

Describe your musical style?
I describe my style as Progressive Hip-Hop. That’s pretty much a mix of traditional boom bap Hip-Hop mixed with Jazz & Soul, merged with some of the contemporary sounds of today. I just try to talk about what’s real to me and a lot of times that ends up being personal stories, social commentary, and showing the world that I’m one of the best rappers that they haven’t heard of yet.

Who are your music influences and what hip-hop albums did they grow up listening to?
My influences have a pretty wide range if I go into deep specifics, but to name a few; 2Pac, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, OutKast, Common, The Roots, Goodie Mob, and so many more. The albums that really shaped my outlook on music are Lupe Fiasco’s “Food & Liquor,” Kanye West’s “College Dropout,” Nas’ “illmatic,” and 2Pac’s “Me Against The World.” I used to literally sell CD’s and mixtapes throughout my high school years so I was surrounded by so much music at all times that I’d write a full magazine if I were to name everything that really gave me a sense of direction.

What is hip hop music and culture to you?
To me, Hip-Hop is a bit deeper than music and what we would even call the culture. It’s so ingrained into our daily life that we don’t even choose to be a part of it anymore, it’s been passed down through generations of people that laid the groundwork. When I look around today, I feel like Hip-Hop is evolving into its own ecosystem.

So, what are your thoughts on the current state of the game?
It’s honestly a free-for-all. I’ve been around long enough to see when everything was physical releases and got taken over by iTunes, the big blog era from 2006 up to around 2013, up to the streaming services having everything hemmed up today. I feel like artists in 2019 going into 2020 are simply small businesses and we have to act accordingly. And that’s primarily why I do so much regarding the music business itself – whether it’s writing songs for TV/film projects, writing for other upcoming acts, commissioned work for small companies, etc. and even having my Songwriter’s Social Club events helping artists learn more about how they can create various revenue streams with their music.


How has your music evolved since you first began?
Honestly, I’ve just learned more about actually making songs. When I was coming into music, we had a lot of mixtape artists that were great at making 2 minute freestyles and ended up with major label deals or at least became well known at that time. So that’s what I was doing for a long time until I noticed I couldn’t really get that type of material played anywhere. Over the years, I’ve learned how to use my voice for melodies, perfected just about every style of flow, and I care more about making records that can play years down the line and still be relevant to whatever’s going on.

What would be their dream collaboration with any rapper or producer?
I can’t really say I have a dream collaboration today just because I’ve been involved with so much in my time. Of course getting on a song with top tier artists like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole stand out and there’s a lot of other people that I enjoy, but I’m really just concerned with carving my own lane out and working with like minded people that are just as serious about their art. The names aren’t as important to me. Far as who I’m listening to the most though, I’d easily have to say Saba. Out of the new generation of artists that are out, he’s definitely the most consistent out of everyone.