Truly, when it comes to the art of Hip-Hop Poetry, J. Ivy is the 1st of his kind. He is a pioneer, a trendsetter, one who has knocked down impossible doors, taking the Art of Poetry directly to today’s mainstream music & television arenas. His motivational motto, “Dreams Don’t Come True, They Are True” has guided him from his native home Chicago to becoming a Grammy Award Winning Artist.
J. Ivy has shown the world the undeniable power that rests in his words by recording some of Hip-Hop’s most memorable poetic verses in songs with artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, RZA, Gwendolyn Brooks, The Roots, Dave Chappelle, Common and Kid Cudi, just to name a few.
We took the time to ask J. Ivy about his fans, his pre-show rituals, his dream gig and more! Check out the interview below!
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you or at your show?
“The strangest thing…ha! Well, besides panties being thrown on the stage at me last night at Club Downunder (not that I consider that ‘strange’) and seeing my poetry tattooed on people’s arms, which I was humbled by, I would have to say the strangest thing belongs to this girl in Tennessee. You see I had a show at North Carolina Central University in Durham and this young lady drove 8 hours from Nashville to see me. The students warned me about her when I got to the school, but ironically, I was the one who opened the door to let her in. That’s when she gave me a gift bag full of trinkets and a book of poems that she had written about me. Nice gesture, but the poetry was “out there.” To say the least, after she was kicked out and denied information to where I was staying, I got the hell out of dodge.”
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist so far?
“One of the funniest moments happened to me out in New York. I’d just left a club with a couple of friends and while one of my buddies was getting hot dogs, my other guy said “Hey that guy that just walked passed looks like Dave Chappelle.” I screamed out “Dave, Dave.” I figured if it was him, he would turn around, if not, oh well. To my surprise it really was Dave Chappelle so I walked up to him and said, “What’s up Bruh! My name is J. Ivy. I performed on Def Poetry with you.” Dave said, “Yeah I remember youyou we’re my favorite poet.” Naturally I thought he was lying, but then he said in his classic Chappelle voice, “Yeah you did that poem ‘I Need to Write, I Need to Write!’” Surprised as hell, I said, “Yeah that was me!” To hear Dave Chappelle’s interpretation of my poetry was CLASSIC!”
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
“Before shows I like to relax and find that quiet space in my mind, I meditate. I pray. I go over poems. I imagine how I want to see my performance go.”
If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
How do you connect with a crowd?
“I connect with the crowd by having a conversation. I want to talk to you. I want the crowd to know that they are a part of the experience.”
What is your dream gig?
“I LOVE performing for the kids. I’ve always wanted to inspire them and encourage them to live out their dreams. One of my dream gigs would be to perform in a stadium full of young future leaders that would use my words to help change the world. Also I’ve always wanted to perform at the Olympics, the SuperBowl, the X-Games, and for the President. But the ultimate “dream” gig would be me performing for all my favorites; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron, J Dilla, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Langston Hughes, Harriet Tubman, Shakespeare, Tupac, Billie Holiday and of course Jesus!”
What is the best way to write music?
“The best way to write music is to be FREE. No apprehensions. No fear. No interruptions. The best way is to let it flow like the breath in your lungs. Let go and Let GOD…”
Make sure to check out J. Ivy performing at Smith’s Olde Bar Wednesday, April 3rd with Tarrey Torae!