Written By: UPCOMING 100 STAFF
For long time Hip Hop artist JHUSTLES, it was the joy of his life to get to work on his new album “Molly Rock” with his son who goes by the stage name drug$onwar. Featured on four of the album’s eight songs, this up-and-coming young artist is following in his father’s footsteps in big ways and lends an energy to the album in ways that JHUSTLES said makes it one of his best pieces of work to date.
Born and raised in LA, JHUSTLES was knee-deep in gangs, graffiti and the drug culture before he was even a teenager but even through all of that, his first love was music. He came from a long line of successful musicians – with a father who was a talented musician and a stepfather who was a member of notorious groups like the Italian Rock band PFM and the Saturday Night Live band. His mother was a celebrity hairdresser and worked with some of the biggest names in Rock including The Babies, Aerosmith and The Ramones. The combination of raw natural talent and rubbing shoulders with music’s biggest legends paid off and by a young age, JHUSTLES was using music to get himself off the streets.
It wasn’t long before he had made a name for himself on the West Coast. He became a Sway In The Morning “Get in the Game” artist on Eminem’s SHADE45 Radio and collaborated with many of Hip Hop’s best rappers, including Hot Dollar, JBO from the YoungbloodZ, FatLip from The Pharcyde and producers Stefon “Bionik” Taylor, Jason “Jplot” Plotkin, and Focus which is from Aftermath Records. His career was taking off, but then he had his son and committed to raising his boy as a single father. He backed off from the grind of making music daily and instead worked on his sound and style when he had the time to do so. He turned to Hollywood to make money and found a niche making songs for TV shows and film. In recent years, as his son grew into his teenage years, JHUSTLES found more time and a renewed energy for making his own music, and “Molly Rock” is his announcement to the world that he’s back.
“One major difference from my past work is that I was in a similar head space for all of these songs because it came together so quickly,” JHUSTLES said. “I did the album in a couple of weeks leading up to the full quarantine shutdown. I knew it was coming and needed to get in the studio and do an album real quick. We wrote, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered it all under the premise that no one would be able to leave their house for the next five months. And as such, it touches on a lot of different things – from the state of affairs politically to break-up songs to socially conscious songs and everything in between. There’s a lot on this album because I wanted to take people on a few different directions.”
The best part of making that album, JHUSTLES said, was his collaboration with his son. As a tall 6-foot-3 basketball player, his son has always shown an interest in sports. But he’s also been with his father in the recording studio since he was a baby and much like his father, he rubbed shoulders with a lot of big names in the industry, learning how to make music along the way. So when he approached his father about collaborating on a project, it was a shock.
“Working with my son is probably the coolest thing ever,” JHUSTLES said. “He’s been in the studio with me since he was a baby – in fact, he was on the cover of my first album. And he’s an encyclopedia of music and Hip Hop. When he came to me and presented me with songs he wrote, I was blown away. He’s gonna be way better than me. Being able to introduce him to the world on this project is probably the best thing I could ever imagine happening. This is my third official album and it’s definitely my best album, and a big part of that is because he’s on it. It’s a whole new light he brings to it.”
JHUSTLES’s new album isn’t the only exciting release about to come out. He was also fortunate enough to be hired by filmmaker Geo Santini to do the original music for the new film “LIKE: The Miseducation of Lil Tito” which is slated to premier on Sept. 16 at the HBO New York Latino Festival. JHUSTLES wrote seven original songs for the film, and can be heard performing songs for the main character of the film.
To listen to JHUSTLES’s music or to follow him on social media, please visit:
OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR LIKE “The Miseducation of Lil Tito”