Soup J5 came up and found fame as part of the iconic, gold-selling Hip-Hop group Jurassic 5. With over 25 years in the music industry, Soup has received gold records for his work on Wu-Tang’s debut album, Enter The Wu: 36 Chambers, and Mobb Deep’s sophomore album, The Infamous. Soup was also responsible for Jurassic 5’s first demo deal with Relativity Records.
He is now taking that experience and wordplay and beginning to release music on a solo level too. His first offering is a blend of the Hip Hop and swagger that made Jurassic 5 a success, he also incorporates a touch of Soul and classic R&B as he builds on his already famous delivery. Mark Millar recently caught up with Soup to find out more.
XS: Hi Soup how are you?
Soup: Very good.
XS: Where are you now?
Soup: Los Angeles, California and it is so hot here right now.
XS: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Soup: In the beginning, it was Al Green, Otis Redding, James Brown. They were the three I constantly played growing up, then also Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles and I can’t forget Fats Domino. They were my early influences as far as music. By the time I started getting into hip-hop – Run DMC really stood out for me back then. They were my influences, there is a lot more but right off the bat, those guys come to mind automatically.
XS: From listening to those guys is that what inspired you to decide to get into music?
Soup: No, originally I wanted to act and be an actor, that’s what I originally wanted to do. My uncle kind of got the ball started with me doing music because he wanted me to be a part of this yearly thing he used to do called Rap For Peace. He got me involved in that which kind of sparked it. From there that’s when I would love Run DMC and all the other ones. I would try and emulate them.
XS: You found fame as part of the iconic, gold-selling Hip-Hop group Jurassic 5. Looking back on those years what was your highlights?
Soup: Yeah, there is a few, actually getting a record deal and knowing that I am going to be immortalized on record, that was a big deal. Another time was when we sold out Brixton Academy 2 nights in a row. That was a big thing because it was 5000 people coming to see us 2 nights in a row. Also being able to meet some of the people whose music I have admired and then getting a gold record with the Jurassic 5 EP. Those moments stand out for me.
XS: You released your debut EP, Still ‘In Fullee Love’ in February this year. Why did it take you so long to put out a solo record?
Soup: Just being scared, I was sitting around over thinking that what I wanted to do people wouldn’t necessarily like. So I was in my own head at that time and the minute I got out of my head I started saying to myself – “I don’t give a damn what people think.” That’s when Fullee Love came to pass and also I didn’t have a group. When I got into the game I was with a group so there is a comfortability when you are dealing with something for so long. For me I was kind of like – “man can I really do this by myself?” I wondered if I could really get on stage and do things and come up with ideas, choruses, and hooks by myself, and I found out I could. I kind of regret taking so long but things happen for the reason they happen for.
XS: Are you comfortable now as a solo artist?
Soup: I love it! I love it! I love it!
XS: Why did you decide to put out an EP rather than an album was it because you weren’t too confident and wanted to test the water with an EP?
Soup: Well, my confidence wasn’t at an all-time high but it was enough where I would put my best effort forward. But the thing is because it took so long I just didn’t want to come out of the box and have 17 songs and for people to wonder what I was about. People knew I was with Jurassic 5 but they don’t know what I do by myself so I needed to give a teaser of what I can do by myself. That’s why you got the EP.
XS: You do a lot more singing on the record.
Soup: Yes exactly, I used to sing a whole lot better back then. I didn’t want to come out with an album that’s just all singing and then people would be like “yo man whats going on? ”, so I have to spoon feed a little bit.
XS: You recently released your single All Around The World. It’s a great track can you tell me a bit about it?
Soup: Thank you. I am being totally honest, I had you guys in the UK in mind when I did it. When I heard the music I immediately thought of you guys over there because of the changes and when the chorus came in I thought it had a UK vibe to it but I still had to make it part of me but at the same time hopefully it reached out and you guys over there can relate to it and it was decent enough for you to enjoy it.
XS: Where do you look for inspiration for your songs?
Soup: It depends I don’t have one source, it could just be the music itself or it could be an idea somebody or I might have thought of and I would build on that or sometimes I might be listening to another artist and get inspired.
XS: I hear you are going to follow up the EP with a new album, ‘Free, White & 21’ set to release in Autumn, will you be touring the album?
Soup: I definitely want it to have an autumn release or if not I would like it to come out sometime this year. It’s finished, it’s done, and it’s totally different from the EP. I’m excited, I really want it to come out and get a wider view from the public so hopefully, that can happen.
XS: Are the EP and the album from the same sessions and different producers?
Soup: No, it’s the same guy who did my EP. We work really well together and I like his vibe, It’s just me and him. He has a lot of really great ideas and he is a real musical cat. He’s a talented guy I really like him.
XS: Have you been playing any shows?
Soup: No, I haven’t really had the opportunity to go out and perform which I’m looking forward to doing. I can’t wait for that and that’s another road that is nervous about and I want to see myself overcome and get it done. I’m excited about it.
XS: Do you have a record that you always return to?
Soup: It would be anything to do with Otis Redding. I always listen to him. Just One More Day by Otis Redding is a really dope song and he has an album called Love Man that I really like, I always go back to that. In hip-hop, I listen to the Fat Boy’s first album cos I thought it was really dope. When I started making my album I actually went back to certain records that were classic records that were good from start to finish, so I listened to the Fat Boys first record, Brand Nubian’s first record, Wu-Tangs first record but then also I listened to Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book, so there is a variety of stuff.
XS: Will you be playing with Jurassic 5 anytime soon?
Soup: Yes, we just came back from a west coast run that we did and we are talking about sitting down and doing some new stuff. I’m looking forward to that.
2017 is set to be a seminal year for Soup as he prepares to follow up the EP with a new album, Free, White & 21 set to release in Autumn, which will be supported with worldwide touring.