In a time before blogging was my extracurricular activity of choice, I used to draw like a fiend. On break at work. Zipping around on buses between home, school and work. I’d fall asleep with pens and markers in hand as I tried to draw just a little more (my Mom has the ink-stained sheets to prove it!)
It was in one of these scribbling sessions where I first crossed paths with Junia-T.
Hailing from Sauga’s southwest, Junia’s been in the rap game since before most people knew what Internet radio was. Back in 2003, after we met and exchanged info while riding the city’s notoriously unreliable Mississauga Transit #26, you’d find me with Junia and his 3-5 Playa crew in their basement sessions while sketching out the cover work for Up to Par… Da Mixtape.
Over a decade later, and the Sauga City cat’s still at it, as one of the artists performing at the free upcoming The We & We Free concert on Friday, May 9th at the Izakaya Sushi House!
With Facebook keeping us linked after all these years, Junia and I recently connected to talk The We & We Free, where the music’s taking him, and what he hopes to see from the world around him in the future!
Casey E. Palmer: It’s been a while since we last crossed paths! Tell the world a little about yourself!
Junia-T: It has been a minute brother. Well I’m an emcee/producer from Sauga having fun with music. I’m a simple person. My life mainly consists of music and family. That’s it.
CEP: Anyone who’s known you for even a minute knows that music flows deep through your soul. When did you first get into rap? What drew you to it?
JT: It really started when I was 10. My older cousin Sheldon was a beatboxer at the time and needed an emcee. I started with freestyling, and haven’t stopped since. My father is a musician and many generations before me. I guess I’m just following tradition.
CEP: And not content as just a rapper, I know you’ve made the gradual transition to Junia-T the rapper-producer, with more control over your artistry as a complete package, and not the lyrics alone. Tell us about the process!
JT: It’s a real spiritual process to be real. It all starts with “the feel”. I could be digging through samples or cycling through drums. I just start where my feelings take me. Sometimes a phrase I might hear someone say could be the beginnings of a song. I just leave it to the universe and let the pen do the rest.
CEP: The The We & We Free’s coming up in short order with a host of artists from the GTA showin’ and provin’ on stage. What’s the show all about and why should people come out to represent?
JT: This show is a dope alternative to those who wanna enjoy Canadian Music Week without paying too much. It’s a FREE SHOW!! We’ve also got a dope line of hella talented artists. We’ve got Moruf (New Jersey), Little Simz (UK), Spekwon, Wolf J McFarlane. Gonna be dope. Myself and Lord Quest will also be debuting our Producer duo “Chef’s Plate” that night. Dont wanna miss history being made lol.
CEP: And finally, where’s the music taking you? You’ve been in it for this long already – what’s the future look like and what are you hoping for in your future?
JT: I’m hoping people will relate to my music and continue to support that honest music. I’d like to work with a lot of the OGs I grew up listening more than the monetary success most artists seek. Don’t get me wrong, I wanna be able to provide for my family comfortably. Mainly tho, wanna create with my favourite musicians.
If you need a little sampler of what Junia has to offer, he just released his new self-produced track “Too Smoove”, which is in danger of hitting the coveted 1000-play club on my iTunes playlist!
So if your calendar’s clear on Friday, May 9th, I strongly recommend checking The We & We Free – all it takes is a canned good for your fill of some dope music and an experience that’ll start your weekend off right.
Keep on keepin’ on,
The We & We Free is happening on Friday, May 9th at the Izakaya Sushi House on 294 College St., Toronto, ON. You can find Junia-T all over the Internet on his website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and SoundCloud!