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Spotlight on a rising star
He's shared the stage with some of the biggest names in hip hop like Ludacris, the Game and Busta Rhyme, but there is more to this rising Canadian hip hop star than meets the eye.
J-Bru spends a lot of time on the road as part of fellow Halifax rhymer Classified's crew, but he came to hip hop late in life after his former career path took a turn.
"I got injured really bad," said J-Bru before he took the stage last week at Spiritbar.
During university he was playing college and semi-pro basketball, but an injury sent him back home.
"I moved back to Halifax from Boston," he said. "I had one year off and I couldn't play, so I called up Classified and recorded my first album, and it went from there."
J-Bru released his first album in 2001, a few years after he started rhyming and with artists like Classified and Buck 65 have put the Maritimes on the map for budding hip hop acts.
"It's actually a really good scene," said J-Bru. "It goes in lows and it goes in peaks, but even before Class started to blow up there were guys like Buck 65 and some groups that were coming up like MC J and Cool G, who were from when I was a little child. "
Unlike the majority of hip hop acts, J-Bru draws inspiration for his rhymes from everyday life.
"Everything I do is just real life, like in '98 my best friend killed himself and that's one song I find a lot of people it hits them," he said.
Coming to hip hop in his 20s meant that he wasn't as susceptible to the pressures of the industry, but when he feels like quitting it's the fans that find inspiration in his music that keeps him going.
"I don't know what I would do if I quit," he said. "I'd probably go back to writing. I went to school for that. Majored in English and took some journalism. I still do freelance writing when I'm on the road. I write for some college football webpages, mostly sports, but I've also done entertainment. I think that would be my number one goal to be in the writing industry for sure."
This story originally appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of [vurb].