Jae Millz is that rare artist that stands out above the rest. Repping Harlem, New York in the vein of artists before him that include Doug E. Fresh, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Cam’ron, Mase and the legendary late Big L, Millz, at 22, is destined to be the next great lyricist for an entirely new generation of fans. His status as underground legend secure, Millz is now set to make his major label debut with the heavily anticipated Universal Records release, Back to tha Future, this summer.
The album’s title signifies not only a powerful voice emerging within the Hip Hop landscape, but a one-man movement that underlines Jae Millz’ no-nonsense approach to writing. “I named it Back to tha Future because I felt Hip Hop was missing Hip Hop,” Jae says. “I’m going to take it back when the game was about Hip Hopâ¦when it was about lyrics.”
Born in New York’s Washington Heights, Jae recalls his earliest memories of music through his family’s diverse record collection that included musical giants Barry White, Al Green and Prince, among others. It was in 1997 while attending New York’s High School of Art and Design that Jae Millz honed his lyrical abilities in the lunchroom, battling all comers. After taking his verbal ferocity to the legendary streets of Harlem, the 15-year-old emcee was noticed by Tupac Shakur’s wife (at the time), Keisha Morris, who introduced him to the well-connected forces behind Wanna Blow Entertainment. After that pivotal turning point in his career, Jae was soaking up game from some of rap’s biggest talents including P. Diddy, Lil Kim, Mysonne, and Mase, whom he credits with making an indelible impression on him.
After dropping exclusive freestyles and songs for New York mixtape moguls DJ Kay Slay and DJ Enuff, Jae Millz became an icon in the streets, with his industry buzz growing rapidly. P. Diddy enlisted Jae to appear on 2003’s popular MTV reality series Making The Band for a freestyle battle with Ness. Jae was dominating the mixtape and underground battle rhyme scene, and by late 2004 he was riding high with a new deal at Warner Bros. and the thumping single “No, No, No.” Following the release of the single, fans waited anxiously for the album to drop, but it never happened, and he parted ways with the label.
Within two weeks of leaving Warner Bros., Jae signed a recording deal with Universal Records. “My style is the same as the label I’m on — Universal. I could rap anywhere,” Jae explains. “I have down South music, music for the ladies, music for people struggling, music for true Hip Hop lovers. In all honesty, I’m a rapper’s rapper, and I make music for everybody, because at the end of the day I’m human. I go through the same things that everybody else goes through.”
Back to tha Future boasts guest appearances from T.I., Slim Thug, and others. Masterful production from prolific street-anthem creators includes Swizz Beatz, Cool & Dre, Omen, DJ Khaled, Ron Brownz, and more. Jae’s creative expression grows with each new studio session, the tremendous diversity of tracks reflecting his growth as a writer and visionary student of hip hop. Kicking things off – his raw, true-to-the-streets flow shines on “Who,” a single produced by Ron Brownz, who was also responsible for Nas’ hit “Ether.”
While Jae Millz represents the uptown hoods of New York on the crown-produced anthem “212,” he takes on a more universal theme with “Cold World,” a track produced by the underground beat phenom Emile, and a song that reaches deep into his poetic arsenal. Jae brings forth one for the ladies with “That Woman” which features songstress Denim. “I know everybody is expecting me to come with the average ‘Oh baby I love you track,’ but instead I’m sending some respect in every woman’s direction. Whether it be old or young, wives, baby mothers, daughters, sisters â whatever case may be, I’m just pointing out the fact that we should all show a little respect to that woman. It’s only right.”
Jae Millz’ current single “I Like That (Stop),” was spawned by the Miami production team of Cool & Dre. “This is a straight club banger — it’s simple and to the point.” Another Miami icon, DJ Khaled, laced a thrashing bass line for “Live From Jerusalem,” a fierce lyrical display that Jae describes as “opening the door of a lion’s cage.”
Getting even more intense, Jae shares his innermost thoughts on “Feel At The Moment,” which he cites as his favorite track on the album. “I don’t usually talk about my personal life too much, but this is one of those songs where I just let everything out. From family problems, to daily life problems, to relationship issues — I even address a couple issues with my father. To me this is the realest, most vivid track on the album.”
“Making an album is comfortable — it’s like your diary,” he continues. “As much as people want to hear you floss and front, they want to know about what you go through and know that you’re human too. I try to put a lot of reality into my songs, and with this album, I want people to understand that I can spit, and I do the battles and freestyle- have fun, but I take my music very seriously.”
And with his emphasis on lyrics and substance, Jae definitely plans on taking Hip Hop “back to tha future.”