PHOTO CREDITS: Teresa Felzer, Ian Phares, Jerry Hoo.
THE INTERVIEW (Present were JJ Hudson, Nasty-Nes, DJ 3rd Degree, GrandMixer GMS)
- Great to have you on Pump it up Magazine. Please, introduce yourself?
We are The High Children, an open source Seattle-based hip hop band made up of Jayson Ramos, Jamal Allen, Nasty-Nes, Robbie Rob, JJ Hudson aka Jmojii, Peter Morada, DJ 3rd Degree, and the newest addition is GrandMixer GMS.
- How did you get started in the music business?
Jmojii has been performing since the age of 4. She started with her love for all genres of dance including classical piano and invented her own style of 88 key runs. Nes started in radio at 18 on Seattle’s 1250 KFOX and debuted the West Coast’s first all rap radio show called “Freshtrack” in 1980. 3rd Degree began deejaying at 12 and did parties, dances, etc.; at 18 he worked at Tower Records which got his foot in the door. GMS began as a breakdancer at 11, he’s self-taught, and began mixing on the radio in Spokane at 14. The High Children formed in the early 2000’s, originally with Jayson, and then gradually expanded to include Jamal, Robbie Rob, Peter, and everyone else as time went by.
- Tell us what’s the story behind it!
JJ is a domestic violence survivor and was modeling at a runway show. The High Children were to perform while she walked the catwalk. Right before the guests showed up, she noticed a grand piano. Whenever there is a piano she HAS to play! Jamal saw her, they talked, she began modeling for THC and going to the studio to learn and eventually recorded her first solo track, “Banger Banger.” Nes introduced Seattle to Hip Hop music in 1980 and in 1983, to Sir Mix-A-Lot! 3rd Degree grew up as a DJ and breakdancer, was a buyer at Tower Records, did college radio and was in a few bands. He connected with many people over the years until meeting Nes, who was the biggest positive music connection. GMS taught himself how to mix to help his breakdancing battles for him and his cousin, Tony. When breakdancing died out in Spokane in the 80’s, GMS transitioned to DJ’ing as a way to stay in Hip-Hop.
- What makes your productions unique? And how would you describe it? (genres/sub-genres)?
JJ is a little old school with a new style and a unique tone to her rap style. Nes & GMS’s mixing style is unique – not your basic mixing one song into another song but several songs using different beats and vocal effects similar to a remix and a lot like a mash up, something they were doing back in the 80’s. GMS has stayed up-to-date with his scratching, but he doesn’t overdo it and he mixes music from any genre. 3rd Degree also mixes different genres and his uniqueness comes from his ability to sing, rap and dance, and his rhyme-style has an updated old-school feel. The group overall has a unique melodic singing/rap style with catchy hooks, and a fusion of multiple genres, from old school Hip-Hop, to EDM, R&B, Rock, Pop, and anything else that can be found. Our live, on-stage rap performances feature actual playing of Akai MPC’s, EMU SP1200’s, and using turntables as instruments.
- Who are your biggest musical influences? And any particular artist/band you would like to collaborate with in the future?
JJ grew up listening to a lot of 90’s music. Her biggest influences: 2Pac, Biggy, Jay-Z, TLC, Drake. Locally, she would like to collaborate with Jordy Sams from Seattle or Cordell Drake from Spokane. Internationally, she is open to collaborating with anyone unique and creative. Nes’ influences are The Osmond Brothers, David Cassidy, Spinners, Stylistics, Carpenters, Beatles, Sir Mix-A-Lot and NWA, and in life, Bruce Lee. 3rd Degree’s influences are Run DMC, Eric B & Rakim, KRS One and BDP, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Rage Against The Machine, Linkin Park, Marvin Gaye, and Duran Duran and would like to work with 9th Wonder and Masta Ace. GMS’s influences are Nasty-Nes, the late Cameron Paul, the KDAY Mixmasters, The Latin Rascals, Alex Mejia, Prince Ice, Bob Rosenberg and every song that he grew up listening to. Robbie Rob is from Minneapolis and was influenced by a lot of the greats from there: Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and the Time, and so many others too lengthy to list. Like JJ said, we are open to working with anyone original and creative.
- Which is the best moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of? (awards, projects or public performances etc)
JJ has only been in the music business for three years but her proudest moments are every moment in her career. Her favorite part is performing and seeing her fans in the crowd vibing out with her to her songs! Nes’ awards are the gold and platinum plaques from Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Sir Mix-A-Lot, De La Soul, Lauryn Hill, Chic, NWA & Eazy E, to name a few. 3rd Degree’s best moments are his appearance on the “Sway In The Morning” show along with Nasty Nes, The High Children, and Kritta. Second would be his time in Super Dank Brothers performing at the iconic venues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA. For GMS, it’s being the first DJ in Spokane to mix for commercial radio with TJ Collins on Power 104 and being the first Spokane DJ to showcase his turntable skills on “Sway In The Morning”; winning the 1993 Inland Northwest Battle of The DJ’s; working with his influence, Nasty-Nes; his mixes and syndicated radio mixshow, “Global Frequency,” going #1 on multiple Global Mixcloud charts; and working with West Coast pioneer, Tairrie B. Of course, we are all proud of JJ’s song, “J,” going #1 on RapAttackLives College Rap Radio Chart, and The High Children’s song, “Masarap,” going #1 on The Urban Influencer & Radio Airplay Experts’ TOP 30 RAP RADIO CHART!
- What advice would you give to aspiring djs, musicians?
Have confidence, stay consistent, patient, focused, humble. Find a mentor in your field. Intern. Live, eat, and breath your craft and work hard for your goals – even for free in the beginning. Develop a good network of like-minded people, don’t be afraid to ask for help, ideas, feedback, and be willing to do the same. Treat everyone with respect, whether it’s a secretary, intern, janitor, whoever, because everyone starts somewhere – even P. Diddy was an intern – and they will always remember if you were rude to them or their friend, who may have been the janitor. Tune out the negativity – only using it for motivation – and focus on moving forward, one step at a time. Set goals, write them down and follow through! Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint!
- If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
JJ: “live in the moment because tomorrow is not promised and just enjoy life!” Nes: “don’t do drugs or smoke cigarettes.” 3rd Degree: “Thank you so very much for the love and support. I make music in hopes it will help move someone to a positive place.” GMS: “Appreciate the little things and make the most of each moment in life because we only live once, do what makes you happy and each day strive to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday!”
- What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects or tours?
Nes is going to become the biggest Filipino TV or movie star in the United States! 3rd Degree has a lot of new music to drop this year and is going on tour in the next year or so. GMS is expanding his “Global Frequency” radio mixshow network; he’s working on new music and remixes with Tairrie B, JJ Hudson, THC, 3rd Degree, Mak Music; and is booking tour dates, starting with Minneapolis in August and Brazil is on the horizon. THC has a lot of new music coming up, including a collaboration with various artists about George Floyd. JJ is going to keep grinding, creating new projects for her fans! She’s releasing a new single this month called “Let it Pop,” produced by her super producer Robbie Rob: it has an old school-yet-new-style vibe and is being released in perfect time to let it pop for your summer pool parties!
New “J” (NES&GMS Remix): https://youtu.be/sYiRU03KOEg
THE HIGH CHILDREN
DJ 3rd DEGREE
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
DJ 3RD DEGREE
Twitter & IG: @DJ3rdDegree
Facebook fan page: @therealdj3rddegree