J.R.Clark | Assuring he's ‘The Motivational Type’

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J.R.Clark FLAUNT.jpg ![J.R.Clark FLAUNT.jpg](https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/62ee0bbe0c783a903ecc0ddb/6472d26fa7d5677f6f8c26ee_J.R.Clark%2BFLAUNT.jpeg) [J.R.Clark](https://www.instagram.com/j.r.clark829/) is here to prove you can make it in the rap game independently, as long as you work hard, stay passionate, and never take no for an answer. Arriving on the scene with his own original sound and lyrics inspired by real-life experiences, the Virginia Beach, Virginia native began his career as a studio engineer before transitioning to full-time recording artist.  Inspired by the likes of Rick Ross, Curren$y, J.Cole, and Nipsey Hussle, he released his first EP in 2015 titled _That Weekend_ before headlining Z104 Shaggfest Music Festival in 2016. Since then, he’s released his _Sunset Symphony_ EP and _Antique Summer_ EP featuring Curren$y’s artist Fendi P, delivering a club anthem titled “The Re-Up” which was in heavy rotation in the tidewater regions of Virginia and New Orleans. Fast forward to today, J.R.Clark serves as the last hip-hop artist to open for Pop Smoke before his death, opening for the late New York spitter at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. Now pushing his own label Vintage Sound Entertainment and releasing his newest album titled _When Muzik Was Good_, he shows no plans of slowing down any time soon. _Flaunt_ caught up with real name Jerry Clark-Juneau via FaceTime, to discuss what sets him apart from other rappers, the business side of the music industry, his album _When Muzik Was Good_, shooting “Money Marathon” in his hometown, the streaming era, studio essentials, his forthcoming project _The Motivational Type,_ and more! J.R.Clark - 6FLAUNT.jpg ![J.R.Clark - 6FLAUNT.jpg](https://cdn.prod.website-files.com/62ee0bbe0c783a903ecc0ddb/6472d26fa7d5677f6f8c26ea_J.R.Clark%2B-%2B6FLAUNT.jpeg) **What sets you apart from other rappers?** When I do shows, people always say “man, your music sounds so good. It sounds so different, you don’t sound like the 8 other people that went on before you.” That’s what keeps me motivated to keep me going.  **How’d you get your name, J.R.Clark?** I have two last names, my real name is Jerry Clark-Juneau. My second name is French, which comes from my mom’s Haitian and Dominican side. Clark was my dad’s household name growing up. Growing up, my grandma raised me with my mother momentarily. I moved with my dad when I was 12. **Outside of the music, talk about doing 4 years in the army.** I was on active duty, I lived in Germany for a while. I’ve been to a whole bunch of different countries, lived in 3. Went to grad school and got my Masters degree in American Government, that’s where I met my homie Josh Garcia. We clicked up. I thought dang, if both of us can read, I can do the music and you can do the business stuff. Shit, we’re a dynamic duo. A record label’s cool but if both of us can articulate a business table, still do rhymes and have the swag, we can make it look like something. A lot of times, people think I have a big label behind me because of how I move. The shows, the venues, the marketing, people think I have a hidden label behind me and I don’t. When we do music, we take our time with it. We do our research. That rollout, that marketing has to be right. Know and write your goals down. You might not achieve your goals all in one month, it might take some time, but go back to the drawing board and make sure you’re going through your goals. **At what point did you realize that you can do this music thing for real?** When I dropped my first two mixtapes, _That Weekend_ and _Late Night Driving_, they were cool. I did them to see what it was really. When I did _Sunset Symphony_ in 2018, I had a feature with Smoke DZA and Stalley. I’m not sure if he still signed with Rick Ross, but he was signed to MMG. I got a beat from Cookin Soul, Wiz Khalifa’s producer. Once I dropped that mixtape, people really started checking for me. People were sharing the music. Dang, he sounds like Curren$y’s music, but there’s a lot more with it. The image is there, the sound quality is there. People started to gravitate more towards that. 2018 was still fun, but we really had to put our thinking caps on and be business-oriented with it. At the same time, give people quality. 2018’s when I knew this shit right here is sticking like glue.  **Talk about the meaning behind your new album, _When Muzik Was Good._**  I can remember going to the malls, into the Best Buy or FYE, buying actual CDs. When you buy CD, you open it up and read the credits. See where it was recorded at, you look at who it was produced by, you read the lyrics, all that. Now, they don’t have that type of stuff. I grew up on cassette tapes and CDs early to mid 2000’s, music was really good. Around 2014 or 2015, music really took a left turn. I wouldn’t say for the worst, but the content isn’t there. The substance doesn’t really resonate with me. I look at stuff poppin’ in 2018, where is it now? You can play a T-Pain song, everybody and their mom gone know that song. It felt good. When they play a Rick Ross or T.I. song, a John Legend song or Alicia Keys, it always feels good. If you ain’t up on it, you’ll get there with time. **What song on the album do you feel like is your best work and why?** “Burning up the Bag” because when I did my album release party, my dad said “hey man, you should get a live band. I could hear a live band on that song.” I hired a live band, we rehearsed for a whole week. We played the whole song straight with live instruments. He said “that song’s a hit because it sounds timeless it doesn’t sound dated. You can play that song 10 years down the road and it’ll still sound good.”  With “757,” when I shot the video to it, it showed the gritty side to Virginia Beach. 757, you think of the beach or the boardwalk. That’s there but once you leave it, it’s real street stuff. Benny The Butcher and a few of the homies in New York shared the video, they felt the whole vibe and felt My homie has a Benz, we went around the city shooting different footage. Piecing it up and making it look right. “Burning up the Bag” and “757” are timeless music pieces. **How was it shooting the “Money Marathon” video?** I was supposed to shoot that video in Miami. I reached out to a few producers and directors, they said it’s hard to get everything I want in that area due to Coronavirus and crowds. Good thing, Virginia Beach does look like Miami depending on how you shoot it. We have the palm trees, the ocean, it’s hot. I paid a few of my homegirls are bottle girls at a few nightclubs. They’ve never done a video, but they did a great job. A few of my other homies brought their cars out, I brought my cars out. We’re shooting at different locations, we really made it look like what it needed to look like given the circumstances. A lot of people seeing the video think it’s shot in Miami, but it was really shot all over Virginia Beach. **Oh that’s dope, in your hometown.**  Yeah facts. A lot of people, the police even came out and showed support for the video. It was a vibe. I remember it was hot as shit too, it was mid-August. I had 4 changes of clothes, I was drenched in sweat the whole video. I couldn’t wait for that video to be over. \[laughs\] **Any hidden meaning behind your music?** Stay motivated, meaning don’t look at what’s going on around you. Partake in it but don’t let anything discourage or stop you from doing what you truly want to do. What works for you might not work for me. Whatever works for you, I’ma support that. I feel it, that’s what you’re doing. At the same time, don’t go back and try to mimic that because you see something working for another person. Be true to yourself, stick to your craft, invest in your craft, make it look right. Take your time with your craft, don’t rush your process for nobody.  Don’t overthink stuff, but make sure it connects with what you’re doing. When people look at you, they need to know “yeah, that’s him. That’s J.R.Clark right there.” If I did something funny, what the hell is he doing? He’s trippin’. I have homies around me that won’t let me leave the studio, “you have to fix that because that shit don’t look right.” Definitely be true to self. **Do you think record labels are needed in today's climate with streaming and social media?** Yes and no. Yes if you’re trying to get to that next level superstar. You’re trying to be global, you need that backing. No in terms of being an upcoming artist and getting yourself established first, before you go to a record label. Nah, spend your money on studio time. Make sure your sound’s right, your imagery’s right, your message and content’s lined up. You can do everything yourself but eventually, you’re going to take your craft to the next level. With anything in life, you want to keep elevating. I don’t look at record labels as an enemy, I look at it as a stepping stone. It’s a contract between 2 people, in a binding document. Make sure we both walk away with what we came to get in the beginning.  **3 things that you need in the studio?** Hennessy VSOP, Patron, some Simply juice lemonade. Blueberry flavor hookah, a notebook and pen. Me, I can’t write rhymes in my phone. I tried it but I’ll be looking on Instagram looking at hoes, cars, all this other shit. I get sidetracked so if I have a pen and paper, that’s what I’m doing. \[laughs\] We good money, that’s my studio survival kit.  **Anything else that you wanna let the people know?**  Thanks for rocking with me and tuning into the music. I’ma put a title on my new album, it’s going to be called _The Motivational Type_. That’s etched in stone. This album has those trap beats, when people hear it they’re like “you’re talking to somebody.” They always call me an East Coast Nipsey because the types of beats I rap on and the stuff I talk about—you might not be there when I’m talking about yet but eventually as an artist, you have to grow up and mature. What I’m giving you, it’s sensitive and motivational material.