If you’re a TV addict, chances are you’ve already heard the music of Justina, you just didn’t know it was her. Justina’s work has been featured on a plethora of shows, including VH1’s Mob Wives, MTV’s True Life, and NBC’s Smash. The New Jersey native has higher aspirations than simply being in the background, though, which is why this spring she’s releasing her first official mixtape, titled Route 80, and will be on select dates of this year’s Warped Tour.
Currently sporting a co-sign from Cam’Ron, and having just dropped a video for her single “Bubblegum,” Justina is well on her way from going from the background to the limelight, which is why this week RapReviews caught up with the rapper/singer to find out more about her music, the emergence of white female rappers, and how she plans on handling potential critics. Justina also revealed a little bit about an oral fixation she just can’t get over.
Adam Bernard: You’re a rapper, you’re a singer, but first and foremost you’re a Jersey girl, so tell everyone what they need to know about Jersey girls.
Justina: I think Jersey girls are kind of vicious, swagged out, crazy. Maybe I’m just describing myself, but I think Jersey is very unique. Let me clarify something, North Jersey is very different from South Jersey. I am a North Jersey girl and that’s kind of like what you see when you watch Jerseylicious and people at the Jersey Shore. I feel like it’s more of that North Jersey/New York type of personality while South Jersey’s more Philly influenced.
AB: Being a rapper and a singer you’re going to draw comparisons to Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, and probably Kreayshawn, as well. In what ways do you feel you’re different from them?
J: Yeah, definitely with the Nicki and the Ke$ha thing you have the rapping with the pop sensibility, so I see why we’d get compared. I think I’m different in the sense that I’m really organic. No one said “here’s an image, run with this,” or “here’s a character for you to be, run with this.” Everything’s home grown and I think that comes across in my style, and my music, and my personality.
AB: Why do you think white female rappers are suddenly appearing in such abundance?
J: I think right now so many things are going on in rap and hip-hop, even the influence of techno and house music is creeping in and becoming really popular, and everything’s changing. I think the fascination that white people can rap, especially white girls, because with Eminem and the Beastie Boys there’s been white guys rapping before, so I think with the new appearance of white girls rapping, I think it’s just something new and I think it’s kind of exciting for white people, too. I know a lot of people who are into white girl rap are white. Of course it’s not just white people. If it’s good music, and if it’s good hip-hop, and if it’s good rap, any rap fan will be into it.
AB: Speaking of rap fans, you have a co-sign, on video, from Cam’Ron. How did that come together, and do you have a working relationship with him at this point?
J: I work with a producer named Skitzo, and my other producer Shyboogs, and they are both down with Cam’Ron, especially Skitzo, he produced a lot of his music, like “Get Em Girls.” Skitzo produced four of the tracks on Route 80, and Cam’Ron’s studio in Jersey is actually right near where I live. I got intro-ed to him through Skitzo and he heard me rap and he was like “yeah, you got it.” That’s how that came about. As far as working with him… yeah, I think in the future there will definitely be a collabo in the works. Right now Cam is busy doing his movie thing, but I think that’s definitely something we’ll get going in the future.
J: I don’t know. I know they were in Miami shooting and it’s something their camp wrote.
AB: Maybe a cameo for you?
J: Who knows? Maybe. You never know.
AB: I know you are preparing to be on the road for a little bit as you’ll be on some of the dates of this year’s Warped Tour. The Warped Tour crowd is always really mixed, and notoriously tough on some artists.
J: And notoriously tough ton rap, I believe.
AB: Yeah, even P.O.S. was telling me one year that people would just walk by the stage flipping him off, not even listening. Do you think there’s going to be any backlash to you, and if you do, how do you plan on handling it?
J: I think there’s always a possibility of backlash no matter who you are, or how good you are. I think that always exists, so yes, I do feel that’s a possibility. I also think that crowd is predominantly punk and rock and that’s the main genre that they listen to and they kind of feel that hip-hop is infiltrating their culture and their Warped Tour, so I know some of them might hear someone rapping and just be mad at that. I think it’s definitely a possibility and if it happens that’s OK. I think every great artist has been booed or had backlash. I’ll keep it movin. I’ve made it this far and I’ve been through enough criticism, so a couple people flipping me off, that’s not gonna deter me from doing what I’m there to do. Hopefully I’ll be well received, but I guess there’s only one way to find out.
AB: Your mixtape, Route 80, will be out at that point. What do you hope listeners get out of it?
J: I hope they get a good sense of who I am. I hope they can appreciate even the track order that it’s in, I put a lot of thought into that. I think when you have a body of work like that it’ll really come across to people that this is a chick who writes her own stuff, and I think they’ll get a good feel of who I am, where I come from, what I’m about. It’ll be a really good place to start my story with them. It’s a good starting point for people to meet me. That’s what I think.
AB: You recently released a video for your song “Bubblegum.” Why are you trying to arouse me with Trident?
J: It’s funny because I really am a gum fiend. I am out of control. I buy at least five packs of gum a day, and people will watch me and I’ll chew a whole pack within an hour. I’ll put two, three, four pieces in my mouth, it’ll lose its flavor ten minutes later, so I’ll switch the gum out. One day I was just like “I want to make a song about gum.” I made up the hook, called my producer, and was like “can you make a beat to this?” I really wanted to show how addicted I am to gum and what a big part of my life it is. I do have an oral fixation. I have gum in my mouth right now. The only time I really take the gum out of my mouth is to record and to perform and sometimes to go to sleep. I’m that big on gum.
AB: And it’s not just about gum. The song is a double entendre.
J: It is. It’s not just about gum, it’s about sex and it’s about the female power. “Pop my bubble gum” obviously has a double meaning. For me it was a fun way to be funny and cute, but not be too raunchy and in your face about it. I wanted little kids to be able to watch it, but at the same time for the people who are supposed to get it to get it.
J: I actually have recently been contacted by a gum company. I was linked up with them through a reporter. I started a dialogue with them literally a day or two ago. We’ll see where it goes. I would LOVE to be sponsored by a gum company because I spend a lot of money on gum.
AB: It sounds like it would save you a pretty penny.
J: It really really would. I’d be willing to wrap my tour bus with their name and everything, so if there are any gum companies that are interested, holler at me.
AB: Switching gears a bit, let’s talk about your epically huge wallet chain that we discussed on Twitter. Are you looking to bring it back into style?
J: You know, when you were like “are you looking to bring it back,” it wasn’t actually attached to a wallet. I never knew the wallet chain was big. I’m just big on chains everywhere, like hanging off my neck, hanging off my pants, my wrists, I just like a lot of metal on me. I’m a metal detector’s worst nightmare. At the airport I always get held up, and not because I wear it on my person, I know better than that at this point, but they always send my suitcase through like three, four, five times and take out all the jewelry, and send it through again. Last time I was in the airport they tried to take both my three finger rings from me and told me they were a weapon. I made up a bogus story and they let me keep them.
AB: So you have potentially weaponry on you at all time.
J: Yeah, pretty much.
AB: Finally, do you have any passions outside of your music? If so, what are they?
J: I love animals. I’m a big animal person. I’m hooked up with a company called Pinups for Pitbulls. I was in one of their calendars. I’m big on animal rights, huge on that. That’s a passion of mine. I also like to play sports, and I am a party animal. I like to stay healthy as far as gym-wise because I do some other unhealthy shit to my body, drinking and everything else, so I like to at least balance it out.