By Curtis Ashley, Music Director & Editor
No matter how big the artist, or how mastered their current sounds are, each of them started with two things: a voice and a dream. Julian Irivarry, a Bayonne, New Jersey native is no exception to the rules. Rapping under the alias J.I. Hudson, he stepped into the game in 2012, and was inspired by acts such as Kid Cudi and Earl Sweatshirt. “There was no specific event that made me want to write rhymes or whatever. It just seemed like some fun shit,” Hudson admits. “I was already a consumer, so I was like I kinda want to be a part of it.”
Six years later, Hudson finds himself in possession of a plentiful SoundCloud discography with over 20 songs, as well as an interstate tour under his belt, the “2018 Summer Tour”. He kicked off the tour on August 17 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and later visited Connecticut, Massachusetts, and two stops in New York, including Gold Sounds in Brooklyn. “We wanted to do an east coast run. We wanted to go to cities that had an interesting scene. Cities where I thought people were like-minded as me and my friends,” Hudson explains.
This group of shows is the first tour Hudson has ever been on, inside or outside of the Tristate area. “I think it exceeded some expectations. I wasn’t really sure how people would react or how many people would show up.”
According to Hudson, everything worked out fine. The only issue was finding other acts. Hudson took to the internet to find acts in the area to come out and perform with him. “I think my biggest concern when I was touring was playing shows with people I never met before. Just dealing with a lot of hip-hop artists sometimes, you never know if somebody’s going to have a chip on their shoulder,” Hudson commented. “It’s a very ego-driven genre.” Fortunately for him, everything worked out. “When we got to the shows, it was a lot of love. All the artists we met were really cool.”
Of all the music he performed from his catalog, an unreleased track titled “Runaway” featuring a frequent collaborator, Kitolaplaga rocked every show. Hudson describes the song as “pop-punk influenced” with distorted vocals and good back-and-forth bars coming from Hudson and Kito. “When we performed it, it’s something about it that kinda just makes people really excited. I also think it’s the song we’re the most excited to perform, so people kind of feed off that energy.”
When it comes to the music Hudson does have available on his SoundCloud, “IP Man” is the one that gets the crowd just as amped. The track also features Kitolaplaga, and has the energy and bars that a rapper needs to pull off a dope performance. “We did that last or next last on most of the sets. When we did it in Boston, I almost fucking died performing it. That song goes up for sure.”
Both “Runaway” and “IP Man” are produced by Alpha Douglas, who, by one glance at Hudson’s SoundCloud page, seems to be his go-to producer. The two met in college, then eventually lived together for a bit. It wasn’t until Hudson got out on his own that the two would cross paths musically. “I invited him to my new place a couple times and we just started getting into a groove. Ever since we’ve made a bunch of songs together. He’s pretty much my in-house person. We actually crafts songs together. Everything has to pass through both of us before it comes out.”
The fourth quarter of the year is here, and Hudson does not plan on slowing down any time soon. The tour is finished, but it’s back to the regularly scheduled program which includes him releasing a bunch of music. “The last couple of months, I’ve been making music I really like performing. I think it’s a good thing I introduced those songs to people before I even put them out.”
Check out the latest release from Hudson, “Do You Mind,” featuring Kito, and stay tuned for more dope music.