We can all agree that interviews become repetitive after a while but this is without a doubt a breath of fresh air. Justin B, also known as the rapper/producer Zeke Twinz makes sure to add a hint of personality  in every response as he does with every beat he’s ever created and every lyric he’s ever written. I got the chance to speak with him about the origin of his name, musical influences, and much more!

Read below for full interview:

 

Q: Before we start, how did you come up with the name Zeke Twinz?

A: Okay, I was born on the 26th day of February. The 26th letter of the alphabet is “Z”. In the bible, Ezekiel spoke the word of God into some bones in a desert and they were revived into an army (or something like that). Zeke is a shortened version of Ezekiel, and Twinz is twenty-six shortened, with a “Z” on the end. I feel like I was put on this earth to talk some sense into the younger generation. Either that, or be a plebeian with no sense of identity.

 

Q: Is music something you’ve always been interested in or is it relatively new?

A: I started making music around like eighth grade, using the FL Studio demo, then getting the full version when I learned how to pirate software without destroying a computer with malware. Since then, I’ve been trying to find my own style.

 

Q: Who were some musical influences you had growing up?

A: Kanye West. Ye has been in my life since 2007 when he dropped “Graduation”. I remember going to summer camp in the mornings and my mother would play the album from “Goodmorning” to “Big Brother”. I just found out this year that there was a bonus track on the album. Also, Daft Punk and Gorillaz. They actually made me start producing electronic music because I never understood how someone could make such a cohesive discography. They’re just perfect to me.

 

Q: When you decided you wanted to become a musician did you have the support of your family/friends etc? What would you tell someone who doesn’t have the support of their peers?

A: I just recently told my father I was a rapper. He knew that I made beats and whatnot, but my biggest fear was that he would make me stop my music career before it even started if I went down the path as a rapper. My household really the only family that knows I make music. My cousin is open with it though. I think he’s doing pretty good but he doesn’t make music that appeals to my ears so I don’t pay a lot of attention to him.

 

Q: New York is seen as the birthplace of hip hop, but Atlanta is seen as its capital – in your opinion, what impact has Atlanta had on hip hop?

A: Honestly, I don’t even know how to answer this. Atlanta has a lot of hit songs, and a lot of one hit wonders. Usually, artists that come out of Atlanta are just garbage. Not even the garbage “that you play when you want to get lit” garbage; actual trash. If I had to say, Outkast and Goodie Mob, and 1017BS are probably what put Atlanta on the map.

 

Q: If you could choose a specific decade (90s, 00s, now) to start your music career, what would it be and why?

A: I mean the 90’s seems cool and all that, but when I think about it, I have the world in my palms. Through an iPhone, that is. Everything is so easy right now. I’d have to say early 2000’s.

 

Q: You rap as well as produce, if you had to pick one over the other- which would you prefer to do?

A: Produce. Atlanta is full of halfway committed rappers. They release projects and then quit to pursue something else because their career was not prosperous. I could be a recording engineer and have a reliable career because there’s always someone somewhere looking for a studio to record their mixtape. I’m not that strong as a rapper. It takes me days to write a song. The way I work, I must have a topic to talk about, or the structure of it just doesn’t feel right. I suck at writing hooks, so I just make short songs.

 

Q: What attracted you to the art of producing?

A: My mind was blown when I found out “Stronger” was a sample of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. I just didn’t understand the concept of sampling at the time so I wanted to learn about the whole thing. I started listening to 80’s and 90’s R&B and any artists that frequently had sampled music. Eventually I was just like, “let’s do this”.

 

Q: If you had the chance to co-produce with another producer who would it be & why?

A: So many people. Madlib for one. “Shades of Blue” was like a remix compilation album, but I still enjoy it. “The Unseen” just hits me. I never knew how music could strike the soul with so much intensity. The way he produces just sounds so effortless.

 

Q: Every established producer has a “signature” that lets the audience know they produced the song – have you created one yet? If so, what it is?

A: I had one, but I just stopped using it in my beats. It just doesn’t feel right. It’s like signing an autograph and then writing “hey that’s me. I wrote that.” right next to it. I’ll let my style speak for itself.

 

Q: Do you feel producers get the credit they deserve?

A: Kind of. They usually go unnoticed under the hype of the singer/rapper.

 

Q: Is there anyone you want to work within the next 5 years?

A: Any and everybody. There’s this guy called Reno Shakur that I’ve been listening to. His tracks are spectacular.

 

Q: How do you decide what artist gets what beat?

A: The way I do it, If I know that all you listen to is 21 Savage and YFN Lucci, I’m not going to play you a boom bap beat. You wouldn’t give someone a rake to clean a swimming pool. It all depends on how I interpret your music.

 

Q: If you had the chance to produce a song for three artists, who would they be and why?

A: Chance The Rapper, Mick Jenkins, and Bryson Tiller. Chance because he’s just fun on any track. Mick Jenkins deserves a grammy. I almost dropped someone’s food at work today because I established that he wasn’t referring to weed as “THC”, but The Healing Component; Love. He deserves more recognition and is extremely talented. I enjoy Bryson Tiller’s music. It just sounds so great.

 

Q: What qualities do you think it takes to be successful in music? What qualities do you think have helped you?

A: I don’t know, I’ve never made a song that got more than like 400 views. I’ll tell you if my career is prosperous though. I actually suck at making music (lmao)

 

Q: Any other comments you wanna leave your supporters with?

A: Invest in black owned businesses. Buy music instead of pirating. Tell your mother you love her. (lmfao)

 

To stay updated on his musical journey make sure to follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud . . . 

About The Author

Sasha “Andro” Bannister is a 19 y/o songwriter and photographer from The Bronx, NY. She’s been writing music for over 7 years and practicing photography for a little over 5. Coming from a musically inclined family, it’s no wonder she’s been attracted since a young age. Having the ability to play several instruments, she hopes to make an impact in the music world. She is currently a member our music team but from time to time comments on Fashion, Photography, and Modeling.
To catch up on her daily follow her on Instagram @fye.andro

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