BDTB Interview w/ J. Brookinz About His “Gateway” Project | @jbrookinz
Having only acclimated myself into the hip-hop community two years ago, I found myself hearing a certain name no matter what circle of emcees or producers I was surrounded by. That name was J. Brookinz.
The local producer has seriously laid down work with most, if not all, major emcees in Indianapolis. Whether it is through creating a beat for their latest release or setting up annual shows like the annual Producer Beat Battle, which showcases some of the best producing talent Naptown has to offer and puts their skills in a head to head match, he is staying busy building in Indianapolis.
There is also another project that J. has cooked up for the past four years and that project is called the Gateway. The producer came up with the idea five years ago and it was rumored that last year’s effort, Gateway 420, was going to be the last mix he would put together for our city.
Fortunately, he has pushed aside those thoughts of letting it go and has decided to come back with what may be known as the best release to date. When asked why he decided to take another go at the project the producer had this to say, “I knew I was going to come back, but the way I was going to come back was going to be different, it couldn’t be just me. I invited some of the homies to come in and make some of the beats. I wanted these guys to take over.”
Brookinz had always intended the Gateway be a part of his legacy and as something that the community could work on, come together and carry out every spring. And although years past have been filled with the producer running around putting everything together, this year was different. He got to relax a little bit and really take in the experience of the Gateway, but he goes on to say, “I have a job to do, I gotta keep watch and make sure that everything is running smoothly.”
And trust me, only having been at the house J. held up in for an hour or so, it could be very easy to get caught up with everyone there. I could understand that struggle of keeping everyone on task. I mean, if Super Street Fighter is going on, you’d be hard pressed to get me to do anything.
Matt Riefler was just the assistance Brookinz needed to help everything run smoothly. He worked on the engineering and recording for the #GATEWAY5 this year. Other producers that helped with creation of the beats include Dylan Prevails, Knags, Mandog, Harry Otaku, and Philo T.
Another reason Brookinz decided to get back to the project was because he saw it as not only a place that artists from all walks could collaborate and learn from each other, but also a project that could really boost the morale for the hip hop culture of Indy. “Some guys are young and some guys are proven. I respect these guys and I want to do something for them.” It is opportunities such as this that really spring boarded the producer to the status he has attained today. “People gave me the chance to do things when I had no business doing them, but just as a shot to prove myself. So whatever kind of music you make, it doesn’t matter, it’s cool with me. I’m no guardian of the culture, so if we can work together, let’s do it.”
As leader of the project, he also had to decide who was going to put their verses over the beats, but this may not have been as difficult as it sounds. “I mainly leave it open.” He brought most of the Ghost Town fam for the first to really flesh out the skeleton of the project. Then, he opened the door on the second day of recording to cats who had been hitting him up trying to be a part of the album.
Brookinz plans on dropping the mix on April 18th, but has much more on his plate as well. #JBrookinzWeek has officially kicked off and the producer plans to stay busy putting together a showcase at Indy CD and Vinyl this weekend for Record Store Day, hosting a 420 party at Sabbatical on Sunday, and dropping the tape (all while celebrating his birthday too). We also may get the special treat of a single being dropped from his most recent untitled solo project.
No concrete plans yet for next year’s release, tentatively titled, Gateway 666, but Brookinz plans on coming back and really taking his skills, and his friends’ skills, to the next level. So, if you are trying to get in the hip hop scene in Indy, it would be best for your health to get to know the name J. Brookinz. That is, if you haven’t already.