Introducing: Justin a.k.a Dynamic
Host and producer of Bring Ya Eh Game, Mondays 10 p.m. to midnight
Michelle Johnson sat down with Justin to discuss his new show, the importance of social media, his love for hip hop, and how he made his way to CIUT.
MJ: Tell me first about where the idea for “Bring Ya Eh Game” came from.
Justin: About five years ago I decided to create a blog dedicated to promoting Canadian music, and “Bring Ya Eh Game” seemed like a fitting name, with the “eh” being from Canada and all that. So that’s how I came up with the title, and from there I’ve just been growing the blog. It’s been getting a lot of followers, and I figured one day I want to turn that into a radio show. So, in comes CIUT.
MJ: What sparked your interest in hip hop? Especially Canadian hip hop.
Justin: The lack of a structure down here for Canadian hip hop definitely gives me that passion to specifically promote Canadian stuff. But for hip hop in general, I come from a background in music, my dad was a reggae singer and enough of my family members are into music now. And yeah, I just love hip hop, hip hop seems to speak to me.
MJ: Where do you find the music you play on your show? How do you get in touch with the artists?
Justin: It’s funny because when I first started the blog, I used to go out and go on youtube or even on Facebook and kind of follow along and post stuff myself, but as the blog began to get more followers and growing and getting more of a buzz, people are sending me new music now. So I’m not really looking for it anymore, it’s coming in.
MJ: Amazing. So is social media a big part of what you do then?
Justin: Huge. That’s definitely how I got the name out. I have also put together a few projects, some compilations titled “The Eh List.” I’m on my third volume of that now, working on volume 4. And that’s been helping out too, ‘cause I put all Canadian artists on the project, and then we promote them that way as well.
MJ: So you say a lot of artists are coming to you now because of everything that you’ve been doing – all the work you’ve been putting in. What about listeners and followers? – People who aren’t necessarily in the industry but they’re appreciating what you’re doing.
Justin: It’s funny actually, since I’ve started the official time slot here, my followers have actually gone up, which is pretty cool. I’ve noticed the increase, so being on radio itself is helping with making the name grow as well. But definitely being active on social media at the same time as being on the radio every Monday night, we’re always promoting every song we play and things like that, so that’s helping out as well.
MJ: Is there any appreciation, or even shock, when people hear Canadian hip hop like, “Wow, this is Canadian, this is so good”… what sort of the feedback are you getting from listeners?
Justin: I think people are definitely caught off guard, like they can’t believe that we can do a whole two hour show with just Canadian hip hop, and that’s cool. And then it’s also how I think it’s making people want to do more. We’re getting hit up all the time now with people asking us to get interviews on the show, and we’ve got to wade through the terrible stuff and the good stuff, but it’s been great so far so it’s good.
MJ: In terms of that ratio of good and terrible, how is it? Do you find that there’s more good than there is terrible, or is there a lot of stuff that you have to weed through to get to the good stuff?
Justin: Yeah, there is, it’s actually really bad, it’s funny. I mean it’s one thing when you’re doing the blog and you get terrible submissions, but once I started this show it’s been a real overflow of horrible stuff. Y’know, everybody wants to get on the radio man—but that’s cool. You’ve gotta start somewhere. ‘Cause I do music myself and when I started I was terrible, and you grow from there.
MJ: How much time do you put into preparing and putting together your show every week? it seems like you’ve got a lot of music to go through.
Justin: Every day. Every day I’m literally preparing for the following show. As soon as we leave from here at midnight, as soon as I get home—and I’ve gotta work at 6 o’clock in the morning—I’m preparing for the next show by posting up on social media, or posting the pictures from the show that we did the night before, and promoting what the next show’s gonna be, that kind of stuff. And it’s not just me, I have like a team behind me helping me as well.
MJ: Who are those people helping you?
Justin: One goes by Amanda the Social Media Queen, that’s what I’ve dubbed her (laughs), she’s great at social media stuff, so she’s handling the Facebook and Twitter and all that stuff while the show’s going on. And the other is DJ Slam, who plays the music for the show as well.
MJ: So how did you find out about CIUT?
Justin: Listening. I’ve definitely followed the Masterplan Show for instance, I followed hip hop, trying to get my stuff out there on the radio as well. And then I went on Google and typed “community radio stations,” that kind of stuff, and I found a few others, but CIUT seemed to be the best station to come to.
MJ: And how do you like being on the radio? How is that experience for you, compared to writing a blog?
Justin: It’s fun. It’s almost like performing. When I perform I’m in another world, and it’s the same idea when I come in. If I’ve been stressed all week and then I come do the radio show, it’s peace for me, so it’s cool. I used to do radio in Ottawa, on the BRL Show on CHUO, so I’ve done radio for a while, and I took a break for like three years, so coming back here and doing it again, it’s fun and I’m learning again.
MJ: Do you notice any significant differences between hip hop in Ottawa and hip hop in Toronto, or even across Canada, in different regions? Is there different styles coming out in different places?
Justin: There’s different styles of hip hop, definitely. But in terms of like the structure, I think it’s pretty much the same everywhere. And there’s other different close-knit communities of hip hop artists in every city, but now with social media everybody’s kind of working together, expanding that way too, so it’s neat where hip hop’s at right now.
MJ: And how do you see the future of Canadian hip hop? Where do you see it going?
Justin: Just definitely growing stronger and having more known artists on the global level. But keeping it in Canada is cool too. We have our own style here and I think it just takes time to get it out there for everybody to hear. And doing things like the radio show and the blog, it helps getting it out to people who maybe wouldn’t necessarily know about Canadian hip hop.
MJ: Who are your top three Canadian hip hop artists right now?
Justin: That’s a good one. Classified for sure, he’s like the top. Drake of course. And I watch a lot of Canadian “battles” and Pat Stay is like killing it with the battle stuff and makes dope music too, so I would say that those three artists are definitely doing dope things for Canadian hip hop.
MJ: So, if people want to get out and learn more about Canadian hip hop, obviously they can tune in to your show, but in terms of places in the city where they can maybe catching a rap battle, or get out to see a show, where can people find this information?
Justin: Well, definitely logging in to bringyaehgame.com, we definitely post up a lot of the events going down in the city. I think the best thing to do, it’s funny actually, if you go on Instagram and you can type things like Canadian Hip Hop or things like that in the search, a lot of people tag stuff like that, so those are good ways to find info. But definitely tuning in to Bring Ya Eh Game every Monday from 10 to midnight is the way to keep informed.
MJ: Excellent. Thank you!