“I’m going to be the next Black president,” J Pinder told XXL in 2012. While the bold announcement may have been facetious in intent, Pinder is no stranger to lofty goals, determination, and hard work. At a time when our nation’s first Black president was nearing the end of his first term, Pinder had just released his Fin Records debut Careless. Serving as the long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Backpack on Wax and 2009’s Code Red, Careless was the culmination of a grind that previously helped Pinder gain a foothold in the local hip hop scene of his hometown of Seattle, Washington.
Pinder’s unrelenting dedication to elevating his craft as an emcee and producer lead to frequent collaborations and strong alliances with hometown heroes such as producers/DJs Jake One and Vitamin D, as well as Seattle hip hop legend Jon Moore (1970 - 2017). All three can be credited to the foundation of Pinder’s sound. Legends such as Jay-Z, Marvin Gaye, Gil Scott Heron, Parliament, and Jimi Hendrix also became key inspirations for Pinder’s budding artistic arch. Today, artists like Common and Kendrick Lamar are channeled through Pinder’s introspection and consciousness; and touches of Kanye’s bold, soulful soundscapes are littered throughout his style of production.
After making a name for himself in his hometown, Pinder made the move to Atlanta, where he reconnected and recorded with Seattle compatriot Kuddie Fresh of The Bizness production group (Drake, etc.). While Pinder never really found comfort in the city’s scene, his experience there undoubtedly helped mold his ever-evolving style as a recording artist.
Pinder eventually returned to Seattle and inked his partnership deal with Fin Records just three weeks into his first semester at Bellevue College in 2011. Well-received by critics and fans alike, a Redux version of the Careless project was released with Dj Skee in 2012, which featured guests such as Marsha Ambrosius, Rapper Big Pooh, and more. The momentum earned Pinder MTV’s coveted "Freshman of the Year” titled and afforded him the opportunity to tour with Talib Kweli, Slum Village, and Black Milk in support of the project that same year.
Eventually Slum Village’s manager at the time, Ty Cannon (Aftermath A&R), began managing Pinder’s career and convinced him to move to L.A. In 2014, Pinder earned the ultimate co-sign from his idol Dr. Dre, which lead to songwriting opportunities for the widely acclaimed Compton album-- which also served as the soundtrack to the revered Straight Outta Compton NWA biopic.
After attaining such prestige in his music career, Pinder’s overflowing ambition eventually spilled over into the tech world, as he and then business partner were able to raise seed funding for a music streaming service for Independent artist called Gyld. Building the platform from scratch, the service gained national attention, but ultimately fell flat. Pinder subsequently left the project and joined Pandora’s curation team in December 2016.
After a five year hiatus from releasing music, Pinder has been busy making up for lost time, putting out three new projects in the first quarter of 2017-- “Any Day Now EP”, “Something YOU Wanted EP” and "Ideas I Never Finished", a compilation of rough drafts Pinder lost in a hard drive fire in 2016. The two EPs are a part of a trilogy (produced by 10.4 Rog) that takes an emotional journey through different aspects of time and the human process. The third EP in the trilogy, the forthcoming Player Profile, is a buoyant and jazzy project that finds Pinder turning his attention to romance and relationships.
For a hip hop artist who started making music as a singer in the church choir at a young age, it was only a matter of time before it all came full circle, and Pinder’s latest work is the long-awaited completion of that artistic cycle. Best described as the perfect transition from Sade to Kendrick Lamar in a playlist, Pinder’s new music is the first showcase of his ability as a soulful singer.
The EP trilogy follows the Ideas I Never Finished project. An open and raw offering, this record reveals the creative process to listeners. Together, Pinder’s work in 2017 makes for a compelling recipe that combines the demo, ep, and lp all into one cohesive piece, broken down and released separately.
It all emboldens Pinder’s maturation in music, his fervent ambition, and his unwavering dedication to raising the bar creatively. Expect Pinder to blaze a fiery presidential campaign trail in 2017 and beyond.
Any Day NoW
Considering his hiatus, the name of Pinder’s new project, “Any Day Now,” isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is the sound Pinder has created - the depth of emotion, the honesty, the creativity, and the thoughtfulness that rolls smoothly out of “adn” reveals to his audience a wiser, more mature and introspective Pinder than the one they last heard.
“adn” is Pinder’s first project in nearly five years, when 2012’s “Careless” made waves in independent Hip Hop. Despite the absence of a new project, Pinder hasn’t been away from music. He’s been more immersed in music than ever, spending the past four-plus years working with some of Hip Hop’s biggest names and brightest rising stars. From managing promising young careers to working closely with the camps of Dr. Dre and DJ Mustard, and developing an independent streaming service startup, which eventually landed him at Pandora; Pinder has become a student of all aspects music.
In short, he’s been evolving as an artist; Refining his craft until the moment felt right.
Ideas I never finished
I'd like to explore the concepts of creativity and vulnerability, publicly with you all. Especially with my music peers. People often ask me to listen to their music and to provide feedback. I enjoy it! I love hearing people being creative and taking risks. As a risk taker myself, I realized that I'm not that open with you guys, creatively. My process and who I am in general, is pretty private. Though I believe as an artist, if you're looking to maximize your "I feel you" moments, you need for your listeners to see themselves, in what you're delivering, somehow, in order to convert them to followers. That's pretty elementary, right? Vision is everything. One thing my mom told me when I was in grade school that has stuck with me through the years is "You've got to see it first, in order to achieve it later".
For as long as I can remember, I've been an artist trying to find myself, my sound and my energy, musically. Through these years, I've experimented with so many producers and styles, I've chased so many hits, (I've been fortunate to have produced and been apart of a couple, by hood standards😉) missed more than a couple dozen times, lost big, had some big ass wins, celebrated success and battled with depression. What I've learned through it all is that you'll never quite have it all figured out. Things change, people change, times change. (Might be my argument for evolution, simplified?)
I took a step back from my artistry for a while to better put my goals in perspective. I wanted the music game so bad until I got there and realized that it's all just a game and most of its players are simply actors and victims. Granted, they have a whole lot of fun. This raised a question for me that still keeps me up at night:
Is this what you want? Is this who you want to be? Is this how you want to contribute?
If there's one thing I'd like to be remembered for, it's that I give maximum effort. To my dreams, my family, my friends, my music, my community....
With that in mind, I'm back on the grind, from scratch! Early last year I started recording music again with the intentions of releasing it and getting back on the road to make enough money to buy my mom a house! It wasn't the smoothest process getting to this point. December of '16, I was in a groove! I was making music and having a sonic break through. I was finding myself and my frequency again...... Then, GMK's hard drive dies with no back up and I lose almost all of my progress. 😢
Some of my favorite music, lost. All sessions unrecoverable. All I have are the rough demo mp3's 😖
Should I try and recreate these songs? Musicians know how hard it is to recreate that energy. It's impossible, really.
I took it all in stride and kept going nonetheless. Connected with the homie from high school, 10.4 Rog in Oakland and started cookin', aggressively. He was working on a graduation thesis for film school, I was working curation at Pandora. In 3 months time we made adn & sYw ep's and dropped them into the clouds. We're now wrapping up the 3rd ep.....
I'm writing this post today because I've decided not to just let those dead hard drive songs die and never be heard. I think I said some good shit, so I've decided to open up and upload my roughs to Soundcloud! No make up, no mixes, no vocal tuning, no fx..... Pure imperfection. It really hurts me to listen to them because I cant stop thinking about everything I would have and could have done if I hadn't lost the sessions. Maybe we'll replay them live?
The demo takes! This is as vulnerable as it gets for an artist, I think. Raw ideas.
The ideas I never finished.
something YOU wanted
Something YOU Wanted (sYw), Pinder’s second project in a little over a month, is all about desire.
On his most emotionally deep and vulnerable collection of songs to date, Pinder deftly navigates the familiar journey of discovering what we want, chasing it, changing our minds, and doing it all again. Without drawing out the proceedings or cutting them too short, Pinder explores inflated egos, the importance of taking care of self, the fickleness of desire, and the inevitable new beginning that follows an abrupt change of heart.
P handles these five sonically and conceptually thick tracks passionately and effortlessly, but he doesn’t do it alone. 10.4 Rog provides vibrant, organic production that demands repeat spins and the impressive Gizzle McFly appears on Real Eyes, the sure favorite for long-time Pinder fans.