By: George Alberts
Juice Lee, formerly known as Mac Jones, was born and raised in Paradise Hills, San Diego. He exploded onto the local Hip-Hop scene in 2003 and generated a huge following after releasing the single â€œNasty B*tchâ€ in 2005. He went on to join his friends, Beta Bossalini and Macnificent, over at Sidewayz Tha Mafia and changed his alias to Juice Lee because of the phrase â€œJuiced Up,â€ which he turned into a very popular trend for San Diego. He continued to build his credibility by appearing on a number of mixtapes, CDs and DVDs, including Suga Freeâ€™s â€œSecret Congregationâ€ and the â€œCross Country Pimpinâ€™ 3â€ DVD (2008), which featured many West Coast artists like Mistah F.A.B, Nipsey Hussle, Jâ€“Diggs, Luni Coleone, Haji Springer, AP.9, Redrum, and InfraRed, just to name a few. Recently, Juice Lee and Sidewayz Tha Mafia released a three part mixtape series titled, â€œNotplaying.com,â€ where u can download all three volumes of the series for free at www.notplayin.com. In the fall, Beta Bossalini and Juice Lee will be releasing their highly anticipated â€œPurple Rainâ€ LP.
With an already promising career, Juice Lee is determined to put San Diego on the map in the world of Hip-Hop. NUG was invited to join Juice Lee at The Purple Room, the studio he calls home, to chop it up and get the low down on â€œThe Juice It Up Kid!â€
What is it that youâ€™ve grown to love about San Diego?
San Diego means everything to me. This is the city I was born and raised in, the city I did my first everything in, the city that made me who I am today â€“ Juice Lee â€˜The Juice it Up Kid.â€™Â I love everything about my city â€“ the girls, the clubs, the beach, the weather, and the 420 laws. There is so much, I can go on all day.
What is your opinion about marijuana?
I think marijuana is one of the oldest and most popular medicines to date. â€˜GOD brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, andÂ saw that it was good,â€™ (Genesis 1:12). Even Jesus used marijuana or kaneh bosm (the Hebrew name for it) in his sacred anointing oil. If they are vouching for marijuana, itâ€™s good with Lee. As a matter of fact, the great tree of life was a marijuana plant.
Why do you think it is such an ongoing issue?
Greed, fear, and ignorance.
Do you think it should be legal? Do you think all drugs should be legal?
Well, it was legal since the beginning of time, until 1937. Thatâ€™s like sayingÂ marijuana has been illegal for 1% of the time that it has been in use. So yes, make it legal and save the trees. Start using hemp for paper and the many other things it can be use for.
Do I think drugs should be legal?
Yes. Other countries that have legalized all drugs have less drug use than other states or countries where drugs are illegal. Thereâ€™s no drug that kills more than cigarettes and alcohol.
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in Southeast San Diego. Weâ€™ve had over 50 gang related shootings and over 10 murders this yearâ€¦So u get the point.
What was it that inspired you to get into music and start rapping?
At the time when I started rapping, it was cool to make diss songs about rivals. People started to take a liking to it, so it got serious. I also had a lot of respect for the local rappers in my neighborhood. I owe a lot to Beta Bossalini, Macnificent and the whole Sidewayz camp. Before them, rap was the last thing I had on my mind.
What kind of impact do you think your music has on your fans and listeners? What do you want them to take away from your music?
It makes them want to have fun, go out and party â€“ donâ€™t sleep and try new things.Â I also want them to know what Iâ€™m feeling and how I overcame some problems. Maybe my experiences can help another. Everyone needs to understand that life is bigger than the negative things that go on in the world. Focus on living your life to the fullest, have fun, make other people smile, and leave all the worrying to GOD.
What are some goals you have set for yourself with your music?
To always get bigger than the year before and make every album better than the last.
What do you think about the Hip-Hop/Rap culture in San Diego?
I think itâ€™s growing a lot. You have to present yourself at a mainstream level to get accepted by the mainstream, and I think San Diego is getting the point.
What is your opinion about the music industry in general?
Some people say itâ€™s corny, but I canâ€™t say that. The music industryâ€™s job is to put out good music that can inspire while creating positive role models. So itâ€™s frustrating for hardcore musicians to get there music out there when itâ€™s not positive or a good image for the public audience. Music is more influential than movies, parents and teachers. Music can make you kill somebody, start gangbanging or fall in love, so the industry is trying their best. The industry needs to stop sugarcoating things and let the people know whatâ€™s really going on, that might be better for the world.
Can you tell me a little bit about your label and the experience so far?
Iâ€™m apart of San Diegoâ€™s most popular record label, Sidewayz Tha Mafia. It has been distributed by Koch, City Hall, and Navarre. It has put out 5 nationally distributed CDs: Mac Dreâ€™s â€˜Starters in the Game,â€™ Luni Coleoneâ€™s â€˜Anger Management,â€™ Suga Freeâ€™s â€˜Secret Congregation,â€™ Mr. Shadowâ€™s â€˜Thug Connection,â€™ and Beta Bossalini and Macnificentâ€™s â€˜Overhated & Underrated.â€™Â Weâ€™ve been dropping the hottest music in San Diego since 2003. While others come and go, weâ€™re still around, getting bigger and bigger every year.
What exactly does â€œJuiced Upâ€ mean?
Juiced up is not just a word, itâ€™s a way of life! Whatever you do, timesÂ that by a billion, and thatâ€™s â€˜Juiced Up.â€™ We act juiced up, we talk juiced up, we dress juiced up, and we get juice up â€“ all the shmack! Itâ€™s also a way of thinking. When you think juice, juice things happen. If you hang around juice people, youâ€™ll be juiced up. I created the â€˜Juiceâ€™ and it has been an underground movement inÂ San Diego since 2004.Â Itâ€™s 2011 and other rappers are trying to say theyÂ created â€˜Juiced Up.â€™ Itâ€™s alright for everyone to say, but when you go out and say you started another manâ€™s creation, thatâ€™s wrong! A lot of mainstream rappers will take from the underground and give them no credit because they have a million more fans and will get away with it. Taking another manâ€™s breadÂ is wrong! Everything in the dark comes out in the light, thatâ€™s â€˜Juiced Up!â€™
Whatâ€™s the deal with â€œShmack, Shmack!â€
Shmack, shmack canÂ mean anything. It can be used as a noun, pronoun, adjectiveÂ or verb. Shmackinâ€™, shmacker, and shmabadder are other ways to use it. You can substitute anything with shmack. You can use it as a greeting, like â€˜whatâ€™s up,â€™Â or end your sentence with it, like itâ€™s a verbal explanation point, depending on how you say it.Â Itâ€™s spreading like wildfire â€“ shmack, shmack!
What is the Thumbs Down Movement?
Well, when you think of Sidewayz, you put your thumbs down.Â It means that weâ€™re down with what we believe in; weâ€™re down with Sidewayz. Whatever you believe in, stay loyal and down about it for life. Donâ€™t let anybody knock you off your focus or track. Stay firm and concrete about your issues.Â Stay down, thumbs down!
Are you currently working on any projects or albums?
I have an album with Beta Bossalini called â€˜Purple Rain.â€™ Itâ€™s going to be nationally distributed in stores and itâ€™s dropping this year. Check on www.notplayin.com for new projects, there are so many.
What are some things that are interesting to you? â€“Politics? Local community issues? History? Culture?
Wow, thatâ€™s deep. Itâ€™s funny that you mention politics, local community issues and culture, because government, gangs and religion are all the same thing to me. Overseas, you got your Bâ€™s and Câ€™s, BaptistÂ and Christians, etc.; one side saying the other side is wrong and killing each other. Then in politics, you got your red and blue sides, Republicans and Democrats; theyâ€™re against each other. Then you come back to my neck of the woods and you got your Bâ€™s and Câ€™s, reds and blues, and guess what? Itâ€™s going down! The moral of the story is everyone has their own opinion, perspective, beliefs and so on. Itâ€™s nothing to kill or hate over. Do your own thing, stay juiced up and positive. Donâ€™t knock the next man because you canâ€™t understand him.
Whatâ€™s next for Juice Lee?
Iâ€™m more than a rapper; Iâ€™m a trendsetter and a messenger. I am like the chosen one. The words I say will change the world if I make them rhyme or sing it in a tone. I just havenâ€™t put them together yet. Iâ€™m tryingÂ to push my â€˜Juiced Upâ€™ movement, which is a positive movement, all over the world.
Did you want to give a shoutâ€“out to anyone?
Yes. Shout-outs to GOD, NUG Magazine, my family, and the S.M.F camp…Shmack, shmack!
â€“Thank you for your time and I wish you nothing but luck with your budding career.
You can find his music on Amazon or iTunes, or go to his website at www.notplayin.com to download it for free!