North Carolina has long been searching for its first major Hip Hop star. Some have flirted with success, while others have floundered in the masses. Blackstorm has worked his way as being one of the elite hip hop artists in North Carolina, and he plans to represent his state to the fullest.
James Barnes, aka Blackstorm, was born May 26, 1981 in Jamaica-Queens, NY but grew up in Bushwick-Brooklyn, NY. At the young age of 13, he decided that music was going to be a major part of his life so he decided that he would start DJing. Growing up Bushwick, he became good friends with ‘The Lost Boys’. Being a DJ in NY, he ran across many rappers, so after a few years of rapping he decided that it was time to step out from behind the turntables and in front of the microphone. During his teen years, he would DJ block parties for the neighborhoods as well as local high schools and many different clubs throughout Queens and Brooklyn. He is a friend and client of the famous NY entertainment lawyer Steve Mandel. One of his most notable experiences growing up DJing was when he had the opportunity to DJ a major event for the National Osteoporosis Foundation in which Steve was a valued member. As an artist, Blackstorm has had the honor to open for artists such as Young Jeezy, T.I., Ashanti, Ruff Endz, 3LW, Music Soulchild and many more.
In 2006, Blackstorm decided that it was time for a change and decided to head south to Raleigh, North Carolina. In the 4 years that he has been here, he has become one of the top artists in the state. Blackstorm’s hard work and dedication to his craft help establish his spot in NC and was culminated by winning the Achievement Award at the first annual North Carolina Underground Music Awards and was nominated for the same award at the first annual Carolina Music Awards. It was quite a feat for someone who had only been in the state for not even two years. Since winning the award, he has produced and collaborated on tracks for the majority of all Carolina artists. He has always worked with the majority of the top DJs in the Carolinas.
Blackstorm met a young up and coming DJ by the name of Nikki Nicole (current radio personality at WQOK in Raleigh) when he first moved to the Carolinas and only after a short time she predicted that in the next few years Blackstorm would be one of the top artists to blow from the Carolinas. This friendship has continued which has led to Nikki hosting several of Blackstorm’s mixtapes. In 2008, Blackstorm released his first mixtape ‘Im the Boss Pt 1’ and in 2009 ‘Im the Boss Pt2’ which both of them selling over 5000 units on the streets of the Carolinas. His latest release ‘Im So TriCoastal’ has reached over 6700 downloads in less than two months. With the amount of support that he has been receiving from the drop of his latest street album, his new single ‘Hot Like Fire’ is sure to help make him that Carolina artist ready to put the state in the spotlight.
Blackstorm is ready to take his career to the next level and is currently in the process of scheduling his first independent tour which will take him to over 40 cities over the course of the next 4 months. The tour will be used to promote both the new street album ‘Im So TriCoastal’ as well as his new single ‘Hot Like Fire’. Many people have said that artists from the Carolinas do not have a chance to make it as a major entertainment professional and Blackstorm is poised to change everyone’s opinion about that.