JP Talks Blowing Up With "Bad Bitty," Putting On For Milwaukee, And Crafting His New Album "Coming Out Party"

BYAlexander Cole2.9K Views
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Exclusive: HotNewHipHop spoke to rising Milwaukee artist JP about his viral rise to fame, his biggest songs, his vocal stylings and influences, as well as his upcoming album "Coming Out Party" which drops on June 7th.

Back in March, before Kendrick Lamar and Drake started one of the largest feuds in hip-hop history, Milwaukee artist JP had us in a trance with an early contender for song of the summer. The song in question is none other than "Bad Bitty." Overall, this is a melodic Milwaukee low-end banger that makes you want to dance and replay the song over and over again. Initially, the song gained traction for A) being impossibly catchy and B) JP's charisma that oozed off of the screen.

While From The Block performances can sometimes prove to be static and unengaging, JP had those at home moving in their seats. From the scatted onomatopoeia to the hook that sticks in your ear and never leaves, this was a song that fans could not get enough of. Additionally, fans took immediate notice of JP's demeanor which led to people calling him an old soul. Some even joked that his age was a new number between 29 and 30. In actuality, JP is much younger. He currently attends the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point where he was most recently a sophomore on the basketball team.

JP is an artist who wears his influences on his sleeve. Growing up with his grandmother, he was put on to gospel music at an early age. His in-depth knowledge of gospel and music theory has served him well on his journey to becoming an artist. Moreover, he is also inspired by the Ethiopian Eskista dance, which is front and center in both his From The Block performance and his TikToks. Since the release of "Bad Bitty," Twitter has been inundated with AI versions of historical figures doing JP's moves, all while singing the song. If one thing is certain, no song has taken over the meme economy in 2024 more than "Bad Bitty." But to dismiss the track as a "meme song" would be utterly ridiculous. The song stands on its own merits, and if you've listened to JP's catalog, you know there is plenty more from where that came from.

In fact, on June 7, JP will release a new project called "Coming Out Party." He has been working diligently on this new body of work, and prior to its arrival, we got to speak to JP about his influences, the success of "Bad Bitty" and his first true viral hit "Juicey Ahh," as well as the Milwaukee rap scene that continues to grow at a rapid pace.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

HNHH: The last few months have been kind of a whirlwind for you. How has life really changed for you since that video came out?

JP: Well, since "Bad Bitty" came out, it's definitely been a humbling and grateful experience for me to go through. And really a reassurance to me as well. Just proving to myself and to the people that actually believe me that I was able to make another hit. I had gone viral about two years ago, on TikTok for the first time and I made about 60, like, I think was like 70 songs in between the first song I made into "Bad Bitty." So it took me 70 more songs before I was able to get that one again. So, like I said, a humbling experience. And I'm extremely grateful for that. Definitely, like I said, a lot of a lot of reassurance being brought down my way.

With "Juicey Ahh," you went viral as well. You've been talking about that song and how your cousin helped you with that one. Describe that process and how the song came about, especially with you finding the beat online.

Well, it was around Thanksgiving time. And you know, Thanksgiving, you go home, you with your family and everything, here are the kids, and he's like, let's make a song or let's make a low-end song. So he goes, and he fires the beat he puts up into it. And he was having some trouble. So I went out there, no idea what I was going to do on here. At first, it was just the part that you could only upload into a TikTok snippet.

Before you know it, the Milwaukee hype house page, 414 Hype House, picked it up and he posted it. And it started going viral in the city of Milwaukee and then before you know it, it just started going viral with the rest of the world. So that was the process on that. I finished the song in a McDonald's. I walked in and ordered a Double Quarter Pounder meal and by the time that meal was over, "Juicey Ahh" was finished.

A lot of your music is a melodic version of the Milwaukee low-end sound. I think it's very much a subgenre/subculture that is evolving online right now and maybe isn't really so much known to mainstream audiences, or even our audience who comes onto HotNewHipHop every single day. Could you explain what the Milwaukee low-end sound is and what makes it so unique?

I would say the biggest difference between Milwaukee low-end rap and every other genre of music, because I would personally say that it's like a genre... is the beats. So, the beat patterns and the claps that you hear...when you hear it, you automatically know. Like anybody that's from Milwaukee, you can tell a Milwaukee beat from any other beat, because of the low-end claps that you hear, the fast-paced claps that you hear, the consistent tap that you hear. That's really one of the biggest differences, so when you hear that beat, like before the song even starts, before you even hear any lyrics, you know, that it's a low-end beat just off the beat alone, like, you know, it's low-end.

I went viral for rapping with "Juicey Ahh" which was a low-end beat. And I understood that I had to feed the dog with music because they were loving that music. But I'm actually a singer. So what I did was I just brought the singing to the rap. And by being such an easy thing to do for me because like I already have that in my brain, it was no problem I can make it like that, like quick, fast and in a hurry. And I just go back, let's just go over things. But I never was thinking that I was doing something, like I was creating something, and trying to be different. I was just me. So that's kind of how it all panned out.

You were talking about how Milwaukee low-end is like its own genre. And you see a lot of the artists within the city working together. When you compare it to maybe the South, the East Coast, West Coast, what makes Milwaukee different compared to some of the other regional Hip-Hop movements out there? Maybe not even just based on the sound, but the culture around it.

Oh, that's a great question. Let's see. So, for me personally, being from Milwaukee, I can tell you that Milwaukee doesn't have a set genre of music or a set style of music that they do. When you hear somebody from Atlanta, you can tell they're from Atlanta. When you hear somebody from down south, you can tell that they're from where they're from, like from Louisiana, New Orleans, or something like that, you can tell that they're from there. You hear somebody from New York, you can tell they're from New York.

In Milwaukee, there is a plethora of artists that do different things, and they're all blown up in their own lanes. Everybody is different. You have artists that rap, and they're connected more to the streets. You have artists that rap and they're connected more to the children, you have artists that rap more towards the clubs and the women and things of that nature. So you can never really pinpoint the type of music that's coming out of Milwaukee, you just got to know that they're from here. And I think that right there's the biggest difference between us and everybody else. Because you just know that they're from Milwaukee, you can't just hear it. You have to do a background search.

You've done videos with 414 Big Frank before. Who are some of your other favorite artists from Milwaukee?

Frank is my brother. So I do have a bias. In my personal opinion, Frank is one of the best artists coming out of Milwaukee outside of myself. But that's just a personal bias. Outside of that, we have artists like Myaap, she's young and she knows how to go out there and put on for herself. Get in front of people and be a great performer. Chicken P. He's also a great artist and has been making music for years and years like since I was a kid, you know. He's been grinding hard, staying consistent with his craft. And he's more connected to the street. Steve Da Stoner is another Milwaukee artist that is good at going out to go advocate and put himself in front of people. And he's also a great performer.

Your vocal style is known for being unique and versatile. You've been vocal about growing up with your grandmother introducing you to more gospel influences. How do those influences really affect the way you approach your melodies and when you go and record a song?

That's also a great question. So, having that background, I would say it's more of a root for me because it was always something that I thought was normal. I never realized how out of the ordinary it was for a kid to have all of these things going on in his brain until I got older and got around other people. And I always thought that they could do it as well. But I found out that they, that it wasn't really like, some people actually have to work towards that. So I would say it definitely was more it was like rooted in me, I grew up watching musicals with my grandmother and watching musicals and listening to so much different type of music.

Like, I love country music. I grew up listening to country music, you know, I'm saying, and church and gospel music. And you know, everybody has a different type of church. At the church I went to, you know, they play certain chords that tug at your heartstrings, you know, so when you get used to being a kid, and listening to those chords and understanding what those chords do to the human body or to the people of the congregation. You can see the person on the organ strike a chord. The way the pastor is singing affects people a certain type of way. And I took it out. I liked that. I enjoyed that because it made me feel some type of way as well.

So when I approach music, when I'm making the music, I'm making music that puts me in that feeling. It's highly understandable when somebody listens to my music, especially to somebody with a foreign ear, they get to feeling some type of way. Sometimes the feeling is discomfort, just like, 'I don't know this. I've never heard anything like this before.' And then they listen to it a little bit more than they get beat by the book. I would say that's that's how I try to approach my music. I just try to have fun and be as true to the music as I can and not just follow anybody else's lead but do what truly makes me feel good. That's the whole goal that I'm going for.

As far as artists go, who are some of your biggest influences?

Well, from the gospel lane, you have artists like Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, and things of that nature. The R&B side, you have Luther Vandross, Jagged Edge. Singers like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding. Then even if you jump back to like, the Roaring '20s, you got Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. I never really banged Louis Armstrong like that until I got older because I didn't really understand his style. Because when you go back into that style, as far as like the Roaring '20s, or the '30s, everybody had that raspy vibrato in their voice. As a kid, I thought it was just like how the recording was, but I didn't figure out until I got older and actually watched the videos that that's just like the style of singing that they had. That's how I learned how to use vibrato listening to those people like Dean Martin. People that sing like they got that smooth, syrupy, penetrating type of voice, and it just seems like it's just coming out so smoothly. That's where I learned all of that stuff from.

You've also spoken about studying music in college and taking vocal lessons with Professor Susan Bender. What are some of the things that you learned from Professor Bender, specifically, that have helped you with your singing and your projection, and even maybe your live performances?

Well, professor Professor Bender told me that I was always a great performer. Like, regardless of how practiced my thing was, like, I never really used to practice on my music that much. But whenever it was time for me to sing, I would always sing great. And she always told me she can't teach that side of what I had.

But the things that she did work with me was like, posture. I had a bad habit of leaning forward whenever I was speaking. How to go reach for notes, and how to just let the notes carry over instead of straining to go reach for higher notes, things of that nature. How to just be cool, calm, collected, vocal, warm-ups. Really, all the little things. By the time I got to her, I already had what I had, but I just wanted to perfect it. She's a wonderful professional, she has a beautiful voice herself.

In other interviews, you've noted that you also incorporate scatting into your sound. How do you pull that off?

Well, to me, scatting isn't anything but really a riff. You can make anything a riff, you know? So, if I make a song, and anything that starts on one key and goes down to another is a riff or scat. It's just a matter of you implementing those syllables. So say, for instance, I say, 'Hey, huh, bow,' that bow, that's a riff, that's a scat. But all I did was just implement the actual words into their time frame right there.

So that's how I create my music. I don't think about what I'm gonna say, I know what I'm gonna say it's gonna come. Because what I say is, it's however, I feel at that point, what I'm thinking about is the placement of the melody. Once I find the melody, then I can create the harmony. Now I can build around it. So that's what I'm finding first. I'm always finding the melody, how am I going to go about the melody first?

In a lot of your music videos and TikToks, you draw inspiration from the Eskista dance. How important has it been for you to display these influences in order to be more engaging with your music? How do you feel like that has helped you cultivate your fan base and continue to grow it further?

So, me doing that, it brings a connection and it creates a bond with your supporters and your fans that you would get if you were all standing in the same room. When you're scrolling through your phone, right, and you see one of your favorite artists, and they're probably in the studio, or they're looking away from the camera, and they're just locked there, you automatically get the sense of, 'Damn, I wish I was there.' Or, 'Man I wish I could be there to see them.' Or maybe they're creating some fire right now. But if that same artist were to look at the camera, face, and dance with you, have fun with you, and smile with you, you're going to automatically engage with it and feel a bond with that artist.

That's the whole reason why I do what I do. And I personally feel that's why my music has blown up so organically. I didn't pay for a promo for this, I didn't have to do this, I didn't get any favors for this. Everything that's happening for me is purely organic. Because people feel like they know who I am. And when I'm making these videos, I honestly feel like I know who the people are, and I know what they want to see. The same thing I would do, or the video would be the same thing I would do. If I came and I seen you in person, I'm gonna laugh with you. I'm gonna play and I'm gonna be goofy. And I'm gonna dance with you.

One major part of your story is that you are a student-athlete. How has it been balancing being a student who also plays basketball who also makes music at the same time?

Well, it's not as hard as you'd think it would be. It does sound like a lot when you put it on paper. But it's honestly not that hard. I had a schedule for school. And I had a practice schedule. And right after practice or right after a live conference in the locker room, I would set up the camera to do a video. I made my music on my phone. So the same way you can spend two hours on your phone scrolling through TikTok, or you can spend two hours on your phone [in general], I just used that to make music.

How have your teammates reacted to your success?

They're all happy for me. They're all happy. I always go up there, and I see them. You know, It's summer now. So they're all branched off and going back home. And they're all happy and they're all overjoyed because they got to think about it. They've been with me before all of these songs. They were there. They were still supporting me. So they're definitely one of the biggest support groups, I got their families, some of the biggest supporters, I got my coaches. They all love to support me as well. And I love and support them. They've definitely played a huge role in my success. So shout out to them.

On June 7 you are dropping your album "Coming Out Party." What has the experience been like putting that album together?

It has been a fun experience. You're gonna know. You can expect a lot of good vibes, and great quality coming from this album. If there's one thing you're gonna get, it's gonna be good vibes and great quality. I definitely had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun making this album. Nothing but good for me here. It's definitely been a wonderful experience. I've met a lot of new people. I've met a lot of you know, a lot of great producers, I've met a lot of great people that I've really only ever seen on my TV screen and my phone. And never really thinking that they were real people, you know, you just always see them on the screen. But I've met them now and conversed with a lot of them.

I've been through a lot of good things in the past two months of me creating this album. So you're going to feel all of that. You're gonna feel like the kid that just met their idol. You're gonna feel like a kid like it's gonna give you all of those experiences gonna give you all of those when you go to this. I mean, it's a rollercoaster ride of good vibes man, and positiveness. That's the story that I'm going to convey to the people. So June 7 is going to be a day and we're excited.

Knowing that there are more eyes on your music now than ever before, does that change the way you approach making your album?

No. I am extremely confident. You gotta think about it. "Bad Bitty" is a song that I produced by myself in my dorm room and I was just feeling good when I made it. So I don't feel any pressure. I know there's going to be a lot of people tuning in. I know that everyone is going to be looking and it's going to be all eyes on the project. I'm not nervous at all. I wasn't in a rush to change anything. It's going to be great positive vibes and great quality. I know my supporters are going to love it, and I know I'm going to make some new supporters as well, so this music is for everybody.

What is one thing you want the fans to know about JP whether it be the music or yourself?

I want the people to know that I'm a nice person. I'm a friendly giant. I'm pretty big if you see me in person but don't hesitate to say something to me. I'll take a picture with you, I'll chop it up with you. I love meeting new people. I make music for the people and for myself.

About The Author
Alexander Cole is the current Managing Editor of HotNewHipHop. He started at HotNewHipHop back in 2018 where he began as a Sports and Sneakers writer. During this time, he has shown an expertise in Air Jordans, Yeezys, and all things that have to do with Nike. His favorite kicks are the Air Jordan 1 High OG, the Air Jordan 4, the Air Jordan 6, and the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 in the "Beluga 2.0" colorway. Although his collection might not be the biggest, he is always looking to add new styles to it. When it comes to sports, Alex has a particular interest in the NBA and the NFL. His favorite teams are anywhere LeBron goes, and the Kansas City Chiefs. As a Montrealer, the Montreal Canadiens hold a special place in his heart, even if they haven't won the Stanley Cup in his lifetime. Alex also works for the Concordia Stingers, where he provides play-by-play and color commentary for the football, hockey, and basketball teams His favorite hip-hop artists are Kendrick Lamar, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert.