Meet J-Mac {@jmactheproducer} and Phocuz {@phocuz} ...The Gatekeepers of Good Vibes

June 12, 2017





Remember that Saturday night, during the summer of your senior year in high school? Your ’96 Honda Civic was full of gas, someone’s older brother snuck you and your friends a bottle of cheap Bacardi and the world was yours…..yea that feeling. That’s a vibe. While its true vibes can be good and bad, the good ones never really go away; those are the moments you chase forever.


A duo out of North Carolina is making it their creative business to help you get that feeling back.  Coming out of Edenton, North Carolina producer J-Mac teamed up with Elizabeth City emcee/songwriter, Phocuz and created one of the must have indie projects of 2017.


SheBuzzin got a chance to meet with the masters of chill and talk about everything that went into what they call a “professional demo” rather than an EP “Vibes R Eternal”.


Solid Foundations…

There’s something to be said about the environment someone’s talent is nurtured in, and J-Mac and Phocuz had one of the best. The team met while they were in college, J-Mac at NC State and Phocuz at NC Central. Outside of regular school courses the guys took part in a music production lab taught by the illustrious, legendary producer 9th Wonder of Little Brother. Working with someone of 9th’s caliber certainly influenced the style of J-Mac as a producer and Phocuz as a lyricist. Their use of soulful, jazz influenced beats and crazy samples of 90’s classics are a direct reflection of their superb grooming.


 Thank God for Auntie….

“I hated 2pac as a kid, but my aunt loved him, so by force I listened and then I grew to admire his creativity, that was one of my earliest introductions into hiphop.” I asked Phocuz and J-Mac who they looked to for influence in their respective fields and the answers were surprising yet justifiable. For production J-Mac listed Just Blaze, Pharrel and of course 9th Wonder. Phocuz noted Nas, Jay Z, and Beanie Single as his influences with being an emcee. On their 7-track EP it’s clear they have a knack for creative wordplay over epic, nostalgia filled beats; keeping them right on board with the ones they look up to.



We Are the Gatekeepers….

With artists such as J-Cole and the aforementioned 9th Wonder and Little Brother, many breakout NC artists are already expected to give term paper thesis style raps on every track. J-Mac and Phocuz don't want to be pushed into that box….but they don't mind standing around it. “I think it’s up to us to create and stamp a sound of NC, create an identity” “Whether it’s lyrical or anything else, if we create it and have a wave of artist that perfect that sound, no one can deny the talent that could come from NC.”  J-Mac added, “true enough every artist might not sound like Cole or even Phocuz but having them us to show the range of our area is needed, and I think we can handle that responsibility.”



Who They Do it For…..

When I asked the guys whom they hoped to grab with their music their answer was an astounding…everyone. “We came from small towns in NC, we’re telling the stories of regular people” J-Mac stated, Phocuz then added “On our single “On My Mind” I mentioned my bus pass that I really had, me and my friends were really going through those situations, where we had to find the balance between music and a relationship. It’s something for everyone.” “Our main goal was making relatable timeless music.” I quickly told the guys I think their mission was accomplished.



Certainly different in approach, these two aren’t taking any shortcuts. Phocuz who is a close friend of new Epic Records signee Swift and J-Mac who still has works with 9th Wonder aren’t looking for homeboy hookups. They want to be respected as creatives and leaders in a movement that give their home a sound and a voice, all while creating some never-ending vibes along the way. Their “professional demo” (as they call it) Vibes Are Eternal is available now on Live Mixtapes.  










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