JJ Money is a Canadian rapper originating from Rexdale, Toronto. He is amongst a select number of industry professionals who have risen from the community’s platform—including Ghetto Concept, K'naan, Jelleestone, Rheostatics and Bruce McDonald. In 2009, JJ was signed to G7 Records (G7) by the label’s President Kwajo Cinqo—artist, producer, CEO and member of two-time Juno Award winning hip-hop group Ghetto Concept. His premiere single “Swaggberry” featuring Reema Major, was released in 2011 prior to the launch of his debut hip-hop mixtape Time Is Money.
Surfacing from a community with a steep reputation in Toronto, JJ Money was brought up and immersed in tough living conditions under which he was drawn to hustling on the streets as a means of overcoming the ills of hood life. Throughout the years, JJ managed to successfully build a high street profile which helped coin his street alias "JJ". Living out street dreams, JJ’s lifestyle was greatly influenced by his older cousin and guardian.
While also skilled as a basketball player, JJ was led to pursue a career in the music industry as a hip-hop artist by the name of JJ Money. His past motivation from a life of hustling carried into his musical pursuit. Having grown up watching Kwajo Cinqo of Ghetto Concept shape history in the Canadian music industry, JJ fell under the direction of one of Canada’s most influential hip-hop artists. Kwajo—also a friend of JJ’s older cousin, came to be a driving force behind him as an upcoming artist. Though he had known Kwajo as a teenager it was not until 2008 that JJ had the opportunity to meet with him in regards to his musical career. Finding his niche in music out of curiosity, JJ was encouraged by Kwajo to seriously further his rapping venture as an artist of G7 Records Inc., later signing to the urban entertainment label in 2009.
In spite of JJ Money only pursuing music as an artist over the past three years, it has always been a present element for him throughout life. This is evident, having grown up listening to his uncle, a Jamaican-Canadian reggae artist named Leroy Sibbles. Sibbles sang lead for the Heptones during the reggae music era of the 1960s and 1970s. Furthermore, residing in Rexdale, JJ's early stages of artist development took place at Elmbank Community Center in Jamestown, where his first recordings were produced. Working alongside producer Magicfinga Wong, JJ was instructed on the essential structure of song development. Undoubtedly, his career has also been impacted by the successes of hip-hop artists from his own Rexdale community. As an artist whose music is a reflection of street realities, JJ has been compared to other hood rappers such as Rick Ross and Lex Luger “but with a Canadian twist”.
With the 2011 release of his debut rap mixtape Time Is Money, JJ's first single titled “Swaggberry” features label mate Reema Major. JJ has collaborated with rappers Kwajo Cinqo, Richie Payso and LP Da Original, and has also opened for Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller in Montreal on The Incredibly Dope Tour.
Time Is Money (2011)