Vevo, the world’s leading music video network, announces CJ as the next artist in their Ctrl. series with performances of “Whoopty” and “BOP” premiering today. Vevo’s Ctrl series highlights the work of hard-hitting, cutting-edge musicians making an impact in today’s music scene – both emerging and established. These artists demand attention, and Vevo’s Ctrl shines a deserving spotlight. CJ’s performances follow sessions from Rick Ross, Common, Rapsody, Fat Joe, Jeezy, Jadakiss, Fabolous, A$AP Ferg and more.
CJ is the future of rap. In the summer of 2020, his darkly booming, subtly grooving “Whoopty” rose from Staten Island obscurity to the national spotlight in mere weeks, and with good reason. Rapped in the burgeoning star’s lean, percussive style, the track is undeniably great and brilliantly catchy, as threatening as it is stylish, gritty but full of promise—all qualities that CJ himself embodies. The fact that he hails from a borough that hasn’t produced a major rap act since the Wu makes his rise an even greater testament to his skill and charisma.
CJ’s used to being underestimated—born and raised in Staten, he’s had to play with a chip on his shoulder his whole life. “There’s not too much motivation out there,” he says. “You really don’t have no hope.” Driven and resilient, though, CJ found both.
Everything changed in 2020, when “Whoopty” exploded. By that point, drill had become the dominant sound of New York and, arguably, of hip-hop, period. CJ had taken an affinity to it. He also had no way of recording since COVID shut down the city’s studios for months, so he wrote in isolation. “Whoopty” was a culmination of that time, sure, but it burst out all at once. He found the beat on YouTube, took it to his first studio session since lockdown, and freestyled his first hit record. A week later, at the end of July, he dropped “Whoopty” along with the video, and labels were knocking a week later. At the encouragement of his 16 year old sister, CJ downloaded TikTok and threw together a dance challenge for the song that spread like wildfire, furthering it’s reach.
CJ plans to continue dropping singles and slowly build out his sound, releasing “BOP” in January 2021. As Staten Island’s first star in decades, he aspires to be a dynamic, well-rounded MC. “When the time is right, I’ma pivot and change direction,” he says. It’s all in service of his borough, which he hopes to elevate into culture as a vibrant and important part of the city. “I definitely feel like I’m helping Staten when it comes to the sound,” he says. And if the industry demands that he shroud his origins, he’s going to be even louder. “Every chance I get, I gotta shout out my hometown. That’s what molded me, that’s my background, that’s where I came from,” he says. “I just love the fact that I can put Staten Island on my back. It’s a beautiful thing.” “Whoopty” and “BOP” are now streaming on all platforms.
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