Music has always been a family business for the East Coast born, Detroit raised J.R Le Mon Bey. Professionally known as JRGotTheHiTS, he’s been making waves in the industry since a youth. Decades later, the now hit making producer, song writer and band member has been making his mark in creative spaces earning a respectable name for himself. Thissomebull.com caught up with JRGotTheHiTS for some insight on how he became this extraordinary talent.
TSB: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
JRGOTTHEHITS: What up doe! Peace, love & light to all my people. I am that I am, J.R. Le Mon Bey. I write songs, produce records, play drums, and generally navigate creative spaces as JRGotTheHiTS.
TSB: You come from a musical family on both sides, could you tell us about your family’s history in music?
JRGOTTHEHITS: I grew up on the east coast before I moved to Michigan when I was six years old. My family has roots in different parts of the music industry, depending on which side I’m speaking about. My father was a pioneer in the regional gospel music scene that came out of the 80’s; he wrote music and directed for several performance choirs, so like most musicians my age, I grew up completely immersed in sound between choir and musician rehearsals. My mother’s family was rooted in more contemporary styles, some of them working with Motown before they left Detroit for the west coast. My upbringing is reflected in both my sister (Dena Nicole Bass) and I who both take creativity and spirituality very seriously. She however took more after my dad’s side of the family. Right now, I’m pushing the legacy forward with a collaboration project with a close cousin from NY, Yuneer Gainz. We started out with me being featured on production for several songs he released as part of his weekly series Monday Gainz, and now we’ve progressed to being almost done with our project to be released before the end of the year. You always hope that it feels like you’re working with family, but not even having to worry about something like that makes the work even better. We already locked in.
TSB: Now let’s talk about your musical journey, when did you know, you were going to take music seriously?
JRGOTTHEHITS: That’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know if there was ever a time where I wasn’t serious about music, but the question makes me think about graduating high school and enrolling in Eastern Michigan University, taking a major in music. It felt like a really mature decision, but I also realized, by that time, I had NO clue of what it meant to be a professional musician. I learned that by experience. In the trenches. I didn’t end up finishing my degree, but I did learn how to present myself as a professional by trying my hand at curating live music events, becoming a touring musician, and founding my own publishing company AGiLE SOCiETY, alongside my brother, AiRiN ARTiSAN.
TSB: How did you come up with your stage name?
JRGOTTHEHITS: Another great question. Dre Butterz and I were in a writing session, and he said it as an ad lib. I style the phrasing of my name as one word in tribute to John 1:1 “In the beginning there was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” I like to think of that as a nod to my roots and an acknowledgement to God-ALLAH for always being with me.
TSB: Are you still working with your band, If so, tell about what y’all have been working on.
JRGOTTHEHITS: I had a lot of fun this summer playing with My Detroit Players (Emily Rogers, Zac Land, Maestro Williams, Nick Speed, Duminie Deporres, Armando De Jesus). We released a limited-edition vinyl single called Emergency/Crisis right before the Panda Mic. The songs feature Kid Vishis and a French rapper named Dgiz and that project is becoming legendary in its own right. With this being our first summer back outside, it’s been fun performing those two songs plus some of the others we’ve written since 2020. We kicked off the spring with a performance at the Size Up Conference at University of Michigan powered by the U of M Design Corps, then spent the first part of the summer as the resident band for Tuesday nights at Woodbridge Pub in Midtown Detroit. In addition, we were able to support events like Allied Media Conference and Detroit Is Different: A Lot of Studio fundraiser as headlining talent. We also just did Arts, Beats, and Eats. We’re all equally busy with individual projects, but we make time for working together because we’re really our best collaborators.
TSB: How was it collaborating with T-Henn?
JRGOTTHEHITS: “Biggie Meal: Food For Thought,” was a real dope experience. It’s always a good idea to remember what got you into the game and pay homage to the legends. The Biggie/Detroit connection is something that we openly celebrate thanks to the “stink pink gators” line in “Hypnotize” which ultimately provided the name for my band, My Detroit Players, but I think it’s’ even deeper than that sometimes. It was easy to build around T-Henn’s charisma behind the mic because it was something that Big was known for. T- Henn kept it fresh and stayed true to his idea of Detroit. It’s work I’m proud of for sure.
TSB: What are you currently working on?
JRGOTTHEHITS: Along with finishing up Plant Based with Yuneer Gainz and launching our next round of single releases in September, I’m completing my instrumental album Return of The People Mover. I’d been working on developing my house music sound over the years, and about one year into the pandemic, my A&R and good friend Saint De Angelus approached me about collaborating on a project that projected Detroit into a future where the train that we depend on to get around the downtown area finally reappears. I’d already had the music, but I’ve spent the last year or so reconfiguring and updating ideas, inviting my friends to collaborate, and just taking my time to enjoy the process. I’m grateful it seems like we waited until just the right time to release it.
TSB: Contact information?
email interview, booking, or studio requests to email@example.com.
Conversation Conducted By: S.L Jackson (www.1sljackson Santoine@thissomebull.com)