What inspired the creation/launch of JENESIS Magazine?
My self and Brian Tolbert (my partner at the time) wanted to be entrepreneurs. Wanted to own something and not work for someone else’s dream. Connected with Jordan Beckham (photographer), Devin Thomas (programmer), Brandon Westbrook, Mario Dones, Dana Victoria, Jenifer Smith, Dena Robinson (writers at the time) and just started to get to work.
Who is your favorite artist (any medium) that you have interviewed so far?
I appreciate Rome’s work ethic and freedom to create. He’s in a good space and he attracts the situations that work best for him. Joe Budden is just one of my favorite artists. He was hilarious when we interviewed him at the time (he was beefing with someone of course and he threw a few funny shots.)
Who is one artist you would love to see on the cover of JENESIS Magazine?
Kanye West all day (laughs). He’s real inspirational, does what he wants, speaks his mind, attacks work with a well thought out vision and doesn’t quit.
How does JENESIS Magazine stand out from its competitors?
Well what we do over here is build relationships and actually want to work with people. Not just passing along features, like one off feature works or utilizing them only for their social currency. A lot of artists I’ve connected with that are younger here in Pittsburgh I’ve worked with, given advice, had on events of mine, etc. I’m very personal and I like to know what a person is doing past what is on the surface. People appreciate you actually treating them like a normal person.
Can you talk about BOOM Concepts and what it's all about?
BOOM Concepts is a creative hub that opened in 2014 in Pittsburgh. 1st, it’s home to JENESIS Magazine and my partner D.S. Kinsel. My business development partner Joi Rogers who owns Reinnovating.com works here along with D.S.’s partner Julie Mallis (they’re Magic Organs artist group). 2nd, we host art gallery events, music showcase events, community initiatives, pop-up shops, but more importantly we have micro-residents who we mentor yearly.
Do you see yourself and your team taking BOOM Concepts events around the country anytime soon?
Definitely. We’re just taking care of home now. Letting things build organically and also making sure we take care of the individuals who work with us here at the space. But, things are in the works with all of our connections being nationwide and interested in what we’re doing here in Pittsburgh.
Lets Get a Little Bit Deeper:
What advice would you give a younger you looking to launch a publication like JENESIS Magazine or a creative hub like BOOM Concepts?
I would tell my younger self to work harder to connect with someone who can help with business development. It has not only changed the way I attack things but also helps with my freelance work. You get to create better opportunities.
Why haven't (excuse me if I'm wrong) you ventured or moved out of Pittsburgh and brought your talents to large cities like NYC, LA, & Miami?
In earlier days I traveled a lot. Went to Miami, NYC, Dallas, Detroit, D.C. and networked hard. I’ve spent the most time in LA in 2009-2012 connecting with a lot of individuals who allowed us to start to build a larger readership, allowed me to get interns from other areas, and build long lasting relationships. Pittsburgh helped me grow up though. I’ve always wanted to help this area become great like the larger cities, because there are people deserving of the same chances and spotlight. But who knows, I still have time to move to LA and do some cool things out there. I love that area and the people.
Do you see yourself continuing on with your current projects (JENESIS/BOOM Concepts) or do you have bigger and different plans for the future?
I always have my hands in something (laughs). JENESIS has opened a lot of opportunities for me. BOOM is only 2 years in and I feel like people need this space in Pittsburgh but it can be duplicated in other areas. I feel like our platform will be around for a while because people can appreciate us looking for the little guys. I’ll just keep it going as long as I can and help build up more good individuals who are trying to succeed in whatever occupation.
Name a project (any type: album, event, clothing line etc.) You wish you could've been a part of or came up with the idea first.
I wish we could have continued Global Coolin’, an Earth Day event we connected with Broccoli City and Just Be Cool a while ago. The only event that had Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, Pac Div, Skeme, Casey Veggies, OverDoz., Tiron & Ayomari on one bill, ever and will never happen again (laughs). Shout out to Broccoli City on building up BCFest and continuing with some of the goals we had.
With a $500,000 dollar budget what type of event would you put on with BOOM Concepts and what changes or initiatives would you start with JENESIS Magazine?
There are too many things we could do (laughs). We would possibly bypass an event with BOOM and get a larger space to better serve everyone we work with. I would definitely like to change doing more events in other areas for JENESIS. Also, work on a full network. I wanted to have an umbrella that helped with design, music, and content. Not only for JENESIS but for individuals in need.
What are your thoughts of brands offering "exposure" as a means of payment?
If you mean pay to play, I don’t rock with that. That’s like promoters making up and coming artist pay for slots on shows. Let the artist at least get half of that money if they’re helping you make a profit by hitting the streets. You have to show people they’re worth something.
If a brand is offering to give exposure to someone who could benefit off the partnership, I think it’s a win/win. Depends on the partnership and what you think you’re worth.
Lets Get Nasty:
Describe the perfect woman?
I appreciate a woman who works as hard as me if not more. I don’t need a lot of attention so if she’s busy, I can appreciate that and whatever time she gives me. I like a relaxed woman also. I’m loyal so I won’t be off doing some wild shit that she will have to worry about. I’m attracted to all types of women. Short, tall, short hair, long hair, love’em all (laughs). Oh yeah, she has to have nice teeth. I always wait for a woman to smile or talk so I can see what she’s working with hahaha.
Ass or boob man? (Or any other feature)
I think as a child I definitely was all boobs. As an adult I can appreciate a nice pillow soft ass. It doesn’t have to be crazy but you want to be able to cuff something sometimes (laughs).
Name 3 ladies: The one you take home to mom, the freaky one, the untouchable (the woman whose so beautiful, powerful, amazing, you just want to be in her presence)
Take Home To Mom: I’m going to leave this one blank haha. Only reason being because there’s a gauntlet of women you’d have to go thru, not just Mom. I have a good group of protectors.
The Freaky One: Rihanna of course haha
The Untouchable: Nia Long is the greatest woman of all time
Sex on the first date?
If the energy is there, why not? Long as it’s safe.
Opinion on $200 dates?
This is an annoying ass topic that just continues to peak around the corner and wave hi unexpectedly on late night Twitter (laughs). It doesn’t really matter how much you spend on a date, if you’re feeling a person and you want to spend the bread, do what feels good.
Do you get down in the DM's?
I have been approached in the DM’s before (laughs). Actually a woman and I dated for a while from her saying something initially in a Twitter DM. Got to shoot your shot.