Jus Gamble is the type of artist who you can tell has that certain “it” to him. His energy to create is infectious. His attention to detail is something that would benefit a lot of young artists in the industry. And his appreciation for working with local talent is deeply admirable.

The Boston-based producer recently released his debut album Gamble Royale, which is full of Gamble’s signature precision and a healthy dose of local collaborations (listen in full below). You’ll find him toying with different sounds than maybe you’re familiar with from him, and you can tell this is an exhibition in appreciating the art while pushing himself as much as he can.

We had been looking to speak with him for a while, and when he gave us the notice that his album had dropped, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to get to know him better. Through our discourse we found out he had some unique musical influences growing up based on his geography, the importance of artists in a politically shaky environment, and what keeps him going.

Before we go too far, what’s your background with production? How long have you been at it, and when did you start getting serious about it?

I’ve always been into the instrumental side of music, teaching myself to play the guitar at the age of nine by just looking up guitar tabs online. I first began getting into music production back when I first started writing my own raps in high school and basically just needed a platform to record music on programs like Magic and Garageband. I had always attempted to pursue the lyrical side of the game in becoming a rapper, until my senior year of college when I purchased my first drum controller.

Shortly after this not only did I realize that this may be more of my lane, but if I wanted to truly become better, it was going to take time and true dedication. I knew that I needed to drop a lot of my time from songwriting and focus my musical energy towards not only production but audio engineering as well.

Related to that, do you remember a song or beat or rhythm that you heard that made you think, “Yep. I want to do this,”?

Not a song or beat specifically, more just followed the good energy I seemed to always feel whenever I was creating music. From the day I started making beats up until now, I still find that one of the most rewarding things is making something new and then being able to go back and listen to it the next day.

When thinking of the Boston hip-hop/rap community, off the top of my head, I can think of Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, and Ed O.G. as some of the earlier guys. What was it like coming up in a city that’s better known for classic rock radio sounds than producing beats?

Though I have lived in the city for the past four years, I grew up outside of the city where the rap community seemed to be even scarcer. Even though my most memorable albums as a kid are Nelly’s Country Grammar and Lloyd Banks’ Hunger for More, growing up a lot of the music I learned to play on guitar was usually from a lot of big name classic rock joints.

Bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Neil Young mixed in with some Bob Marley here and there. Classic rock was not my go to music to listen to by any means, but these were songs that my peers at the time would enjoy playing so I naturally began learning and playing these with them.

It wasn’t until high school that I began to truly tap into my potential as a hip-hop “artist.” We all know that Boston isn’t the “go-to” place you relocate to make it in hip-hop, but I believe it helped by giving me exposure to other genres before finding my home in music.

And an even bigger shadow – an uncomfortable topic that just needs to be addressed more in all of music, really – Boston isn’t known, historically anyway, for being the most cultural or racially sensitive place. Did you/do you notice any of that, or does it seem like minds are opening to different ideas?

I am fortunate that I am trying to build my musical network and fan base in today’s Boston, rather than Boston 10-15+ years ago. My father, who grew up in St. Lucia, lived in Boston for a few years while he went to college. Today when I mention parts of Boston I hang out at, he reminds me that there was a point in time not too long ago where black people like myself just couldn’t walk around safely due to the racism that existed.

Today, I feel blessed that this is not the case in my eyes. Though there is still separation in the city when it comes to which demographics live where, the Boston culture has come a long way, and I can personally say that the people I’ve met in the music industry out here only care about your talent, your passion, your network, and your brand.

Fast-forwarding now, it seems like I saw something new from you weekly on indiehiphop.net. Where does the drive come from? I mean, that’s a lot of work.

Simply put, it comes from the drive and motivation I have to not only be better but to put out the best music possible. I’m 26 now, and I don’t think that I truly began to take my music production seriously until I was 22, so in my head I’ve always known that if this is what I truly want to be great at. I need to go all out right now! Even after these past four years, I still have the same mindset – I don’t have the same head start as some of my fellow artists who have been producing music consistently since they were a teenager.

Back in 2014 I started a trend called Gamble on Tuesday Beats (#GOTB), where I would release my newest instrumentals to my Soundcloud page on Tuesdays. I’m proud to say that just before I dropped my album I reached the 75th week of #GOTB, without missing a single Tuesday for the last 25 weeks. I began this trend because I personally know that when I give myself a deadline, I will make it happen! Whether it means I’m pulling an all-nighter or sacrificing sleep for the entire week, I will do it because I want to make the people who truly believe in me proud to support my music.

So what’s the process been like getting to Gamble Royale?

The idea for Gamble Royale came to me at least three years ago. At that point I probably believed that I was not too far away from the final tracklist. With that in mind, I knew even from the beginning I was not going to put out the project until I knew it would be something I am proud of. This meant two things to me.

One, I wanted to make sure that my beats were not trash. Two, I wanted to make sure that I collaborated with truly talented artists on the project. So between the birth of the idea and leading up to the release of the project, I made sure I did things that would give me more recognition in the city, and the way the music world works now, on the internet as well.

During this time I looked to work with as many lyricists as possible to not only gain content/material for the project, but to tighten up my skills until I knew I was ready to release something with a professional sounding quality.

At eighteen tracks, the album seems long at first site (just rare to see something with that many tracks these days, which is a nice change), but it flows really well. And considering how much work you have, was it difficult to wind it down to that? How’d you settle on eighteen?

It was and it wasn’t. I had been collecting songs for about three years to complete the project, and at the end of the day, the majority of the tracks I chose were ones that I had made in the past year. I put this project out to show people my versatility as a producer.

My goal going into the project was to show everyone that I am not just a hip-hop guy, but an artist you can go to for an entire range of sounds. When looking back at all of the tracks I had collected over the past three years for the project, it was easier to select the most recent ones because to me the instrumentals just felt a lot cleaner as I fine-tuned my skills over time.

How was it collaborating with the folks involved? There are good bit of features – mostly folks from MA, or how did you get in touch with the people you worked with? Are there any tracks that you’re particularly excited about or feel like they’re the highlights of the album?

I remember watching an interview of one of my favorite producers, The Alchemist, and he said that until he gets a rapper on one of his beats, he feels it is incomplete. I feel that I have truly taken that mentality when it comes to my music. So as much as I love making a beat by myself, to work with all of these artists was not only a great experience but made me that much better as a music producer.

The majority of the features were through connections I have made around Boston and greater Boston through attending events, entering competitions around the city, and just overall networking. I had originally planned to put a couple songs on the album that were from strictly from connections that I had made online, but when I kept on adding more and more local talent to the project, I felt it best to show my fans that are closest to me that I am working with the local cats they enjoy listening to already.

Tracks that stand out to me personally are the R&B tracks I have on the project featuring Taylor Kelly and Ballad. Not only do I really enjoy those tracks, but it keeps me excited to move further into that R&B/soul direction as a producer.

Looking forward, 2017 is going to be… something else. Given how things are going in the world, especially in the US, how do you see art, music, production, especially with what you’re involved it, being affected by the climate? How can artists be a positive force moving forward?

With the dramatic end to 2016 with events like the Presidential election, I expect artists to continue taking a stand for their true beliefs and to speak for the people who do not have a voice to connect themselves with the general public. From police brutality to Black Lives Matter, I think it has been great to hear my favorite artists speak on their take on these sensitive subjects. For 2017, I hope that as a producer I may do my job in delivering a platform for them to speak on and be a part of something truly bigger than music.

As for your album and yourself, what do you have planned to promote it? Any chance of you hitting the road or doing shows or production gigs?

I was fortunate to have qualified for a Grand Finale in this year’s Stew Beat Showcase, which took place on December 4th, as well as being asked to participate in another iStandard Producer Showcase event December 6th. I personally see Boston as a great training ground for artists, and my strategy for promoting is to continue improving my skills and continue to build my presence here in my home state by showing face and remaining on the musical radar when it is very easy to fade away.

And how about in general? Do you already have work you’re looking to get out, or are you going to focus on this album for right now? What’s 2017 have in store? Or should I ask, what do you have in store for it?

For 2017, I am looking forward to improving, which means continuing to bang out as much music as I can and to keep building relationships in order to improve my collaborations going forward. I would like Gamble Royale to remain my large body of work that my supporters and future supporters may enjoy listening to at least for the majority of the year.

I am looking forward to putting out a lot more singles and hopefully multiple EPs this upcoming year. And as I mentioned earlier, I started as a lyricist when I first entered the game back in high school, and I would not be surprised if the songwriter in me decided to come out sooner than later. But all in due time – my goal is to be consistent. “Be brave enough to travel the unknown path, and learn what you are capable of.”