Brooklyn MC J-Live
first garnered notice with the release of his 1995 single "Bragging Writes." Delivering his thoughtful lyrics with confidence and ease, J-Live
's rapping was strong and his soul-inflected grooves immediately appealed to fans of underground hip-hop. A year later he followed up with another hit, "Hush the Crowd," and started to generate a palpable buzz. With tracks produced by luminaries such as Prince Paul
, DJ Premier
, and Pete Rock
, the release of J-Live
's full-length debut, The Best Part
, was hotly anticipated and the future looked promising for the ascendant MC. At this point, though, J-Live
was beset by a host of troubles. Amidst constant label shuffling and plagued by a series of illegal bootlegs, the release of The Best Part
was delayed for five years. There was some talk that J-Live
was behind some of the bootlegs -- a few of which were of extremely high quality -- and the ongoing saga became something of an underground legend. In the interim, J-Live
worked as an eighth-grade teacher in Brunswick, NY, and continued to embellish and refine his debut. He kept good company, making cameo appearances on strong albums like Handsome Boy Modeling School
's So...How's Your Girl?
and J. Rawls
' The Essence of J. Rawls
. The Best Part
finally enjoyed its official release in the fall of 2001. All of the Above
followed one year later, and 2003 brought a two-part mini-LP tribute to his early days, Always Has Been
and Always Will Be
released his third LP, The Hear After
, in 2005 on the Penalty (Ryko) label and followed up with the Reveal the Secret
EP in 2007. Then What Happened?
debuted on BBE Records the following year.