By Dylan Deprey
The Hustle is real. Who hasn’t heard that statement before?
Simply put, the word “hustle” means to hurry, rush or swindle. Football coaches have yelled it at stragglers gasping for air during the last lap around the field. Inebriated bar goers have woken to an empty wallet, having lost plenty of money from that person they thought they’d beat at the pool table.
Rap music has embodied the hustle, and made it its own. Whether it was selling drugs or selling mixtapes, hard work and dedication have thrust rap artist into worlds they would never have dreamed.
Since the age of seventeen years old Brandon “B Justice” Liston has had cars, but never owned them.
His uncle had a dealership license and brought him to an auction. It only cost $500 to drive off with his first whip. The very next day he sold it for triple the price. Since that first sale he has sold used cars for a living.
Although used car salesman is on his resume, it is only part of the hustle to support his real dream.
Local Milwaukee rapper/ producer B Justice has four mixtapes and countless shows under his belt, including opening for nationally acclaimed artists like Big Sean, Machine Gun Kelly and the legendary DJ Premiere, and he is still hungry for more.
B Justice’s Scholar Life Movement embodies the hustle to the fullest, and his most recent mixtape “Immortal” narrates his hunger to etch his name onto the list of rap legends.
“Whatever your dreams are, work the steps to get to it,” B Justice said. “It is about being smart about the moves you make.”
As a kid, he was encapsulated by the everbouncing beats Timbaland & Magoo flowed over. As he got older Jay Z’s raw lyricism and wordplay had caught his ear, and he found his own sound.
“If I could combine a monster beat and a nice cadence but stay lyrical, I’d have my perfect rapper,” B Justice said.
He added that as a producer and rapper he is meticulous about the beats he chooses.
“I get a lot of beats, but it’s got to be a gem. There’s got to be something special about it,” B Justice said.
As an artist, he strays away from listening to any rap music while working on his projects to cultivate his own creativity.
“I listen to stuff that has nothing to do with what I’m creating,” he said. “Like for example some guys love Drake, and they start rapping like him and don’t even notice it.”
His most recent project “Immortal” dropped in late August from his independent Scholar Guy Label. The 13-song project, hosted by Milwaukee’s own crooner Rico Love, was inspired while on the road following his performance at SXSW.
“We were listening to music and my road manager in his forties said ‘It’s crazy how him and people in their twenties and teens could sing the same song.’ Good music doesn’t die,” B Justice said.
That experience inspired him to get back into the studio and create his fourth project, which includes production by Bag$, Shank, Derelle Rideout, King Nov and features Bag$, Ray Rizzy and Jacob Latimore.
One of the songs on the tape, “Maybe you Should Sell Dope” contemplates the hustler’s ambition of doing whatever it takes to achieve a dream. Whether it’s selling drugs, cars, clothes or shoes, a plan and a dream can carry someone far especially if they put their mind to it.
“I’m like a church, it’s a judge-free zone,” B Justice said. “I don’t care what you did to get there, just get there and be smart about it.”
It is this mentality that has opened opportunities for B Justice to make music and tour across the country.
His upcoming two stop Immortal Tour begins Dec. 15 in Milwaukee at the Cactus Club, and ends on Sunset Blvd. in L.A. As usual he will be accompanied by longtime friend DJ Snack Daddy and hypeman, brother and biggest fan CT.
Even with countless tapes and shows in his repertoire, he said he still has a lot to learn as an artist.
“I feel like I’m still in school and learning as I go,” he said. “When I get to that point when I can do it full time and I have all the time in the world to run with my ideas, then I’ve graduated.”