Melodic rapper June3rd was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when he made the move from Kissimmee, Florida, to Los Angeles. He was a small-town boy, the sort of place where everybody knows everybody. But it wasn’t enough and, as an admirer of west coast rap from afar, he knew he had to make the leap.
“I want to say [my music] started when I was about 14,” he says. “That’s when I created my first song, in high school. I think it got real when I moved out to L.A. in like 2015. That’s when I could see what it actually took to be an artist. What it is to take your artistry to the next level. That’s when I figured out my sound as well, and who I was.”
Florida and California might have sunny weather and palm trees, but the similarities pretty much end there. Culturally, June3rd found himself in richer surroundings.
“Coming out here, it was a whole bunch of different creatives, and a whole bunch of different motivation,” he says. “I was seeing a side of life I hadn’t seen before. So that really motivated me to lock in and step my game up. I wanted to live this way. The scenery as well is completely different from where I’m from. It’s a big change, for sure.”
The artist had his eye on L.A. musicians such as DJ Mustard and Kendrick Lamar, and knew he wanted to be a part of what was going on here.
“I fell in love with that style,” he says. “I wanted to do that, even though I was from Florida. That was my main influence on just wanting to be out here. Being on the west coast, just seeing how cultured they were.”
June describes his sound as “melodic rap,” and he considers himself more a rapper than a singer even though he certainly sings on a lot of his material. The guy has an extensive range.
“I consider myself more of a rapper, just because that’s my background and that’s where I started,” he says. “Before I became melodic, I was just rapping. So I definitely consider myself more of a rapper, but I had to learn to develop and what notes to hit. Staying in my pocket, in my lane, with the melody. I just kind of mastered it and got good at it. That’s how I figured my sound out, just playing around with melodies, seeing what I can and can’t do vocally.”
His debut album, Jemeni, just dropped and he’s super-pleased with the way it turned out.
“I think it’s so beautiful because it really captures every single emotion that I’ve been going through for the past year since I started creating it,” he says. “Every song is exactly where I was in life. It was a lot of new things for me, like falling in love. That was a new thing for me, so you get to touch on that. Me battling whether I want to be in a relationship right now, whether I’m ready for that. Really touching on things as I’m living through them. I think that’s what made it special for me.”
The concept, he says, is that people don’t have to have everything figured out right now. We can cut ourselves some slack and learn from our mistakes.
“You have to accept that there’s many different sides to you,” he says. “Just embrace those things, and not be too hard on yourself. Because people constantly change their minds, they constantly make decisions that affect the next move, and that’s ok because you want to keep living through it. That’s why every song is exactly what I’m going through right now, because I’m talking about it and realizing that it’s cool and I’ll figure it out. What’s meant to be is meant to be.”
Fellow Floridian Rick Ross pops up on the song “Friends,” a collab that June describes as a blessing.
“He’s somebody that I always looked up to because we’re both from Florida,” he says. “Just to see his development throughout the years, and how long he’s been able to be in the game. It’s just mind-blowing, that somebody I grew up as a kid watching is on the same record as me. It was dope. I just remember doing the verse and I was just mind blown. Smiling. I made a video and all that. It still seems surreal to me and obviously that’s a fan favorite. Everything works out.”
That song, he says, is pretty self-explanatory. You need to appreciate the people in your life.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the people around me too,” he says. “That’s the main point to take away from this – appreciate the people around you, showing them love, and appreciating the fact that you can’t do this alone. You need those people in your life to take you to the next level. Then when you get there, that’s when everything comes full circle.”
So far, the reception to the album from fans and critics has been all good.
“I think it’s dope,” June says. “We’ve been taking the more natural approach to build that fanbase and that following, based off of me and getting people to gravitate towards me. So I like the approach, and we’re starting from the ground up. It’s beautiful to see everything develop before my eyes.”
Looking ahead, June will be releasing more music videos, promoting this album. He’s already thinking about the next project though – the guy never stops working. Meanwhile, we had to ask him where his unusual moniker comes from.
“My grandfather’s nickname was June, so when he passed away I wanted to keep that name alive,” he says. “My family always spoke about him. So it stuck and I ran with it. But that’s how Jemeni came about – everybody thinks I’m a gemini born June 3rd. So it’s a play on words.”
The Jemeni album is out now.