BRONX, NY – Joshua Torres, better known as rapper Jae-O, was born in Harlem, New York, 20 years ago and has been perfecting his craft for more than a decade. In his words, “rap is the only thing I know.” And he hopes to use that knowledge to put together a career that will help him escape from the streets, and eventually to help his friends and family escape, as well.
Jae-O’s music displays a unique sound and style that embraces his half-black, half-Puerto Rican heritage, as well as influences from artists such as 50 Cent, J. Cole, Kanye West and Drake.
“I’ve been in music since I was 5 years old,” he said. “We were always listening to music – either playing it in my household or going outside and seeing guys rapping on the corner. When I heard 50 Cent, though, that’s what really inspired me to sit down and start writing. Over the years I’ve developed all different types of vibes. I’m versatile. I can take it to the streets, or clubs, or make music for females, or whatever.”
Jae-O said most of his music tells stories of life on the streets. As a young man growing up in Harlem and the Bronx, he said he’s seen and experienced things that most men three times his age haven’t even imagined, let alone experienced themselves. He’s been inches away from dying three different times. The first was while in high school, he got off the bus and saw one of his close friends in trouble. He got caught up in the mix and got cut on his head, earning him 72 stitches. A couple of years later he was hit in the neck with glass and almost bled out. Altogether he said he has had more than 90 stitches on his upper body from violent encounters caused by living on the streets.
That lifestyle is one that he puts on full display with his new mixtape, “10456,” which is the zip code of his neighborhood. It’s a project that will highlight the variety of things that happen in his area – from police harassment to gang violence to young kids growing up without any guidance, and even into drugs and the violence that comes from that lifestyle.
“It’s about hustling and people trying to escape,” Jae-O said. “There are a lot of people all in one place who are all trying to get a better life. There’s a lot going on in that zip code. I could walk out my house right now and God forbid get hit in the head. You can’t be slipping out here. Some days are good, and some days are bad, and music is a way to get out and escape. The only way people are going to hear our voices is through the music. And then once you escape, you can help the people.”
Prior to the mixtape release later this summer, Jae-O has a single ready to drop. It’s called “Call Gang On Them,” and it features a street vibe with an edge, but which can still find life in the clubs. He said it’s a song that has a lot of good energy that people will want to dance to, and features a driving beat from producer Prodlem Beatz.
To listen to Jae-O’s music, or to follow him on social media, please visit:
YouTube: @Jae O
“Call Gang On Them”