Rayven Justice puts on for all the R&B singers to come out the Bay. The East Oakland native found music to be his calling at an early age, choosing his iPod over friends during his high school days. Through his headphones, he’d bump the likes of Donell Jones, DeVante, Pretty Ricky, and Pleasure P — giving you a taste of his old school R&B influences. Read more…
When it comes to the music industry, Rayven states, “I’ve done my 10,000 hours as far as being an artist, and now I’m familiar.” It was breakout singles “Hit or Nah” and “Between Your Thighs” that had the Bay Area airwaves going crazy — and now he returns with his most explosive single yet: “Straight Up” featuring E-40 and Mozzy. In fact, fans can even look forward to a joint tape with Mozzy, and another one from Bay Area legend Too Short.
For those who don’t know, who is Rayven Justice?
Rayven justice is a singer/artist from Oakland, California. 28-years-old, African American, you feel me. Young, black, sexy individual, grinding and doing his thang.
Growing up in East Oakland, what were you seeing growing up?
I mean, it was like any struggle that a person who’s been through the struggle had been through. It had its ups and downs. Lost my little brother… happened back in 2010, 2011. He was 17. But nonetheless, it made me who I am today. From East Oakland, California, we got a lot of legends out where I’m from such as Too Short, Keyshia Cole, the list goes on. Tony! Toni! Toné! It’s a bunch of people. Those names molded me and helped me love the art of music. I’m pushing the envelope just like they did.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
My dad always had me around it. I didn’t take it serious of course when I was a kid but when I hit my freshman year of high school, that’s when I decided I’m going to really take it serious. I was inspired by Chris Brown actually, around that time. The group The Pack, they were out too. [laughs]
I was obsessed with The Pack.
Shout out to The Pack. Those guys, they were trendsetters in the Bay. I looked up to them. Chris Brown had the R&B essence, I matched both together and I created me. I’ll never forget that, that’s how I knew the kind of artist I wanted to be. I wanted a bit of that Pack vibe, I wanted that Chris Brown vibe, and I wanted to stir it up. I just ran with it and here I am today, doing my thang.
What does the Hyphy movement mean to you?
Well I didn’t do music in the Hyphy movement era. I was a connoisseur of it. I was a fan of it. I could live it in that essence so me being involved in the Hyphy movement was dope. Hearing the artists, being in parties, seeing the vibe of how dancing was, the essence in everything. As soon as I decided to be an artist and I thought about those days, it was easy to talk about it because I was with it. That definitely helped me out and molded me to the direction and the music I wanted to partake in as soon as I figured out I wanted to be an artist.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
It’s my real name, shout out to my dad. I started off with other names at first: Fresh Kid, Fresh Kid RJ, then I dropped the Fresh Kid and just went with RJ. Then people called me RJ the Singer for awhile. Then one of my friends just sat me down and was like “what’s your real name?’” I’m like “It’s Rayven Justice.” He’s like “let me see your ID,” because he didn’t believe me. I gave it to him, he’s like “yeah bro, you should roll with this as your name.” Soon as he said that, I’m like “alright, let’s try it!” When I tried it, everybody kind of grabs to it. It was ringing [snaps] and everybody liked it.
You just unleashed That’s So Rayven. Talk about your creative process behind that one.
Well when I was a kid, everybody teased me for the name. [chuckles] When I was in the studio, I was thinking “what could the theme be for my next project?” That immediately hit me, I’m like “oh! That’s So Rayven. I gotta run with that man.” Because it haunted me, but it’s cool now that I’m an adult. I could twist it and make it something cool that I like. The project was dope. I wanted to cater to the females on this one because I dropped an album a couple months prior called E.S.O., it was more street. I wanted to represent where I was from, my city.
On the EP, I wanted a different direction as far as me just singing to the ladies and cater back to my core fanbase. But I got a dope female artist on a song called “Want You” with Janine. She’s super dope, shoutout Janine. As a matter of fact, she reached out to me. She’s like ‘I like your music, I think we should do something.” I’m like, “Let’s do it!” I love doing duets.
Immediately, I went to get a beat ready. I was listening to a few beats and I found the perfect beat. In my head, I’m like “Let me see if she likes it.” You know, her sound is different. I wanted to see if she’d be able to be comfortable being on the sound that I’m particularly doing, so I sent her the beat and I was a little nervous. Then she hit me back like, “alright it’s cool, I’ll do it now.” She knocked it out and sent it to back, she’s like “what do you think?” I’m like “this is fire!” I knocked my two verses out immediately, that was magic. Shout out to her for that, we got a gem out there.
What did it mean to get Yhung T.O. on the “Madden”?
It was dope! That’s little bro. He’s from the Bay, doing his thang. Shout out SOB x RBE. I reached out to him, he’s like “let’s get it!” I’m like “let’s go!” Same process: I sent him the beat over, he’s like “oh, this knock!’ I’m like “oh you rockin’ with it? Alright fasho!” He knocked it out that same night too. He sent it back, I heard it like “oh yeah, we got a slap.” Did my parts, wrapped it up. [snaps] It was an easy lay-up, shout out Yhung T.O.
Speaking of SOB, thoughts on Lul G getting locked up?
It’s wild. [sighs] I didn’t even believe it though. When I found out the news, I didn’t believe it. It’s a bummer fasho for me. Them dudes are talented and they deserve to keep continuing their career. They’re young. They’re representing the youth and the youth need them, so salute.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
That I’m authentic, I’m different. I come with something different that a lot of other artists don’t come with. It’s no shade, I’m just saying. I’m from the Bay, I’m from Oakland specifically. There’s not a lot of singers from Oakland, that alone makes me different. That alone speaks for itself. [chuckles]
What keeps you back home?
The culture, it helps me stay who I am. It’s a place I go back to know and remember everything. To keep my essence what it is, to keep it authentic. If I moved away then the authenticity of me would fade a little. I’d forget, and I never wanted to do that. I’m always home, but I always visit other places too. I’m always everywhere really.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Just to keep striving for more and keep my expectations high. Drop more visuals. Keep fine-tuning my sound. Try other things this time around, dip into some other sounds. Travel more. Collaborate more with different artists. I want to collaborate with more R&B artists. R&B artists, we don’t collaborate enough and that’s one of the reasons why we are drowned. We’re in a space where of course rap is ahead, and I look at the difference.
I study the difference with the community and what the rap culture is doing, they collaborating. They really working together, they’re a community and they know it. When I look at the R&B community, everyone has their own lane. Everybody got their own direction. Everybody’s self-sufficient in their own realm. If we all opened up a little bit more and accepted that music is music, not be so sprung on our own sound and whatever else we’re trying to create and say “this is our thing” — music is music. That’s how I look at it. That’s why I’m able to collaborate with rappers. I could do it all because I understand that music is a sound. It’s not just one genre of anything, it’s everything. I like everything. Just put me in a studio and I’m doing it. [snaps] If everyone else was more open, R&B would have a lane. Prove me wrong. If we try it, I guarantee we’d have results.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
There’s been a lot. I remember one time it was dope because I’ve never had an experience like that. I was in Germany after one of my shows, there was a line of my fans waiting to take a picture with me. One specific fan came up to me and it was a guy. He showed me his phone and he’s like “bro, I got everything you ever dropped.” He literally showed me all my projects, my singles. I’m like “whoa!” He’s like “I got everything.”
He gave me a handshake then after the picture was taken, he gave me a hug. He’s telling me in my ear “keep doing your thing bro. I love you, you’re an inspiration.” It dragged on a lot longer than expected. There was still a line of people waiting. The security guard was trying to tap him and let him know “alright man c’mon,” but he wouldn’t let me go. He locked onto my neck, the security guards literally had to snatch him off of me and carry him out of the club. I’ll never forget that, that was a super wild moment.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as an Oakland native, a guy that didn’t take no for an answer. Somebody who stayed consistent in his own realm. Somebody that looked out for others and never really hated on nobody. Someone who worked hard, literally.