A couple of decades ago, if you heard a musician say that his musical career was an outgrowth of skateboarding and beer, you’d be forgiven for assuming he played in a punk or thrash band. While J/O/E owes his musical aspirations and inspirations to a youth and young adulthood spent slamming tricks and crushing cans, he’s never really fucked with distorted barre chords, though he does ply his trade with bars – in bars. This is a roundabout way of pointing out that J/O/E is a rapper, and like the craft beers he often namechecks in his rhymes, his flow is pretty tasty.
Born Joseph Petty, J/O/E (pronounced as individual letters, though it isn’t an acronym) grew up in Everman, where his music-loving parents raised him on rock ’n’ roll and old blues. He was into skateboarding as a kid, and when he wasn’t flipping his deck across the sidewalk, he was soaking in the sights and sounds of a couple cornerstones of the modern skateboarding experience: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the Sony Playstation and Nintendo N64 and Baker Skateboard’s Baker 3 video. Both of those introduced a lot of skaters to the lifestyle’s current living legends, and their soundtracks, a mix of rock, punk, ska, reggae, and hip-hop, are etched in a lot of brains. For J/O/E, they introduced him to the art form that he would ultimately embrace as a musical creator.
“I’ve been rapping since I was, like, 17,” he said. “Pretty much while skateboarding. I was teaching a friend how to get some tricks, and one day after a session, we were chilling, and he put some beats on, and him and his uncle tried to get me to rap. They teased me about it, and it pressured me to freestyle, so I got better at it.”
J/O/E is 29 years old now, and over the past couple of years, he’s upped his game with a slew of online releases – he has a bunch of appearances and tracks on Soundcloud playlists – including his most recent collection, a five-song EP called Da Pint Playa.
Besides rapping and beat production, J/O/E’s other passion is beer. He got turned on to the local craft brew scene in 2014 via a Rahr Blonde. Since then, he’s developed a taste for IPAs.
“My first IPA was Stormcloud – I’m a big fan of Rahr – but I’m pretty open to everything,” he said with a laugh.
Unsurprisingly, his songs contain a high volume of beer and alcohol references.
“That’s what got me lined up doing brewery gigs,” he said, though he’s also performed at places like Lola’s Saloon and the recently defunct Aardvark and Grotto.
On Friday, he’ll be on a bill at the FW Black House art space, headlined by Milwaukee rappers Taiyamo Denku and a duo called Amerikas Addiction, along with four other locals: BKNOW, Pac Manson, Muenster, and Remember the Name.
J/O/E’s flow on Da Pint Playa goes down smooth, rhyming about drinking and chilling over balmy, bass-heavy beats juiced with reverberating samples and woozy synths. Imagine being at a backyard pool party, downing a few tallboys and sinking to the bottom of the deep end after a cannonball – that moment of zen when your hair’s floating around your head and everything’s toned down by the full-body embrace of chlorinated water. That is the EP’s overall vibe. Though J/O/E already has a new joint in the works (a follow-up EP called Home Brew, produced by his homie, Solo), Da Pint Playa is a crucial addition to this year’s warm-weather playlists.
Like most artists, J/O/E’s goal is to make music his 9-to-5, and to that end, he’s been dabbling in production. He lists Madlib, J Dilla, and 9th Wonder as his main inspirations, and he assembled all of Da Pint Playa’s backing tracks himself. He also wants to help promote Fort Worth’s hip-hop scene.
“It’s still kind of mysterious,” he said. “Every year I look at the [Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards] nominations, and everyone’s like, ‘Where do these guys come from?’ We’re gonna figure it out eventually.”
And while he still games on occasion and would love to get his own songs on a video game soundtrack, he’s really more focused on getting his music in front of people however he can by “just putting more of my time being in the real world meeting new people and doing new things,” he said.
In particular, he’d like to play any Untapped event, and his dream gig is Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.
“That would be a big check off the bucket list,” he said.
9pm Fri w/Taiyamo Denku, Amerikas Addiction, BKNOW, Pac Manson, Muenster, and Remember the Name at FW Black House, 1105 Peach St, FW. 817-266-4082. $10.