The Vernon Parish, Louisiana, MC didn't have Lil Wayne or Boosie connections, so he made his own way.
By Rob Markman
Fire Starter: Joe Cool
There weren't any local rap heroes for Vernon Parish, Louisiana, MC Joe Cool to pattern himself after, but that didn't deter the 23-year-old upstart. He was too far from New Orleans to have any Cash Money connection, and hip-hop hot spot Baton Rouge wasn't exactly nearby, so Joe just looked to his close buddies for support. And now it is all starting to pay off.
"I started rapping when I was like 15. All my friends rapped — I was just chillin' in the background. I used to make funny songs and stuff," Joe told Mixtape Daily during a February interview.
It was those "funny" little songs that then turned into hooks for more-developed local rappers. But at the urging of a friend, Mr. Cool decided to take his craft a bit more seriously. "I just kept going, and by the time I hit high school, I was like, this is something I want to pursue," he said.
Joey dropped his first project, Mixtape for No F---in' Reason, in March 2011 and then followed up with his most recent, Cooley Hi, at the top of this year. The majority of the tape is self-produced, a skill that JC picked up by necessity at a young age.
"By the time I hit 16, I really couldn't find all of the beats that I wanted to go over, so I just started trying to make my own beats," he explained.
The rap rookie is still climbing up the hip-hop ranks — he performed a few sets at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, last month — but he still has a way to go. On "Fame," one of the tracks off of Cooley Hi, the Young MC ponders the money and recognition that awaits him. It's not that he is trying to be a prima donna, he just believes in himself that much.
" 'Fame' was pretty much me feeling like I just know I'm supposed to be here. It's waiting for me," he said.
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