Rapper J Xavier was only 12 years old when he won the America's Most Talented Kids Show contest in 2004. Now, at age 14, he already has a CD and a couple of music videos out, as well as a part in an MTV movie. But Xavier is serious about not only his craft but his community, too. He's Grand Marshal for the AIDS Walk Houston 2007 on March 11, benefiting AIDS Foundation Houston and other local charities.
Houston Press: Let's start with your new CD, Young Prince of tha South. There were some people who helped you on this CD; tell us who they were.
J Xavier: Of course, I had a lot of help. Mike Jones is on there, Lil' Keke, the funk master himself, George Clinton...
HP: How did you get George Clinton on your CD? He's a big, big deal.
Xavier: He's a legend! Actually, my dad has been knowing him for a while. We did a Yao Ming song and we changed George Clinton's "We want to funk" to "Yao Ming Wants to Dunk," and George Clinton came in to do the actual remix. It was great. Then we did "Flashlight." We put it on the album.
HP: Your CD came out just before Christmas, right?
Xavier: Yes, we had a December 5 release.
HP: Now, in the midst of getting your CD out, you also signed on to be Grand Marshal for the AIDS Walk. How did that come about?
Xavier: We got together with the AIDS Foundation Houston and they were like, "Hey, do you want to be a part of this?" and I was just very glad to help. I'm really excited about it. HIV and AIDS is a serious issue, and we just really need to deal with it. [My parents help the needy], and when I was eight, I told my dad, "Hey, if you ever want me to help you, just tell me." But I was really small at that point, so there wasn't much I could do. Now I'm rapping and I want to give back to my community, I want to help make a difference.
HP: Some people would be surprised that a teenage rapper wants to spend his time doing charity work. It would be more expected that you be out there pushing your CD.
Xavier: The album and everything, it's cool, but I look at it like a platform to do different things and go out into the community. With the music, we have their ear, then we want to have their hearts. My music is clean and positive, and I really want to be hands-on, not just have everybody partying and dancing. That's good, too, to have fun, but I really want to do more.
HP: So AIDS/HIV is something you think is important for kids your age to be talking about?
Xavier: Oh yes, without a doubt, the kids in my age group, kids in middle school and high school, these are things they really need to think about. We can play around all day, but at some point you have to get serious. We need to know what's happening in the world and what's going on around us, and that includes AIDS/HIV.
HP: Besides the AIDS Walk, what else are you doing?
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Xavier: I'll be working in South Padre for Spring Break. I'll be opening up for some other artists down there. And I'm shooting a film with MTV. It's a spin-off of the show My Super Sweet 16 where kids are having their birthday parties, but now we're shooting the movie. I play Randy in the movie, and I'm 14, like I am in real life. Randy is real smart. I've already shot some scenes, and we'll be flying out to L.A., and we'll be shooting there. The movie is really great.
HP: So are you going to be like Will Smith and other rappers who have gone from music to acting?
Xavier: Rap is great, but you can't do that all your life. You can't be trying to do concerts when you're 35 (laughs), that's not happening. Everybody has their time, and when it's time to go, it's time to go. I want to do something different after rap; I want to do a clothing line -- with some nice stuff. You look at Jay-Z and Diddy, they have nice lines. Everything I do, I want it to be a hit. Then whenever I put the mike down or whatever, they can say, "Hey, he did his thing."
For more information about J Xavier, visit www.jxaviermusic.com online.