Artist of the Week: Prince AJ

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Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. [Ed. note: due to MP3 difficulties, we're posting it Thursday this week.] Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

In Artist of the Week’s 14-week history, we’ve never had the privilege of interviewing anyone of royal descent. That streak, we’re happy to report, is over. World, meet Prince AJ, the silky-smooth R&B crooner who wants to lick your body from head to toe and take you places you’ll never go.

At our request, Prince AJ took a moment out of one of his kingdom-ruling days to answer a few questions. Naturally, we asked him about whether or not Jesus Christ could beat Scarface in a rap battle, if sexed-up R&B singers are always sexy, and what his soul eats. You’re free to grovel at his feet now.

Rocks Off: For those unfortunate few who haven't heard about you (us included until about three weeks ago), talk a little about your basics: how you got started, who you've worked with, accomplishments of note, etc.

Prince AJ: It all started when I was a about seven. I was always writing rhymes and citing little raps wherever I went. My dad was into film so he was always putting us on camera.

RO: Ummm, that's kind of a weird thing to say. Just wanted to point that out.

PA: Me and my bro always played dancing and performing to MC Hammer, Kris Kross, Michael Jackson, etc. Then I started getting serious when I was about 15, writing songs and recording by myself. It was just a few years back when I started to get recognition. Still, a lot of people haven't heard of me but the time is coming. All it is is perseverance, stay grinding and faithful. I've worked with a few peeps in the game, G.R.I.T. Boys, Uperclick, ESG, and Kiotti.

RO: On your MySpace page you've got a video from GodTube, which is basically a church version of YouTube, then, two spaces underneath that one, you've got a video of Scarface's "G-Code." That brings up an interesting quandary: Who do you think would win in a rap battle, Jesus or Scarface? We mean, Jesus is dope, but, c'mon, Scarface wrote "Mr. Scarface."

PA: [laughs] There ain't no question about that; aint no one compared to Jesus! I bet you even Scarface would tell you that. Very rarely someone will lay their lives down for righteous man, but Christ laid his life down for us, [the] sinners. Jesus gives us all these talents, everything we got come from the man, so think about it: if the King of Kings would spit some rhymes, mayne, everyone would just quit the game. [laughs]

RO: We're pretty certain Z-Ro wouldn't quit, but we suppose you may be right about the other part. Jesus does have that whole "I came back from the dead" thing on his resume. That is probably slightly more impressive than getting shot.

PA: [laughs]

RO: You bill yourself as the "Prince of R&B South." We assume this is not a monocratic royalty. What about Chris Echols, Atlanta's "crowned prince of R&B"? Atlanta's in the South. Or what about Trey Songz? He's without geographical qualifiers altogether, referring to himself as the flatout Prince of R&B? Chris Brown probably belongs in there somewhere as well.

PA: Tell you the truth, they might be Prince of R&B wherever they at, but down here in the "H" I'm the Prince of R&B. Everybody's a rapper or tryna be one. You walk out to the mall I guarantee you gonna see at least ten "rappers." Even the postman [is] a rapper, the dude at Mickey D's [is] a rapper, even my grandmama raps. [laughs]

RO: We've always been curious to know, are slick R&B singers such as yourself always in a state of overt sexuality, or is it just a stage persona? Like, when you wake up in the morning and are about to eat some cereal, would you describe that as a "sexy event"?

PA: [laughs] These are some crazy questions. [laughs] Ain't nothing sexy about eating cereal… but once you get the strawberries and whipped cream poppin'… [laughs] Naw, I'm playin'.

RO: Talk a little about the volunteer work that you did after bitch-ass Hurricane Ike hit Houston. Why did you feel the need to do that? Was that a sexy event?

PA: Whenever I do volunteer work that's when I feel the most joy.

RO: That sounds very hyper-altruistic, Prince. We're not sure we entirely believe that statement. It's pretty much the opposite for us. We feel the most joy when people are volunteering to do stuff for us.

PA: That kind of stuff feeds my soul. A lot of peeps were trippin', saying they aint got no electricity water or food. They should have come out there. All the volunteers [had] whatever they needed. Even Trae & Cham was out there giving out stuff; that's when you know who really put on for their city. Everybody looking for a handout, but you gotta give to receive, and whatever you make happen for others God will make happen for you.

RO: That's cool. We're glad you were out there helping out. We were noticeably absent from the event. Our souls were not terribly hungry that day. What's the word on an upcoming album or mixtape or something? And when can people see you perform live (and how much will it cost)?

PA: Right now I'm focusing on pushing this single I got. Everybody call their radio stations and request "Twisted." My patna OG Ron C got his mixtape coming out with ya boy on it. Holla at me for this single if you're a DJ. - Shea Serrano

Keep tabs on his highness at www.princeaj.com or www.myspace.com/ajuniverse.

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