James Victor Heinz (born February 6, 1983 in Long Island, United States), professionally known by his stage name J57, is a Brooklyn-based American rapper, songwriter, record producer, & record label owner, that infuses hiphop with indie rock, pop, folk & Americana music. He is a member of the Brown Bag AllStars, a group of emcees he joined while working at Fat Beats in 2004, and Jamo Gang, a hip-hop group consisting of Ras Kass and El Gant. J57 cites DJ Eclipse and his mentor DJ Premier, as his musical influences.
2003–2007: Early beginnings and Brown Bag AllStars
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, J57 started his music career freestyling, battle rapping and beatboxing in high school under the stage name JLOG1C with a group of friends. In 2003, he started producing and went on to record his first recording with his crew. In 2004, JLOG1C started working at Fat Beats, a popular record store in New York where he met the Brown Bag AllStars and went on to record songs with the group at Jesse Shatkin’s record studio.
2008–13: 2057, The Ports and The J57 Collection
In 2008, JLOG1C changed his name to J57 before Brown Bag AllStars released their first mixtape The Brown Tape, exclusively at Fat Beats. On 14 May 2010 he released the Digital Society mixtape through Balanced Records, featuring vocals from Homeboy Sandman, the Brown Bag AllStars, Soul Khan, Andrew Reid, DJ Brace and many notable acts. In 2012 he released his DJ Concept-promoted mixtape The J57 Collection and two solo EPs 2057 and The Ports EP, all which did well to gain him grounds and further led him to being ranked #20 in AllHipHop‘s list of “Top 50 in Underground Hip-Hop”. After overseeing projects for Koncept, Soul Khan, Sene and other artistes, including Homeboy Sandman’s fourth studio album titled First of a Living Breed, he went on to release Walk In The Sun, a collaborative album he did with Blame One which was released in 2013.
2014–2017: I’m the J57
In 2014, J57 was featured in DJ Rhettmatic’s single titled “Louis Vuitton Wallets” and made vocal appearance and record production credits in the 2014 release of the annual Brown Bag AllStars A Year In Review mixtapes. In mid-2015, he produced “Purple Tape”, one of the lead singles from Method Man’s fifth studio album The Meth Lab which went on to peak at #57 on the US Billboard 200 and was received to positive reviews. On 20 November 2015, J57 teamed up with Koncept to release a joint EP titled The Fuel which was positively received among music critics.
On January 19, 2016, J57 released his first solo album titled I’m the J57 to positive reviews. before he went on to produce the entirety of Elixir, a 7-track gritty hip-hop studio album by Aaron Rose which gained multiple media attention. In an interview with HipHopDX, J57 revealed that 5 hip-hop albums including Moment of Truth, Madvillainy, Be, Below the Heavens and Ironman inspired him in creating the beats for the album. The beginning of 2017 saw J57 become a member of hip-hop group Jamo Gang which DJ Premier formally announced in January. In June, he released the music video for “Legacy” as a promotional tool to mark the release of the deluxe version of I’m the J57 and further decided to donate all proceeds earned from the album to people who were affected by the Flint water crisis. As part of the group Jamo Gang, J57 produced the entirety of their debut project Jamo Gang EP, an 8-track hip-hop, boom bap EP HipHopDX described as “intoxicating”.
June, 2018, J57 launched his record label FiveSe7en Collective. Jamo Gang (Ras Kass, J57, El Gant)’s debut self-titled EP was released, featuring DJ Premier, Snak the Ripper and more. J57 released 3 albums and 3 EP’s; one of which titled “LP2” an avant-garde release available exclusively for one week on J57’s website.
J57 is currently working on his solo projects which includes a collaborative EP with Homeboy Sandman and a solo rap album titled We Can Be Kings which he first started working on while in Australia where he linked up with Joey Bada$$