Johantz “J Wils” Wilson is an American rapper-songwriter, actor and record producer. Born in Africa and raised in Connecticut, he has worked and shared the stage with mega-stars such as Nikki D, McLyte, Cypress Hill, and Naughty by Nature just to name a few, a true product of his lyrical and instrumental talents, his career has taken him from being a well known DJ to producing for nationally recognized acts such as Fat Joe, Tony Sunshine, and Cuban Link.
J Wils’ family moved from Africa in the early 1980s to the New York metro area; now living in the US, the land of diversity and opportunity, it provided Johantz “J Wils” Wilson with a wide perspective on music genres and styles, with Hip Hop being its most influential, thus leading to the start of his professional musical career as DJ LaSmouve, a moniker given to him by his audiences as they recognized his ability to blend mixes smoothly. As a DJ LaSmouve worked at clubs and private parties, and through these appearances he eventually collaborated with his peers to form a Rap group known as Smooth Concepts in 1986. The group’s essence dwelled in the smooth production created by LaSmouve, an experience which eventually led him to launch his own production company: LaSmouve Productions. Shortly after and with production demand increasing he found himself working alongside some of the best in the industry, both independent and major label artists such as Warner Brothers’ Phajja and Atlantic Records’ Terror Squad.
In 1998 LaSmouve was commissioned to work as part of Fat Joe’s label on what would become one of the classics of HipHop’s world culture: Terror Squad - The Album. The product of a team of talented producers, LaSmouve being one of them, it also featured credits by Juju of the Beatnuts, Buckwild, The Alchemist, Arkatech Beatz and others; in addition it featured vocals/lyrics by luminaries such as Fat Joe, Big Pun, Armageddon, Cuban Link, Tony Sunshine, Prospect, and Triple Seis; LaSmouve’s contribution to the album was in the form of track 14 “My Kinda Girls.”
J Wils Moniker
in 2013, after being part of the music industry’s well established and accredited producer ranks for well over a decade, LaSmouve released his debut album “The Muzik Iz In Me” under the Moniker J Wils, written and produced by himself and with engineering credits by another industry veteran and heavy weight, Edwin Ramos Jr. (Credits: Ali, Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Bobby Brown, R Kelly, Tito Puente Jr., among others.) Subsequent releases include the well-received ‘American Dream’ single (Premiered on Hot 93.7 FM by DJ Buck), followed by the single Sweetspot (2015), a spoof of TV series Cheaters, it achieved the #1 spot on NYC’s Video City Countdown charts with featured appearances by Nathaniel Alexander (Project Runway, Wytches, Kung-Fu Sit) and Charlie Balducci (MTV's "True Life: I'm Getting Married"? - Marital Blitz - NYC Arts Cypher.) This was followed by his third single ‘Start Over’ (2016), which introduced a web series by the same name, it was directed by Gerald Barclay (Credits: Snoop Dog, Wutang Clan, Waka Flocka, among others.) and featuring appearances by Gano Grills (Credits: Hannibal, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Shaft.) In 2017 he further released two singles: ‘Born a Star’, introduced by Hot 93.7 FM’s DJ Billy Busch and distributed by INgrooves/Fontana/Universal and available via iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon; and, followed by the very latest single ‘21’ – its video also directed by Gee Bee’s productions Gerald Barclay and featuring a cameo by keyboardist Jazz Joyner (Credits: Joe, Mary Blige, Usher among others.)
Public Image and Philanthropy
Over the years Wilson has been active in several charitable and social activism pursuits, especially in cases where violence affects low income communities. The start of 2012 was particularly painful as Connecticut communities were shocked by the shooting death of youth Justin Thompson in Bridgeport, CT; and it was soon followed, in less than a month, by the Trayvon Martin shooting; both events while separated geographically shared common denominators: Guns and Violence, in response communities organized rallies and pressed legislation aimed at curving gun proliferation. Wilson’s response consisted on releasing a song calling for an end to violence, ‘Thumbs Up, Guns Down’, and partnered up with Connecticut Against Violence (CAV) – a non-profit organization which engages inner-city youth in activities and forums for the discussion and education on violence prevention. He further pushed the message by appearing on news media outlets (News 12, NBC News 4, and CT Post)
In 2013 Wilson, now appearing as J Wils, partnered up with Connecticut’s Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program by producing and contributing a series of Media PSAs to help raise awareness on the issue, in particular regarding childhood lead poisoning prevention. Throughout 2014 and 2015 J Wils sought to engage on a wider effort against violence, as a result he attended regional events such as New York’s “Push for Peace”, organized by FOX 5 / Hot 97’s host and personality Lisa Evers – Street Soldiers, participating personalities have included mayor Corey Booker, sports and entertainment personalities such as NY Giants Kareem McKenzie, and Hip Hop artists Maino, Murda Mook, among others. In 2017 J Wils was recognized by the Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, city of Bridgeport, CT, for his social and community efforts and contributions through the art of Hip Hop
- "Terror Squad - Terror Squad | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Interview with J Wils". UndaDog Hip Hop. 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Edwin Ramos". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- J Wils (2015-07-02), J WILS SWEET SPOT NEW MUSIC VIDEO JULY 2, 2015, retrieved 2018-01-21
- "Charlie Balducci". Wikipedia. 2017-10-30.
- "Gerald K. Barclay pka Gee-Bee's Videos on Vimeo". vimeo.com. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Interview with Johanz Wilson" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- Frank Recchia (2016-07-25), Johantz Wilson's Hip Hop Song "Rise" Goes Viral, retrieved 2018-01-21
- "Rapper dedicates song to city's teen homicide victim". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2018-01-21.
- "Contributions Of Hip Hop In The City Of Bridgeport CT". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
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