Back in 1989 when, then
Joseph Stewart wrote his first rhyme, it was neither the money nor
the party that drew him to the craft. The song that forced me to
rap was To Da Break of Dawn by LL Cool J, he remembers. I was in
5th grade and it was a homework assignment. Reluctant to admit that
these first 16 bars should count towards his 20-year romance with
hip-hop, he recalls, It was wack. It was something about school
is cool. All the boys in the class had to do it, but I ended up
writing the whole thing. Flipping LLs diss record into a public
service announcement back in elementary school shows Joes uncanny
ability to transform negatives to positives. Recently, he has used
his personal losses to propel him to take Atlanta's open mic circuit
by siege. After my parents deaths, I started taking rap more seriously.
Their deaths made me fearless, says Stu. His fearlessness shows
up in his music through his vulnerability.
I wanna make being human
cool. I talk about my emotions, he laughs. To most audiences this
would seem contrary to what hip-hop is, but Joe Stu suggests that
thats the point. Im trying to give my listeners options. Im a blue-collar
rapper. My music is for the cat paying back his student loans and
the dude that works at McDonalds.
His personal blue-collar
hustle is tattooing. Tattooing kicked my ass. It humbled me. But,
he also credits tattooing and painting with opening his imagination
to write his rhymes. Quite simply Joe Stu is hard to peg and anything
but average. His content is introverted and intelligent and his
aim is to be relatable. He courageously dives into the best and
worst in himself on wax to inspire his listeners to be more human.
Tackling topics like abortion and porn addictions with dope beats
and dope rhymes, clearly he's not the average Joe.