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Photo by Joshua Soucie

J Chinnasz showcases views of Ottawa in his latest music video

By Joshua Soucie on October 9, 2018

J Chinnasz, born Jacob Chin, is a local hip hop artist who recently released a music video for his song “Mercedes,” which features the purple-haired rapper dancing across some of Ottawa’s nicest landscapes.

“Ottawa’s more my speed,” says Chinnasz. “I really like Ottawa because there are so many options to retreat. If you’ve ever gone to the South and just watched the planes land… There are so many small-town things to do in a big city.”

“You know, it’s home,” he adds. “It’s home!”

Chinnasz says he got his stage name prior to making music. “I just wanted to be known as the letter ‘J,’ and that didn’t blow over so well because everyone was like, ‘Yo, that’s really hard to search!’” he recalls. “So I had some friends in Toronto who often put ‘asz’ at the end of everything. Like, ‘I have to workasz,’ or, ‘I need to eatasz!’ At the peak of that, I had a group chat with all of these people from Toronto, and they just kept calling me ‘Chinnasz.’”

In November of 2016, Chinnasz had just started to make music. For a year or so, he was making trap music, which he hoped would pick up in local clubs, but before long, he says he felt fake: “I was starting to find myself very upset with how I sounded because I was getting a lot of shows and my heart wasn’t in what I was performing. I wouldn’t even listen to my own records,” says Chinnasz. “One day, I was chilling, scrolling through SoundCloud, and I heard a beat. I hit up the producer and said, ‘I love the beat! Can I please have it?’ I bought it, and that’s where ‘Bloor’ came in.”

“Bloor” was the first song Chinnasz wrote for his debut album, Lovamon. “It literally felt like I found my sound and my place, not even just as an artist, but as a person,” he says. “Like, this is who I am. I’m cool. I’m cozy. So I got ‘Bloor’ tatted on my back like, ‘Don’t forget who you are.’”

He says the Lovamon project is an extension of the “Bloor vibe,” saying, “I tried to keep everything cool and cozy. You know, the kind of thing you’d listen to in your car late at night or when you’re scrolling on your phone. That’s who I am.”

Chinnasz describes Lovamon as a collection of things he has learned from various “situationships,” which have helped him process the things he didn’t want to accept. “I figured, instead of internalizing it, why not turn it into something I could probably market?”

“One song, Avocado, is about how friends will be like, ‘I want to go out! I want to be on the road! I want to drink! I want to act a mess! I want to act a fool!’ And it’s like, ‘Yo, calm down,’” he laughs. “‘Just chill out for like five minutes.’”

“There have just been a lot of changes this year, that I was not ready for, that seemed to benefit me,” Chinnasz says of finding his sound, making new friends and starting the Music Industry Arts program at Algonquin College. “Right now, I’m going to focus on learning what I don’t know in terms of music. I think I have the rapping down pat. I just want to learn the ins and outs. I want to know what I’m paying people to do in the studio. I don’t really want to do it myself. I just don’t want to sit there, rap and get drunk while everyone else does the work.”