Jerome Hunter – Music Producer

This week’s feature article is on a saved music producer/artist who wants the world to know that he is not ashamed to acknowledge, praise and follow God. He stands firm on his beliefs, morals and ethics and will not compromise them for any amount of money or fame.

It is evident from his work and also his character that not only the music industry but the world as a whole could use more young men like Jerome “Perion” Hunter.

– La Tasha K. Mason (@Tash1216)

We’ll start you off with a video so, you can get an idea of who you’re dealing with here…

The Next Platinum Producers

I always like to start with where it all began…When did you know that you would have some type of life involving music? When did you first fall in love with hip hop?

It started with singing in the youth choir. In middle school, I was known for beat boxing and rapping but the singing, writing and producing started in 9th grade. I started with a Casio keyboard, karaoke, and a small Yamaha sampler. I was influenced heavily at a young age by east coast music and the likes of artists like the Fat Boys, Dougie Fresh, LL , UMC’s, De La, Tribe Called Quest , Salt & Pepper, etc. I was in to more of the hip hop that experimented with various sounds and music. Rap City with Chris Thomas “Da Mayor” was my outlet to what the outside world was into.

Tell me about your training, your creative process, drive, hustle and determination to succeed within the music industry.

I never took lessons to play any instruments. I just love music and sounds that catch my ear. I go off of vibe and sounds when I’m creating a record. I picture the artist(s) I always wanted to work with and create songs with that person in mind. I am a huge fan of the Motown Era and the process they take to make songs. I am a big fan of composers especially Quincy Jones. I feel that anyone trying to make a dollar can make a gimmick song or a nice little hit for radio now a days but most of those songs to me, even though they may be hot and chart high, are temporary songs for the time period.

I want to create and be a part of history. I wanna make timeless music that become anthems for memories. I wanna be different in the respect of being a trendsetter and not just follow the sound of the moment because they die when something new comes along.

Young Dro “What I Do” ft Perion on the hook & production

You are firm in your belief in God and have succeeded in not allowing money and fame to alter those beliefs. Why is this so important to you?

Because I am nothing and could never become anyone without God. I grew up in church, but my Faith came from my personal “God Experience”. I doubted like most people and almost got swayed by the “new age” doctrines and ideas that cause people to try other things to get happiness and feel complete. It never worked for me though. I was allowed to stand on the outside and receive what most people are too busy to receive … Divine Understanding. I came to know Him for myself, not just by what I was taught growing up and by all the cliché’s used in religion. God is real.

There are billionaires that lay on their death beds, and their money can’t save them. The pharaohs tried that mess and thought they could be buried with their treasures and went thru all those rituals…they died. But where are their treasures now? In modern museums! People allow their fortune and fame to be their fortress or foundation and when it comes down or the stocks crash they result to drug abuse or suicide. Ever notice how people with fame and power that came from poverty to superstardom can have anything in the world but still have a void? They’re always at every party because they hate to be alone. They’re getting extra high to maintain a certain feeling.

Dating and sexing all these different people just to feel a moment of love. I don’t want that type of foundation. I want peace of mind and to be able to do what I love and am anointed to do! God is my fix, and I never need a substitute for Him. I just enjoy life and try to be a light in a dark world even with the odds against me. Jesus did it!

Often times, celebrities will speak of their belief in God and their walk in His path for them, but their lifestyle and actions don’t necessarily reflect that. What about your lifestyle and actions make you different?

I know that with this profession and my walk, people are always watching me. People have been let down so much by the suit and tie that now they listen to people who look and talk like them. In the bible, Paul said in order to win them sometimes you have to look like them. I don’t try to be a Holy Roller. I just be me but with a standard for myself because I know my own worth, and I know who I serve! I think too many people let their guards down because they start off pretending to be “Super Saints”. Jesus was King but He grew up in the ghetto, hung with the poor, sick and rejected. He wasn’t the most handsome guy, he didn’t have the fly chariot sitting on dubs, and he was rejected and set up by the same people who were suppose to be playing on the same team ( just like now with a million churches in one city and barely work together). Once you accept the job title and lifestyle, you have to know what comes with it.

You will stay up under the microscope and when you slip, in essence you just let God down and possibly lost a soul you could have won if you would have just kept it real from the get go. They say ” no one is perfect”, but if we all believe the bible, God said Job was perfect and upright, so we are able; we just have to strive for perfection. Get rid of the excuses, repent and do better! You will avoid the headaches that way.

Just don’t play with God trying to please your flesh or justify your actions by quoting half the Word. God has a wrath also along with all His love, forgiveness and grace.

How did you come up with your stage name, “Perion”?

Well, it came from the Champaign (different spelling though), but I used to say just like wine I should get better with time! lol

Your discography is quite impressive as a rapper and producer having worked with the likes of Roy Jones, Jr., Mike Jones, Bun B, Juvenile, Young Chris and more. Tell us about your experience working with them, the songs you collaborated on or produced and also list the top five artists you’d love to work with.

I was signed to Roy Jones Jr. as a producer/artist at Body Head Entertainment. He was at the top of his game then and when he started his label, it opened the door to the chance to meet people and work with people I probably wouldn’t have at the time just coming up from Pensacola like Bun B, Mr. Magic, Choppa, Mystikal, Scarface, Petey Pablo,etc… It is where I got my first taste on the industry. I produced a record called ” That Was Then” on Roy’s first album that featured Dave Hollister ,myself and Brother Hahz (formally Hahz The Ripper). That song was #2 on Billboard. That let me know then I was able to hang with the big boys. After my contract was up, I signed with CO2, a management company consisting of Leonard “LB” Brooks and Arlene Godfrey. These two industry vets help take me to the next level and help me build relationships with A&R’s like Mike Caren, Sprite , Lebron James, Juvenile, Young Chris and more.

Shawty Lo ” Pocahontas” ft Twista and Wale

Right now, I would love to do a Gospel Gangsta Grill and feature some of the heavy hitters in the game reaping God collectively over banging street records. Nothing watered down and soft but the same stuff they do, just clean for those who wanna get saved but still wanna listen to their old favorite artist. I think it would be a good look for them to do it now and give the kids some real music and be able to change lives for the better instead of them talking about God after tragedy strike. I would like to work with Jay Z….. I have always thought it would be awesome to be at a Jay Z concert, and he give his life to Christ in front of millions on stage. He already has a big influence on the game, but could you imagine winning a million souls to God in one night and you’re the least likely to do it! I wanna work with DMX, Mary J. Blige, John P Kee, Dietrick Haddon, Prince, Dave Hollister again, Marvin Sapp, Ne-Yo, Quincy and Dr. Dre! I like artists with pain in their voice and people who can talk to your soul when they need to! I have a lot more but they are just people I would like to tell my vision to and let them bring it to life with their orchestration.

What was your first major placement?

On my own…Juvenile “Way I Be Leanin” ft. Paul Wall, Mike Jones , Wacko, and Skip.

Juvenile “Way I Be Leanin

How did you go about getting it?

My managers, LB and Arlene, got it placed with Atlantic Records. Then they gave me a 3 song deal in which I produced “Duck Down” for Trick Daddy ft. Plies and The Notorious B.I.G., “Sweet Dreams” by Wynter Gordon and a record for Paul Wall ft Nas called ” I Don’t Care Anymore.”

Being a rapper, did you naturally gravitate towards producing hip hop songs? Would you work with any other genre? R&B, Pop, etc.?

I really gravitated more to singing because I’m a fan of harmonies and arrangements. Rap just allowed me to sneak in. I think I can do anything needed. I love all types of music from gospel to Japanese Hip Hop. I really wanna work with a lot of overseas acts too. I need the connects though! lol…I don’t wanna limit myself with one sound or genre. I’m universal!

If you do produce for artists of other genres, what artists would you give anything to work with and why?

I really wanna produce a record for Mary J and one for Lloyd. I think Lloyd along with Quincy Jones and I could recreate the classic “Off The Wall” Mj sounding album. I think with his voice they limit him with fly by night club records and all that cursing…He may be young and may be from the hood but some people have the ability to be legendary and make legendary music if they get a chance to be pulled out of their element and focus on the feel of the music and how to command the mood.

Roy Jones Jr. “That Was Then” featuring Dave Hollister, Perion and Hahz The Rippa

Is it better working behind the scenes or being on stage for you?

Being behind the scenes is better for me. I want to see others shine and just be content with knowing I was allowed the chance to be a part of their success. I want to be well off but able to do what I love to do stress free! When it becomes work and you’re not having fun doing what you love to do, then it gets boring, and I will sit back until the passion returns.

Have politics ever played a role in you not getting a situation inked?

Not to my knowledge. If so it would probably be because I was too clean for the situation or wasn’t gangster enough. Other than that, I feel if it’s for me it will happen anyway. Anything I miss out on outside of that would be because I procrastinated.

Have you done any song writing? If so, for who and what songs? If not, is that something you’d be open to doing?

Every song I produce I try to put a hook on that I pray stays on. I write full songs and have on occasion written for other artists. A lot of my placements I feature on like Shawty Lo’s single, “Pocahontas,” ft. Twista and Wale. I wrote and performed the hook. That part of it comes with the job just like jumping into character for a movie. I don’t actually believe in being wasteful with money but to me it’s like writing a script. I’m painting a picture of things that happen all the time. I don’t do it but the reality of it is that someone somewhere does. I write for this 7 yr-old rapper in Atlanta named Jabias Da Kidd! A lot of the records I did on Roy’s “Body Head Bangers” CD I wrote and performed the hooks like “24’s” ft Bun B, Mike Jones and Mr. Magic, “Big Bodies” etc. I just produced and wrote pop record for a 13 yr-old phenom named Jordan Boyer. This girl has the star power of Justin Beiber when he first came on the scene with that big voice. I write a gang of gospel songs with hopes of producing more gospel artists and choirs.

What is the best advice that you feel you could give an aspiring producer regarding technique, ethics, and securing gigs?

Study your craft. Learn the success and failures of those you admire. Weed out the mistakes and build on the success. Study the radio and what’s hot. Go to the clubs, if you can, and just watch and take notes of which type of songs make people run to the dance floor, which ones keep them there, and which songs make people leave and go get a drink. Invest in you! Never get cocky and think you know it all and can’t learn from anyone else. You never stop learning because time hasn’t stopped. That means there will always be a changing point. Be humble and have a strong foundation. The music game is funny sometimes and if you’re not rooted and eyes open all around you, you can easily get turned upside down or land on your face.

What projects are you currently working on?

Shawty Lo, V.A.N.T (gospel rapper), female rapper I manage named Nisha, Jordan Boyer, and my own personal project. I can’t speak on a lot of the majors I have in the works because I’m working out a new situation. Shawty is current because that’s what’s on radio right now and in the streets. I took a break from big name artists and the rat race to create new faces and new stars. Still have placement with the seniors, but I’m trying to be exclusive and selective with my brand so it makes sense in the long run. I don’t wanna be a fly by night one hit wonder. I’ve been producing too long for 15 minutes of fame. I got much more in me. I look at how MJ and many other geniuses did it. You have to know your worth first of all. I stay off the radar to remain exclusive. I like shock factor and keeping people guessing who did what. I can mimic anyone, but I want people to recognize my sound in a now saturated game.

How did you land the gig for the Lebron James/Sprite Online Contest theme song featuring Al Fatz and Paul Wall?

Through LB and Arlene. They are vets. To me, they were like the high end managers that look for situations that allow you to get on your feet quickly so you can work without worrying about bills and stifling your creativity. I made the sounds for the online site used in the contest and then I went in the studio with the winner, Paul Wall and Al Fatz to produce the final theme song for Lebron James.

What equipment do you use to make your beats?

I went from out board gear like mpcs, tritons, and turntables to Logic Pro. I build my own kits and make sods for samplers now. Logic is my tool of choice!

Do you play any instruments? If so, which ones and how do you incorporate it into the music that you produce?

I don’t play any instruments, nor can I sit down and play fluently like I desire yet…I peck fast though and know what I hear in my head. It’s a handicap that I perfected with speed and to my advantage. I can hang with the best of them. Just tell me your idea and let me prove it to you. I perform best under pressure. It’s a rush for me to take nothing and make a hit in minutes.

Who and/or what has inspired your music the most?

Pain. I hate pain, lack, rejection, and chaos. I grew up in an abusive home as a young child. I learned pain at a young age. Laughter and music let me escape. Music growing up helped me get accepted even though I wasn’t wealthy. I was rich in spirit because I saw that faith and perseverance in my mother. My mother and her sisters used to write songs and sing at the watch meetings with Dr. King in Selma. They were all nurses also. My mom was Jimmie Lee Jackson’s nurse when he got shot. They had a chance to go on the road and sing but my granny wouldn’t let them go, so I picked up the torch to get it for them and for my seeds! It was in me from birth! My mother taught me how to trust God thru whatever! She is my hero and my motivation. I want to give her everything she tried to give me and my siblings even while working two jobs and living in Favor House. She always tried to give us the world even while we were going through tough times and a broken home.

What producer(s) influence you and why?

Quincy Jones (for his arrangements), Dr. Dre (for his simplicity, dynamics and clarity), Timbaland (for his energy and love of sounds), John P. Kee (for his melodies and writing style) and Justice League (for their orchestration and ability to make a classic sounding record). Just to name a few.

What vision/dream do you have for your life and career?

I wanna be on the level and beyond Berry Gordy and the old Motown! I want to find, produce and put out real music from real singers regardless of height, weight and color. I feel that if you got it, then you got it and if people love the song they should accept the artist flaws and all. I wanna leave a legacy of greatness and excellence. I want to go back to the old ways A&R’s use to help build artists and not just look for artists that already have a following and brand. I wanna be the Steve Jobs of the music game.

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