The lack of female presence in hip-hop today is nothing less than astonishing. Enter emcee and vocalist Janelle Corpuz aka JNatural. Executively produced by southland icon Aceyalone, her debut LP Love Is On Hiatus is a rousing, jazzed inflected album. Following in the tradition of uncompromising and strong emcees like Jean Grae and Medusa, Love Is On Hiatus features Aceyalone and Abstract Rude. Production is by San Diego beat maker Jeff Wonder.
Love Is On Hiatus contains universal themes of love, desire, and heartbreak. The track “I Am Where the Music Is” is a celebration of true love and the work any good relationship takes. “True love requires hard work and sacrifice—no matter type of relationship,” explains JNatural who founded her own LA based design consulting firm, Halseyan International LLC. “I work a 9-5 and then grind till the wee hours of the morning to complete my music projects or do gigs. All the money I make from my job goes right back into my musical projects.”
On “Limber Slinky” JNat employs a sultry inflective hook alongside sharp choppy verses to releases her emotional wounds at a past love. “He would profess his love to me behind closed doors, but then acted like were were “just friends” in public,” she asserts. “He employed all sorts of tricks to convince me that I wasn’t worth being claimed. It took time for me to understand what it really meant to love yourself and know that I was worth more than that.”
Raised in Los Angeles, JNatural’s immigrant parents were strict but also so busy with careers in the medical field that they left her in the care of her grandmother and aunt. “They were very musical and wonderful story tellers,” JNatural recalls. “My aunt had tons of 45’s and a record player and I would sing and dance to everything.” And though her all-girls Catholic high school was hardly wild, JNat says that there were a few benefits to not having boys around to distract her, not the least of which was that she learned to speak her mind, without having to be ashamed of what other people would think.
It was around high school when JNat tried her hand at turntables and discovered spoken word. She entered Slam Poetry contests at the Da Poetry Lounge, Greenway Court Theater on Fairfax. By college, JNatural and her friends were staying up late night dissecting the lyrics of Freestyle Fellowship, Living Legends and Hiero and scratching out rhymes of her own.
Eventually she formed an eight piece hip-hop band called Sonic Tongue. After years of shows in San Diego and opening up for people like Brother Ali, Jeru the Damaja, Elroneous, CMA and Slug, she moved back to LA and ventured out on her own. In 2002 she released her first solo EP For Clarity, and in 2004, continuing to find her own voice, JNat wrote and produced a 5 track acoustic guitar EP called LA Virgen.
In 2005 during a chance meeting with one of her icons Aceyalone at a Medusa show, she slipped him her latest CD. “He called the next day and asked me to come in to the studio to record and be part of the (SIS)tem, an all female group he was putting together.”
In 2006, JNatural teamed up with producer/photographer Jeff Wonder to produce her first globally distributed project Escape From Babylon. In 2008 she released Sex Lies and Sextape mixtape, mixed by DJ Ray Ray Raw and featuring The A-Team (Aceyalone & Abstract Rude.)
All the while, JNat continues to develop her career in fashion. She was designer for Roxy/Quiksilver and the Director of Design for Fox Womens. She recently founded her own design consulting firm called. Currently, she is VP of Design and US Sales for U&K Fashion Ltd, a china-based fashion group.