The ink on J-Lie

J-Lie, I am a Local Tourist, I’m in every city.

Where did you grow up?
 I’m from everywhere, I can’t really say I’m from one city: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta.

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
I am versatile and well-rounded from living in 3 of the biggest cities. I am very cultured and open minded because of these differences these cities contain. It shows up in my music and in my lifestyle.

When did you start getting tattoos?
When I was 17 years old. My older sister and brother in law helped me make it happen since I was underage. Unforgettable.

How would you describe your style?

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I do. It’s definitely a well-respected art form. Most tattoo artist I know are very artistic in many other things than just ink on a body. They paint, design graphics, or even airbrush.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
Well there’s many ways to look at it. I honestly hate the fact that it is a trend in the hip hop culture right now because they do not respect it as the art. I see a lot of people just getting tattoos just to fill up their body like it’s a competition. It’s funny, the classic filling up your body with stars makes me laugh every time. I believe in quality over quantity and that’s in all aspects of life. There are so many people out there looking for a bargain instead of paying a good dollar for a good tattoo. I think rappers and basketball players have the worst tattoos. I respect the culture and always have; especially since my brother is a tattoo artist.

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
My tattoos are my autobiography. They all have very important meanings in my life and symbolize events, thoughts, or beliefs of mine.

What’s your favorite piece?
I really love them all. One of my favorites is the 4 playing cards (Queens) I have. Each queen card represents 1 of the 4 queens in my life. My mother, my wife, and my two sisters. Four of a kind.

Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink?
That’s a given. Luckily I do not care. I have been stared at my whole life because people are always trying to figure out “What I am”. The tattoos just add on now. But I do not judge people looking at me. I would stare too.

In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
I don’t see how a tattoo can change a mood. I mean, the way I got started in really going in on tattoos was my older sister passing away and the ink was my therapy. None of them hurt me physically when in the mind state I was in.

What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
The angel wings on my back have my sister’s name “Precious” and her unborn son “Tre” in the middle. When she died in 2005, I left her wake and went straight to the tattoo shop. The crazy thing was my mom gave me the money to do so.

What’s your next tattoo?
No Clue.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
I tell them to get something that has a meaning and not just to get one to get one. Also, to make sure that you get a good artist and not try to look for the best price.

What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
My family, I do everything for my family. The name on the back of my jersey I wear every day and everywhere. I represent them and I work for them. I will not sleep until they are all taken care of.

What is one thing that life has taught you?
My mother taught me to never look back on life and regret anything or say, “I wish I would have done this… or wish I would have done that”. Living with that, I have taken chances and excelled so much in life’s choices.

Will you be getting anymore?
Of course! I can’t imagine when I am going to stop. As long as I’m alive I’m sure I will have the urge to get tattooed.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”

Anything else you would like to add?
My album “Local Tourist” is available on iTunes right now. Check it out.