Music Producer, Audio Engineer, and Occasional Rapper Discusses His Latest Project and Discusses His Loyalty to Legends Never Die
By Bridney C.
It is a bright sunny day in early August. While most 20-year-olds are enjoying themselves on the beach, Justice Lee, or better known by his stage name Supreme Justice, a producer, engineer, and occasional rapper, sits inside a dimly lit studio with painted crimson walls located inside a commercial building in downtown New London, Connecticut.
His stage name derives from the other name he adopted, Supreme Justice Allah after he accepted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad from the Nation Of Islam. While working at the Legends Never Die studio, he browses through his drum kit on his laptop.
He carefully looks for kicks, snares, and hi-hats for a new beat he’s making for an upcoming project with New London rapper, Moe Steele, who he considers to be, “an absolute animal on the microphone.”
Not only is creating beats for Moe Steele, but he is also in charge of engineering and recording the sessions. He is in the middle of working on his instrumental project, a project of himself rapping over his beats titled Don’t Kill the Messenger Vol. 1, and a compilation consisting of all artists on the Legends Never Die roster.
He just completed engineering and mixing a 2-song EP with singer and rapper, Asaiah and rapper, Yung Devo titled Twin Turbo. The EP was also engineered and mixed with Kajun Waters, an engineer from Los Angeles who has worked with notable hip-hop artists, PnB Rock, Joyner Lucas, and DreamDoll.
Justice has spent hours trying to look for the right kick drums and hi-hats. After finding the perfect sound, he sets the rhythm up, gets into the groove, and creates a melody sampled from his classic vinyl collection.
“I sample from vinyl because I own a turntable and records, and I don't just loop, I take the smallest sounds and manipulate them. I guess one can say I'm into the sound design because I like for my beats to sound a certain type of way,” says Justice.
After, Justice goes through his 808’s sound kit and listens to every sound in his library. The goal of his lengthy project is to create soulful beats.
“I like them to sound warm and full. My family is from the South, and the south is very 808 drum-heavy,” says Justice.
So far, he has engineered and produced music for New London artists Shemmy, Asaiah, Yung Devo, Mar Finesse, and a rapper from Providence, Rhode Island, named Shynin. All five artists are under the management as Justice.
“Working with all of them is great honestly, they're great guys to be around, and they’re passionate about their art. The experiences I have in the studio with them are great, just because they come in and they are eager to get to work immediately,” says Justice.
Justice grew up in an artsy household throughout his childhood with his mom and uncle, who were both artistically inclined in music, writing, and drawing. He started piano lessons at the age of 3, and he played the trumpet and violin throughout elementary and middle school.
In the household, Justice listened to music by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Dennis Edwards, among other notable R&B and soul artists.
As a youth, he had dreams of being a laboratory engineer, as he excelled in school, especially in the subjects of math and science. When he was a pre-teen, Justice used to rap and would write down his lyrics.
As he got older, Justice started to listen to music by hip-hop artists such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre. “I looked up to Dr. Dre a lot. I would listen to The Chronic over and over again just because the sonic quality of it is amazing, aside from the lyrics and the overall production, just the quality of the audio is comparable to something like [Michael Jackson's] Thriller,” says Justice.
In middle school, Justice would record his raps on a tape recorder as “practice,” and later, developed an interest to create his instrumentals to accompany his rhymes. In the 9th grade, Justice started to create his beats using FL Studio 11, a digital music software.
“I still rap on occasion, but I don't have anything out because I've been focusing on my skills as a producer and engineer. As far as programs go, I currently use Ableton Live and Pro Tools to make beats,” says Justice.
At the age of 16, Justice studied the teachings of Malcolm X and Dr. Khalid Muhammad after listening to references of the Nation of Islam in music by Jay Electronica, Rakim, and the Wu-Tang Clan. He then adopted his stage name for both his rap music and productions, Supreme Justice Allah after he accepted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad.
“It all helps me stay out of trouble, act respectfully towards everyone, respect myself, and the lessons personally help keep me focused on my mission, and my mission is music. I wouldn't be who I am without it,” says Justice.
Justice graduated honors from Robert E. Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut in 2017. He worked at various odd jobs, including working as an usher at Mohegan Sun casino, store associate at the Navy Exchange at the Naval Submarine Base New London, and selling phones at Walmart all while focusing on his career.
A year and a half ago, while still working, Justice was introduced to Lew “Legendary” Beasley, a business executive from Legends Never Die Entertainment. He met Beasley through his best friend, producer Atrocity Sounds.
“I got invited into the studio one day, and I was on the team from that moment on. He told me about himself and, in my head, I said ‘he's legit’ and I've learned a lot from him since then,” says Justice.
Originally, Sounds was Beasley’s main producer for Legends Never Die Entertainment, but he parted ways nine months after Justice started working with the label. Justice now serves as the main, go-to producer for Legends Never Die.
He is grateful for Beasley, now his manager, who he considers to be his “big brother.” According to Justice, Beasley knew he had the potential to bring his talents to the mainstream.
Besides working with the artists from Legends Never Die, he also lists his top three artists he would produce for, including Jay-Z, and pop stars of yesterday, if they were alive today, such as Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson, who he considers to be icons.
He looks up to classic producers from the 1970s, such as Leon Ware, Gamble and Huff, Norman Whitfield, and Quincy Jones. He also looks up modern producers, such as Boi1Da, T-Minus, Kanye West, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Nottz, and 9th Wonder.
Justice goes through his sound kits every day for new projects and has plans to get back into rapping. No one at Legends Never Die has heard him rap, and he maintains “his pen is still sharp.”
He is currently working on new material for Moe Steele, YungViceCity, and OldChevyNewRari.
“Hopefully, I will run into more local people and meet more diamonds in the rough, I don't doubt that I will, so, I'm always watching and seeing who catches my eye in terms of craftsmanship,” says Justice.
We asked Supreme Justice this Sweet Scoop Fun Fact Question:
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?