Rising Pittsburgh Artist J-Haze Reflects On Overcoming Homelessness
One of the brightest new faces of the Pittsburgh rap scene J-Haze recently reflected on his time spent living on the streets and how he overcame the situation to head up his own company.
“Pittsburgh homelessness is different from some cities because it gets really cold outside”
I had just gotten out of jail and started staying at my aunt’s house. I was still getting into trouble and coming home late and after a while, she got tired of it and kicked me out. Nobody else in my family would let me stay with them because they didn’t want any problems. When I first left, I stayed at a chick’s spot. I was doing all sorts of illegal activities to survive and not too long after that, I left and was out on the streets. I stayed on some park benches or somewhere outside. I hustled enough and started staying at a motel and it was a real dirty ass motel too. I didn’t have much at the time just basically some clothes to stash there. I stayed there for a while and then I met a homie and started staying with him.
I saw a lot of crazy stuff when I was living out in the streets. I myself was a real grimey dude at the time. I didn’t care about much, just whatever I had to do to survive. There were pregnant ladies buying drugs and others spending money on drugs that should have gone to feed their kids. It was just a crazy time in my life. But Pittsburgh homelessness is different from some cities because it really gets cold outside. A lot of people that were in my situation would go to the YMCA but I never allowed myself to go down that road because you get stuck relying on that. I was either going to come up out of it or end up dead or back in jail.
I’m not proud of everything I have done but I am not ashamed of being in that position of being homeless because it helped to make me who I am today. Being at the lowest of the bottom made me unstoppable in life. It just made me work harder and I use that same work ethic in my rap career and businesses. Even during that time when I was homeless, I had musical dreams and I used the money I got my hands on to pay for studio time so I could record. I didn’t let my situation stop me from pursuing my passion. I would get to my sessions anyway I could whether it was convincing someone to give me a ride or hustling the bus driver if I had no change. There were times when I stuffed pennies into the machine just to grab a bus ride. That unstoppable drive kept me going and got me to where I am today.
“I hope my story can inspire anyone out there who is down and out on their luck to climb out and never give up on their dreams”
Now I have my own music company called “Show Off Gang” with my own crew of artists. I signed a deal with Na’Shawn Carter and his Iconic Music Group label as a solo act and we are partnered up with Empire distribution. My new album “Pittsburgh” just dropped and BET.com just did a nice feature on me for their “Comme Up” spotlight. God recently blessed me with a little baby girl and she gives me even more of a reason to succeed. I still have a ways to go and much more to accomplish but I hope my story can inspire anyone out there who is down and out on their luck to climb out and never give up on their dreams.
Stream J-Haze’s new album “Pittsburgh”; https://soundcloud.com/tharealjhaze/sets/pittsburgh