• Chas

ChaChaChats: Broadcast Journalist & Producer Justin Muzack

Updated: Mar 7

TCB: Justin, thank you so much for joining us here at The ChaCha Blog! To get things started, do you mind telling us a little about yourself?

JM: Yes, I am a broadcast journalist and record producer from Pacoima, CA. I have a strong passion for creativity and the cathartic experience one has when they consume art.

TCB: How did you first get started in music? 

JM: I started off in a drumline when I was in the 6th grade. I attended Patrick Henry Middle school and played the bass drum. In 7th grade, I joined the band and learned the alto-sax and played piano in our drumline’s pit section.

TCB: At what point in your life did you notice the effect that hip-hop had on you as opposed to other genres?

JM: To be honest most people don’t know, I wasn’t into hip-hop when I was younger. I was more into rock but it wasn’t until around 7th grade I got into hip-hop. But I knew Hip-Hop was what I wanted to get into when I listened to nu-metal bands like Linkin Park, P.O.D., and Limp Bizkit. That sparked my interest. I loved how someone could rhyme and have a coherent message.

Also at the time, my older sister was dating a DJ who goes by Dirtyboi and he uploaded a ton of music on my desktop. For me, it was like a digital crate of music. I started to get into Nas, Jay-Z, Method Man & Redman, Royce Da 5-9, Rakim, and more. But the song that made me fall in love with hip-hop was Nas’ “It ain’t hard to tell” off of Illmatic. I loved how Large Professor sampled Michael Jackson’s Human Nature and added a dope sax sample. I connected to the track because I was learning alto-sax at the time!

TCB: What inspired you to get into radio and broadcasting?

JM: What inspired me was when I joined Syndicate Radio back in 2011. Before I worked on the show, I loved the environment they created. They were DJing all night long and were having great and funny conversations. At the time, I was a local rapper who knew a few artists in the San Fernando Valley, and I proposed to be their booking agent.

As years passed and members came and left, I found myself being an official host and enjoyed conducting interviews. I loved hearing peoples stories of how records came to be and the life lessons they had learned. That is why I am pursuing this as my main career path. I love being able to connect with artists and I want listeners or viewers to do the same.

TCB: What is your goal with your career in radio? What do you hope to achieve?

JM: I would like to co-host on a morning show as well as broadcast for multiple outlets. I want to be able to break new artists and be apart of the Hip-Hop culture anyway I can.

TCB: What are you currently working on now? 

JM: I am currently working on my new radio show for The Pharcyde’s internet network, Pharcyde TV. The show is called “The GR8-L8 Show” and every week I play the greatest and latest in mainstream, underground, indie, undiscovered, and local Hip-Hop and R&B. In recent years, I have noticed a void between newer and older hip-hop fans.

Everyone nowadays seems to act like good music isn’t coming from all over the spectrum and that just isn’t true. Acts like Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, and Mac Miller have some dope records as well as people like M.F. Doom, Supastition, and Murs. Also, there are local and indie acts here in Los Angeles that I wanna give shine to such as Thomas Davinci, Elephant in the Room, Nandes, and Soulex.

I am also still conducting interviews and writing articles for Street Motivation Magazine and hosting beat battles and doing media for BeatGrade.

TCB: How do you balance pursing your career in radio, in addition to working on producing?

JM: That’s a really good question. Even since the Syndicate days, it has been a tug of war between the two. Since broadcasting is demanding in the sense of being on a schedule and things have been really panning out with it, it is at the forefront of my career. But I am constantly working on music and I think with “The GR8-L8 Show” I have found a happy medium because my beats are used as background music when I am hosting or conducting interviews.

Also whenever I have a rapper as a guest on the show, I tailor-make a beat for that artist to freestyle to and I play along with them live. I feel the show is blend of what I am truly passionate about!

TCB: What frustrates you the most about the music industry? Do you think our current generation is well-educated enough on where the roots of music, and Hip-Hop specifically, stems from?

JM: What frustrates me about the industry is I feel a lot of people want to be part of it for the wrong reasons. I feel it isn’t to push the culture or genre forward, it’s more for personal gain and they think people will view them as cool.

To be honest, I feel there are some artists and journalist that are aware of the roots of music and hip-hop. For me, the roots stem from having a good time, spreading a message, inspiring those who may be struggling and acquiring knowledge. I represent those ideologies of the genre.

TCB: What do you think the future of Hip-Hop looks like? There is such a difference between old-school and new-school… What are your thoughts on that and do you think hip-hop is truly dead?

JM: I believe Hip-hHop will be more inclusive. When I say inclusive, I mean different identities will be represented or more represented such as Latinos/Hispanics, Asians, Middle Eastern’s, people from the LGBTQ community, and women. Part of the reason why I fell in love with hip-hop was because I could identify with the music. Here were people talking about the black-male experience in America. Through that identification, these artists became people I looked up to. I want that for people from all walks of life that live in America and are into Hip-Hop.

In my opinion hip-hop never died, it most definitely became more commercial. Much like my mission with “The GR8-L8 Show”, I want to encourage those to dig for music and not always look to major media outlets for new music. Music is coming from everywhere, you just need to look for it. Especially with the internet, the possibilities are endless.

TCB: We like to keep it real at The ChaCha Blog and not hide our faults or struggles, so with that, have you experienced any pitfalls or struggles so far? If so, do you mind sharing what that struggle was and how you bounced back?

JM: The one I can think of is my recent interview with Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugz-N-Harmony. When we filmed it, I believe I asked a lot of intricate and insightful questions, but a lot of the footage was unusable due to technical issues. What was put up on Youtube was the footage that was in decent quality.

The interview made it seem like I only asked him about the group being signed to Ruthless Records and the projects he put out in 2017. That is when I got my first dose of Youtube hate! People were like “Why would you ask that?” Some people were like, “Enough of the same questions!” I learned after that interview to think out of the box and ask questions they may have never been asked.

TCB: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far? 

JM: To be honest, my biggest accomplishment is having my own show and being backed by west coast legends like The Pharcyde! The fact they support me as a journalist, a beatmaker, and a creative means a lot!

TCB: Last but not least, where can people find you to stay up to date on your work?

JM: Man, I’m so scattered at the moment. I am currently working on a website so all my content is available. As of right now you can follow me @justinmuzack on all social media and you can keep up with me!

Thank you so much to Justin for sharing is passion with us. Make sure to follow him on all social media platforms and tune into the “The GR8-L8 Show” at PharcydeTV.