Things We Love: Picks from J Rawls

J Rawls

J Rawls contributed production on Black Star's “Brown Skin Lady” and “Yo, Yeah,” which placed him on the map among independent hip-hop producers and DJs. Rawls is also an adjunct instructor at Tiffin University, and has over 15 years of K-12 teaching experience, as well as a doctorate in education. In honor of the last show at Double Happiness, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 25, and features Rawls, among others, here are a few of the producer's favorite things.

Donatos Pizza

I am from the South Side of Columbus. I grew up on Donatos Pizza in the '70s and '80s. In fact, as a youngster, I thought everyone knew about Donatos. I didn't realize that for the longest time it was just that one store. The thin-crust pizza was our family favorite! I still eat it all the time. When I go visit my parents, I stop by the Thurman Avenue location and grab a pie. My kids now enjoy Donatos with me, especially for a big game!


Every Tuesday night for the past seven years a group of educators has been gathering on Twitter to speak about how hip-hop can influence education. Prominent educators such as Christopher Emdin, Emery Petchauer and Sam Seidel have joined in on the chat.

Columbus hip-hop

I pretty much live in the past, and I have an archive of music that covers huge swaths of Columbus independent hip-hop. I have everything from early recordings of the 3rd Power and Basic Element to S.P.I.R.I.T., Relm, Prime, Brothers Grimm, Lone Catalysts, SpitBall, Camu, Copywrite, MHz and Illogic. If you see me rolling, you will notice that usually some sort of ol' school, obscure Columbus hip-hop will be in the deck! I'm a collector!


“Black-ish” has really taken over for me right now. It reminds me of a modern day “Cosby Show” or “A Different World.” It usually tackles issues that affect not only the black community, but everyone in general. I really like the episode about police brutality. The one about the daughter going off to college really hit home as well, as my son just left for college.


If you've followed my music, you know that I did an album in 2009 with my partner John Robinson calledThe 1960's Jazz Revolution Again. Well, we are back at it, and this time we are speaking on an issue VERY close to both of our hearts. The name of this new album will beThe Re:Education Revolution, and it will speak about hip-hop education. The really cool thing about this project is that we are writing a companion book simultaneously. The album will pull important info from the book, and each song title will also share a name with a book chapter.