J.I the Prince of N.Y

Justin Irvin Rivera (born September 23, 2001), better known by his stage name J.I the Prince of N.Y or more recently simply J.I., is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for his 2019 breakout single "Need Me", whose music video has over 73 million views.

J.I the Prince of N.Y
Birth nameJustin Irvin Rivera
Also known asJ.I.
Born (2001-09-23) September 23, 2001 (age 19)[1]
OriginBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2016–present
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Rivera grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and is of Puerto Rican descent.[2][3] At a young age he was introduced by his parents to music like old-school hip hop and reggaeton, and would make rudimentary beats on a miniature keyboard.[4] In school, English was his favorite subject and he would write short stories.[5] He began writing raps and freestyling with his brothers in middle school, influenced by New York rappers like Tupac, Biggie, Nas, DMX, Jay-Z and Big Pun.[3][6]


I got to a point where everything went left, and I had a decision to make: Am I gonna just give up and do nothing for myself? I had already started my career; at the time, I developed a name for myself. Let me try to go hard. I can’t lose anything if I try one more time. So, I tried again.

— J.I. explaining his decision to return to music in 2019 after a period of inactivity.[4]

In 2016 he appeared on the second season of The Rap Game, a reality show competition hosted by Jermaine Dupri on Lifetime.[6] The then fifteen-year-old secured his place on the show after Dupri found his freestyles on Instagram.[3][7] In one of the challenges, Rivera placed in first, earning a spot on the cover of Hip Hop Weekly magazine.[8][9] Although he did not win the overall competition, his impressive performance gained him a substantial following, and he released his debut single "No Static" soon thereafter.[7][10] By the end of the year he had received more than 500,000 views on his YouTube channel.[11]

He released his first project in 2017, a three-track extended play called Barely Famous.[12] After his clout from the show died down, he went through a period where he admits he lost his motivation and stopped focusing on his music.[4] He blew all of his money from The Rap Game on marijuana and was considering a job in construction.[13] After getting kicked out of his mom's house he made the decision to give music one last try and connected with his future manager Gabi Acevedo to restart his career.[13][14]

In October 2019 he released his mixtape Hood Life Krisis Vol. 1, which included his breakout single "Need Me", a "melodic, punch-line laden" track sampling the 2000 song "Best of Me, Part 2" by Mýa featuring Jay-Z.[2][4] In November, with the song at over 3 million streams on Spotify, it was announced he had signed a deal with Interscope Records via G*Starr Entertainment.[15][16] He also put out his fifth and final music video for the album, this time for "Love Won't Change".[15] As of 2020, "Need Me" remains his most-viewed with over 50 million YouTube views.

He released Hood Life Krisis Vol. 2 that December and embarked on his first headlining national tour the following month.[7] Holding the final shows in his hometown of New York, he became the first artist in history to sell out the legendary SOB's venue on three consecutive nights.[11][17] Notably, in April, Drake paid him homage by playing and singing along to his songs "Used To" and "On Me" during an Instagram Live session with OVO Mark.[2][18] A week later he released a new single, "Proud of Me", along with an accompanying music video.[12][18] After appearing on Lil Tjay's State of Emergency EP, he further collaborated with him in June on the single "Hood Scars 2", which served as a followup to J.I.'s original song which had by then amassed 15 million streams across all platforms.[19][20]

In July 2020 he came out with the single "Spanglish" with Puerto Rican rapper Myke Towers, with both artists mixing English and Spanish in their verses.[21] It served as the lead single to his next EP, Welcome to GStarr Vol. 1, which he released on July 17 and also featured Lil Durk.[22] In the first 20 minutes, it garnered 1.3 million streams on Spotify.[22] A few days prior, Spotify announced a partnership with J.I. as a part of its recently launched RADAR program meant to promote "world-class talent through [their] global marketing and editorial teams" with placement in their official playlists, a mini-documentary, third-party partnerships, a Spotify Singles recording and support on the EP release.[5]


He has been described as having a "penchant for syrupy melodies."[2] His melodic rap-sung style and distinctive New York accent have resulted in comparisons to A Boogie wit da Hoodie and Lil Tjay.[2][6][23]



Title Album details
Hood Life Krisis Vol. 1
Hood Life Krisis Vol. 2
  • Released: December 13, 2019
  • Label: G*Starr Ent., Interscope, Geffen
  • Format: Digital download

Extended playsEdit

Title Album details
Barely Famous
  • Released: April 25, 2017
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download
Welcome to GStarr Vol. 1
  • Released: July 17, 2020
  • Label: G*Starr Ent., Interscope, Geffen
  • Format: Digital download

Guest appearancesEdit

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"My City"[24] 2020 Lil Tjay State of Emergency


  1. ^ "About J.I. Prince of NY". bookingagentinfo.com. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lamarre, Carl (April 15, 2020). "Meet J.I., the Melodic Romantic Who Believes in Real Love". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Chandler, Kisha (November 29, 2016). "JI The Prince of New York - Claiming The Throne of the Streets of New York". The Next Level Magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Chesman, Donna-Claire (April 10, 2020). "Brooklyn's J.I. Hopes You're Proud of Him". DJBooth. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Spotify's RADAR Program Launches Second US Artist, J.I The Prince of N.Y Alongside New Content". Spotify. July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Seabrook III, Robby (January 29, 2020). "The Break Presents: J.I. the Prince of NY". XXL. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Speed, Kellie (January 31, 2020). "Rapper J.I. The Prince Of NY On Becoming A Social Media Sensation". Haute Living. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  8. ^ John, Jason (August 6, 2016). "Hip Hop Weekly Prince Of New York Rapper, The Rap Game". Empire BBK. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Paye, Johnetta (September 20, 2016). "Contracts for kids: The legal side of reality music TV contracts". JPaye In Brief. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "The B-Side - J.I. the Prince of NY (Geffen/Interscope)". HITS Daily Double. April 28, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Rashed, Ayana (July 15, 2020). "18-Year-Old Rapper, J.I. the Prince of NY Announces Partnership With Spotify For Its Radar Emerging Artists Program; New EP Out This Friday". Respect. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Sharpe, Lynn (April 26, 2020). "J.I. The Prince Of N.Y. Delivers New Track, "Proud Of Me"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "J.I. - Blowing Money On Weed After "The Rap Game" & First Expense After Interscope Deal (247HH EXCL)". YouTube. June 17, 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  14. ^ Kolbrener, Charlie (January 20, 2020). "J.I Prince of N.Y Might Soon Be the King of Hip-Hop". ONE37pm. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Saponara, Michael (November 25, 2019). "J.I. the Prince of NY Signs With GStarr Ent/Interscope Records, Drops 'Love Won't Change' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Rich, Jay (November 22, 2019). "J.I. The Prince Of NY Has Signed Major Label Deal With Interscope Records". Hip-HopVibe.com. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  17. ^ Baig, Nishat (February 24, 2020). "J.I. Talks Selling Out SOBS, Family Reunion And Upcoming Project". The Knockturnal. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Singh, Navjosh (April 10, 2020). "FOLLOWING DRAKE CO-SIGN, BROOKLYN RAPPER J.I. SHARES NEW SINGLE 'PROUD OF ME': WATCH". HipHop-N-More. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  19. ^ Rashed, Ayana (June 20, 2020). "J.I. & Lil Tjay Team Up For The Highly Anticipated "Hood Scars 2" Visual Out Now". Respect. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  20. ^ Cole, Alexander (June 20, 2020). "J.I. The Prince Of N.Y & Lil Tjay Display Raw Emotion On "Hood Scars 2"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Rashed, Ayana (July 7, 2020). "J.I. Prince of NY Taps Into His Latin Roots with His New Single/ Visual For "Spanglish" Featuring Myke Towers". Respect. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Price, Joe (July 17, 2020). "J.I the Prince of N.Y Drops 'Welcome to GStarr Vol. 1' EP". Complex. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "J.I The Prince Of N.Y Is Ready To Pop: From Drake & Roddy Ricch Co-Signs To "Welcome To GStarr Vol. 1"". HotNewHipHop. July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  24. ^ "State of Emergency". Apple Music. Retrieved July 17, 2020.

External linksEdit