Open main menu

Journalist 103 (born January 21, 1979)[1] is an American rapper. After starting his career as part of the hip hop crew Mountain Climbaz in 1997, he later joined the hip hop group The Left. He served as primary lyricist on the group's 2010 album Gas Mask, which Sputnik Music named as one of the Best Underground Hip-Hop Albums of 2010.[2]

Journalist 103
Also known asJ Clip, J-Clip
Born (1979-01-21) January 21, 1979 (age 40)[1]
Detroit, Michigan
GenresHip hop
Years active1997–present
Associated actsThe Mountain Climbaz, The Left, Snowgoons, Oddisee, Freeway, Saigon
WebsiteJournalist 103 on Facebook

In 2012 he released his debut solo album Reporting Live on Babygrande Records. With guest appearances by Freeway, Saigon, Fashawn, and production by Oddisee and Snowgoons,[3] lyrically the album addresses diverse themes and incorporates a number of hip hop subgenres.[4] According to, "His rhymes are laced with social, economic and political anecdotes, and are an example of why hip-hop is educative."[5] Journalist 103 is currently working on his sophomore solo album, also to be released on Babygrande.


Early lifeEdit

Journalist 103 was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.[5] After developing an early interest in music, his cousin X-Gov was one of his first inspirations to go into rap, exposing him to artists such as DJ Premier and Gang Starr. He went on to listen avidly to artists such as Proof, Royce, and Phat Kat.[6] Other hip hop artists influential in his youth included Ice Cube, The Wu Tang Clan, and Eminem.[7] Rapping by the age of eleven,[5] he initially rapped under the name J Clip[6] before changing his moniker to Journalist 103. Stated Journalist 103, "I earned my name from one of my old high school teacher's. We had to do a brief commercial in written form. When I submitted it she read it and told me I was a really good writer and that I should be a journalist. So the name just stuck with me ever since."[8] He attended Detroit Central High School,[5] and by age eighteen he was beginning to go to shows and market his music.[5]

Music careerEdit

1990s-04: Mountain Climbaz, singlesEdit

Around 1997 he started professionally emceeing, performing independently at various open mics around Detroit. He eventually met and began collaborating with the producer Strike, with whom he soon formed the hip hop crew Mountain Climbaz.[8] Other members soon joined and they performed around Detroit.[5]

While still with Mountain Climbaz he became associated with Iron Fist Records, run by Proof,[4] and began making guest appearances on a number of tracks by other artists. He contributed to the opening track ("Broken") on Proof's 2002 album Electric Coolaid Acid Testing.[3] The song was nominated for a number of awards. His 2003 track "Broken Again" featuring Mu, Proof, and Marvwon which received an award for best hip-hop group song of the year in 2004.[8]

The Mountain Climbaz released their only album, Unnecessary Roughness, in July 2004. In June 2005 Journalist 103 released his first solo mixtape, K.R.A.M. Movement.

2010: The Left, Gas MaskEdit

After the disbanding of Mountain Climbaz, Journalist 103 co-founded the hip hop group The Left with Detroit producer Apollo Brown. The duo soon brought in DJ Soko to add to the tracks and act as DJ for their live performances.[2] Journalist 103 was a primary lyricist behind the group's debut album Gas Mask, released in 2010.[3] According to the Michigan Citizen, "the concept of the album’s title was to warn audiences that hip hop music is being used against the people like poison. Positive, thought-provoking music can act as a 'gas mask' to help filter out the nonsense."[4]

Gas Mask was named Best Album of 2010 by, and was in the Top 25 Albums of 2010 by HipHopDX and DJ Premier. Sputnik Music named it one of the Best Underground Hip-Hop Albums of 2010.[2] Stated HipHopDX, Gas Mask "captured a nostalgic prestige with Journalist playing an integral part as the mouthpiece of the group's movement."[9] Stated about Gas Mask, Journalist's all-too-real narratives and Apollo's nods to classic soul could hardly have come from another city [than Detroit]. An artistic statement and a brilliant debut, Gas Mask should be Motown's unofficial soundtrack, but its listenership should know no regional boundaries."[10]

2012: Reporting LiveEdit

His debut solo album, "Reporting Live", was released by the New York-based independent label Babygrande Records in 2012. Reporting Live had guest appearances by Freeway, Saigon and Fashawn, and production from The Audible Doctor, Oddisee, Apollo Brown, and Snowgoons.[3] The diverse topics addressed on the album include "love, following your dreams to success and the violence on the streets being a reflection of the violence of war and oppression in the world."[4] His first single from Reporting Live, "Walk With Me," paints a picture of Detroit, with Oddisee producing.[11]

"What stands out the most on Reporting Live is Journalist 103’s command on the microphone. From the lyrical vigor and socio-political narrative of 'United We Stand' to the melancholic disclosure of drug addiction within his family on '3 AM,' there’s magnetic conviction in Journalist’s voice. Bringing clarity to his personal journey, 'Walk With Me' is a record filled with anecdotal teachings for navigating life."[9] in 2012[9] gave Reporting Live a score of 3.5/5 and a positive review, praising both his delivery and lyricism.[9] Refined Hype criticized the short length of several of tracks, but stated that "When you have an artist whose name is 'Journalist' and his project is called Reporting Live, you’re expecting music that serves as a form of journalism, and the Detroit rapper definitely makes it a priority to paint a picture of the environment around him in vivid detail."[12] According to, "Whilst Journalist does touch upon social issues when Reporting Live, his best work involves him passionately sharing his thoughts over soulful, pounding production."[10]

Also, according to, "Journalist 103 stands to be a vital force for the unheard, and Reporting Live solidifies him as such. With this album and Gas Mask held in succession, it’s clear that Journalist has found his rightful place within hip hop. It may not be glossy and glorified by the masses, but it’s music with an honest cause."[9]

2014: Recent projectsEdit

As of 2014 Journalist 103 is working on his sophomore solo album. He has recently contributed to tracks by Krate Krusaders, Snowgoons, and SoulPete.


According to, "Much like fellow Detroit MC Guilty Simpson, Journalist has a hard hitting, definitively rugged style of spitting."[10]

"Journalist is a perfectly-titled MC because his raps have no gimmicks....but keep the listener coming back for more because they're expertly-arranged, compellingly delivered, and contain real substance."

According to, "His rhymes are laced with social, economic and political anecdotes, and are an example of why hip-hop is educative."[5] Stated Journalist 103, "The music corporations, they manufacture music. It’s not meant to be manufactured; it’s a creative process, you have to create it. It has to come from the heart. When writing something, I never come in with trying to follow gimmicks, or just be insincere. I want the audience to feel where I come from, I want them to feel like they can relate.”[4]



Collaborative albums with Journalist 103
Year Album title Release details
2004 Unnecessary Roughness
(with Mountain Climbaz)
  • Released: July 1, 2004
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: digital
2010 Gas Mask
(with The Left)

Solo materialEdit

Albums and mixtapesEdit

Studio albums and mixtapes by Journalist 103
Year Album title Release details
2005 K.R.A.M Movement
  • Released: June 1, 2005
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: digital mixtape
2012 Reporting Live
2016 Battle of the Hearts and Minds
  • Released: October 28, 2016
  • Label: Babygrande
  • Format: CD, digital


Selected songs by Journalist 103
Year Title Album Notes
2004 "Da Four Horsemen" (by The Mountain Climbaz)
(ft. Proof, Bizarre, Seven Daze, Royce da 5'9)
2005 "Endangered Music" (ft. Miz Korona) K.R.A.M Movement
2010 "Gas Mask" (by The Left) Gas Mask
"Get In Where You Fit In" (by The Left)
2012 "Danger" (ft. Freeway) 3-track single
"Hear Me" (ft. Saigon, Fashawn) Reporting Live
"The Foundation" Music video

Guest appearancesEdit

Selected songs featuring Journalist 103
Year Single name Primary artist(s) Album Label
2002 "Broken" (ft. Journalist 103 and Mu) Proof Electric Coolaid Acid Testing Iron Fist
2005 "Industry 103" (ft. Journalist 103, Animal Chief) Strike The Free World United Vision
2011 "Make Moves" (ft. Journalist 103) Astronote Weapon Of The Future Self-released
2012 "Detroit Makes the World Go Round" (ft. Journalist 103) DJ Low Cut NY Minute Rugged
"Motor City Movin'" (ft. Journalist 103, Guilty Simpson) J.R. & PH7 The Good Life
"Listen" (ft. Journalist 103) Krate Krusaders When The Needle Drops Vol. 1 Self-released
2013 "Still Real And Raw" (ft. M-Dot, Jaysaun and Journalist 103) Snowgoons Black Snow 2 Goon MuSick
2014 "Duel Machete" (ft. Journalist 103) SoulPete So(ul) Raw

Further readingEdit

  • "Interview: Journalist 103". Soundclick.
  • "Reporting Live With Journalist 103 As He Speaks About His New Album, Imam Luqman, the Origins of His Name, and The Classic Album Gas Mask". November 12, 2012.
  • "Journalist 103: Reporting Live". November 16, 2012.
  • "Journalist 103 'Reporting Live'". The Michigan Citizen. November 17, 2012.
  • "A Bonus Cut Feature: An Interview With Journalist 103". October 9, 2013.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c "The Left". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Journalist 103 (of The Left): Reporting Live". Underground Hip Hop. Oct 30, 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  4. ^ a b c d e Furay, Steve (November 17, 2012). "Journalist 103 'Reporting Live'". The Michigan Citizen. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "A Bonus Cut Feature: An Interview With Journalist 103". October 9, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  6. ^ a b Shabazz, Sherron (November 16, 2012). "Journalist 103: Reporting Live". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  7. ^ "Reporting Live With Journalist 103 As He Speaks About His New Album, Imam Luqman, the Origins of His Name, and The Classic Album Gas Mask". November 12, 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  8. ^ a b c "Interview: Journalist 103". Soundclick. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  9. ^ a b c d e Ortiz, Edwin (November 25, 2012). "Journalist 103 (The Left)". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  10. ^ a b c Jones, Grant (February 6, 2013). "Journalist 103 :: Reporting Live". Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  11. ^ "Audio Premiere: Journalist 103 "Walk With Me (prod. Oddisee)"". OkayPlayer. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  12. ^ Dharmic X (November 5, 2012). "Overlooked: Journalist 103's "Reporting Live" (Album Review)". Refined Hype. Retrieved 2014-07-18.

External linksEdit