We had the good fortune of connecting with J. Cru and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J., why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I don’t think I pursued it, as much as I held a collection of interests, that led me down. a path. One might even say I was “haunted” by them. There were skill sets that developed over time, and combined with my personality, I kept finding myself in a particular “space.” So, over the last decade, there’s always been this balance or imbalance of, “Cooking, Poetry, and Clothing.” Plus, I’m from Montbello and that’s just a part of who are.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It’s just been ongoing. No, Its not easy because there’s just constant adjustments and reevaluating of how to approach things. New ideas, revisiting old ideas. Putting some to the side and eliminating some, as well. I tend to struggle with that because ideally, I’d like to express ideas through more than one creative outlet. There’s no set structure on how to do things. Not to mention, you don’t really ever “clock out” because the ideas don’t stop. The challenges can be, trying to recognize which interest is more important which, can change sometimes. That’s just me. Other people might be different. I think what’s important about my story and the Crown & Albrook story is, I’m a very layered person. Montbello is layered. We have all types of ethnicities but during my era, we had a common culture. People are layered and very complex, whether they know it or not. Because of proximity, Montbello was isolated during the 80s and 90s. That made us close to each other but we’re also socialized by DPS, DPD and other organizations tied to that jurisdiction. That distance gave us a nomadic trait. We’ll go anywhere. That closeness made us very creative and resourceful, even when we didn’t have resources. So, there isn’t one style or type of person from that neighborhood but we all share that same “filter.” We “act” a particular way, because we needed to be heard, when nobody was looking our direction. Remember, most people don’t think Denver goes east of Colorado Blvd or Quebec. Personally, the dominant factor for me, in any capacity, is the human eliminate. My connections with people supersede most other motivations that’s but that’s still tied to my main purpose.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Damn, that’s interesting because a lot changed, before the last 6 months. Honestly, the Cold Crush era was amazing. There were so many friendships and creative pursuits that came out of that place. Denver was extremely connected. The reason it closed, isn’t what most people think but that’s another story. That was also when John Mc and Megafauna were on the opposite corner, Low Key and Lazy Eyes were doing The Solution on Fridays and Goodness, anywhere Carl Carrell, Skeena, Destiny, KDJ and Gyp were spinning, are always good events. Anything Jolt and the Northside crew is doing is usually dope. Xencs, Meeg, any pop ups with Amy Lisojo! Too many people to name! Plus, Denver poetry has always been strong as well! The last couple of years its been Bar Helix, owned by Kendra Anderson. The culture of the place, has a lot of promise. I felt just as comfortable there, as I did a Cold Crush. Kendra and her staff have worked really hard to create that environment. I also liked Le Meridian, which had a similar vibe, in my opinion. Denver has had some really good runs and there’s much more I could mention. I like to eat our so, I’m at Swing Thai on Colorado, owned by Duke. Pho Lee way out South on Arapahoe. I still favor WaterCourse and City O’ City but its changed. When Dan Landes owned it, it felt like family but I do appreciate the staff that show me love. Other than that, I’m probably cooking!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
That’s tough! There’s too many names! Off top, I’d have to “Shoutout,” everybody from Montbello. My parents, The LaCabe Family, Andre Holliday, Reggie Simon and Big John. My Families from D.C., PG County, ATL, London, NYC, Jersey, Chicago and Nashville. oh.. Desra Brown from FLA! She pushed me to move out of state, when I needed to grow! Marshall Fortson and Brian Methange. Also, Donald G Wooten who’s the Chief Graphic Designer for the Brand and owner of, Stolen. I’ve had tons of support!
My solo Image by Connor Tieulie Franklin Cruz taken by Ryan Landell DJ Skeena and Carrigain Scaddin taken by Connor Tieluie