Joseph Robert Bellah—Prod. JRB—answers the Zoom call with a beaming smile spread across his face and a friendly attitude. He's repping his new found home, BobbyBoy Records, with him wearing their dad hat. On Nov. 3, I had the opportunity to interview the up-and-coming producer. We discussed the 14-year-old’s journey throughout the music industry, how he began producing, how he got signed to BobbyBoy Records, his debut beat tape—Legacy—and much more.
Two years ago, JRB went to see Logic, aka Bobby Tarantino, aka Young Sinatra, perform on the Confessions of a Dangerous Mind tour in San Francisco. JRB attended the concert with his father and they had floor seats—row 18 to be exact. With the homemade sign he excitedly crafted two months prior to the show in hand, a RattPack hat a little too large on his head, and a black Bobby Tarantino T-shirt clung to his body, he was determined to make this concert one to remember—but little did he know the events that would follow.
During the concert, security approached him and brought him up to the front row. JRB said he thought they “felt bad” for him because they kept getting mad at him for holding up his sign, because it was blocking the other fans’ view, so he kept having to put it down. Once in the front row, Logic paced his way over to where JRB was and they both started rapping “Gang Related” to one another, with JRB on the floor and Logic onstage. Roughly 10 seconds into the song, Logic stopped and called it off. He asked JRB his name, how old he was, and who he was at the concert with. Logic then said, “Come with me. You’re coming the f*** onstage. You’re going to rap with me right now, c’mon.” JRB eagerly made his way onstage, grabbed the mic from Logic, and sound checked it—much to Logic’s liking. Logic said he hadn’t brought anybody onstage in “a long time.” He said the duo were going to sing the first verse of “Under Pressure” and if the audience liked the way JRB performed, he would be leaving with every single piece of Logic’s merch. JRB proceeded to rap the track with Logic, and finished to the audience erupting with affirming roars and applause.
Afterward, JRB walked backstage where Logic greeted him and shook his hand, then quickly went back onstage. Security directed JRB back to his seat for the remainder of the concert, but they let him and his father backstage after the show was over. JRB and his father waited in line with the other fans who were going to go speak with Logic. When it was finally their turn, JRB told him that he produced music and they proceeded to discuss a variety of topics.
“That night was very crazy. We [my father and I] came back [home] with a bunch of merch. It was one of the best nights of my life, for sure. I had talks with him [Logic] after this, probably more recently, and he said that he just thought we were really cool people and that he definitely had his eyes on us, just from that night,” JRB said.
This experience pushed JRB further in the music direction. He first began making beats in June 2019, when he was just 12 years old. Though, he can’t pinpoint exactly where it all began. He said it was a mixture of feeling inspired by the work of various artists and producers in the music industry, random YouTube videos of people making beats, and, at the root of it, his raw passion for music. He said everything just suddenly “clicked.”
The first piece of equipment he had was a very big, “brick-like,” Casio keyboard. On this he had the ability to loop tracks and he could play with different instruments, specifically drum sounds like kicks, snares, and hats. From there, he kept upgrading his equipment. He moved toward the “iPad movement” where he started using GarageBand. He began having more fun experimenting with the different sounds he could make. He stuck to using a straight interface and already laid out sounds. This is when he got into sampling records, sample packs, etc., and transitioned into making beat tapes. He started to post them onto SoundCloud and YouTube where it became more “serious.”
In March 2021, JRB was in fourth period math class when the opportunity of a lifetime came knocking at his door. He was sitting in his room, in front of his computer, on his phone scrolling through Twitter when he saw a video Logic tweeted of himself and 6ix, Logic’s producer, playing guitar. JRB commented on it saying “Yooo s*** looks dope,” and Logic saw his comment. He noticed that JRB’s profile picture was of him and JRB. He replied back saying that he remembered him and that he liked his beats. He then proceeded to DM JRB, which led to a phone call 30 minutes later. Logic wanted JRB to sign to his record label, BobbyBoy Records.
“I don't want to really get too deep into it, but that was really how I got to get signed was for him to find me through Twitter,” JRB said.
Now came the next step, telling his parents.
“They [my parents] were very excited. It was a very emotional moment, too, as well, so just really soaking it in, of course. Logic is a really, really, really good guy. Very genuine. I'm very grateful for everything that he's done for me and my family and there's a lot more to come with us,” JRB said.
JRB had planned to release another beat tape right before he got signed. He had it ready and uploaded to his chosen streaming provider and could have just pulled the trigger, but he didn't.
JRB said that the hardest thing for him, as a producer, was finding his sound. Recently, he found one that represents him. He said he feels like he’s gotten better as a producer over the last year by expanding his sound, when it comes to using different instruments, because he has a wider sound variety now—thanks to BobbyBoy Records giving him a bunch of sounds and such that he could use for beats. That’s what is heard on Legacy, which took him roughly two months to finish.
“I went to visit Logic in Utah and then after that, I went home super inspired. I started to make beats, and I started to make beats in the style of what this beat tape ended up being,” JRB said.
There is a large transition from his past beat tapes to his latest one.
“It's [Legacy is] definitely the biggest jump in sound that I've made—like ever,” JRB said, “I feel like the jump, from Found My Way to this [Legacy], is very, very big in terms of the sound and how it all sounds together. This one sounds a lot more clean. A lot more built. It's just [has] better beats overall,” JRB said.
JRB released Legacy on Oct. 22. He said it was "very exciting" to see it finally released, because of the significance of it being his official debut project with BobbyBoy Records. He was keen to see how people would react to it, because of how much Legacy means to him. Throughout the process of creating his music, he makes sure to soak in some of the feedback and advice of those around him.
“Even to get feedback from people, it’s very important to me. I feel like if you want to really be good at what you do, you have to study and learn from people above you who know more, and who have done it longer than you have, who can give you really good advice, really good tips,” JRB said, “Taking advice from people is a very, very good thing and I value it a lot.”
One of the people JRB admires most in the music industry, Logic, told him to "be patient."
“This is a very long road when it comes to getting to where I want to be. It can be annoying at times when it comes to making beats or whether something doesn't go right. It's just a very long, draining process,” JRB said, “But for me, I make the most fun out of it, especially with hanging out with the whole BobbyBoy circle and everybody in that lane. They’re all very, very good people, very supportive people. It definitely makes the process a lot easier to be with people who are very good.”
This is just the beginning of the young producer's career. As JRB pursues music, he wants to leave his mark.
“I want my legacy to be the amount of people I can inspire, the amount of music I can put out, and really what I do while I have this vision. And also supporting my family and my friends and working with them and bringing them along, to be a part of my legacy is the main thing for sure. To have more than just me be a part of it,” JRB said.
The grind doesn’t stop, with JRB already working on his latest music.
“It's very, very hardcore, boom bap, also mixed with some chill s***, but it's a different vibe from Legacy. It's a different type of hip-hop. It's definitely more gritty and you'll hear it when you listen to it. A lot of samples are used in it.” JRB said, “On this next one, I want to have [other] artists, I want to expand my sound in terms of the amount of people I can work with to create something.”