James “Jimii” Carlisle is a 24-year-old independent artist on the brink of mainstream success. Born and raised in New York City, he now resides in Virginia and goes by the alias “Jimii Hitmaker.” Although many hip-hop artists are often drowned out by a sea of unsigned talent and up-and-coming rappers, Carlisle’s distinctive voice and unique rapping pattern make him a standout.
Black Enterprise first caught up with the promising rapper last year, when he told us about his aspirations and passion for making music. Now, months later, Carlisle has been hit with a new wave of success.
In April, he released two hit singles, “Jet Pack” and “Stunnin.” Both received worldwide recognition, while “Stunnin” is currently charting at No. 63 on Digital Radio Tracker’s National Airplay Top 150 Independent Chart.
He also signed a distribution deal with Amada Records—a premier record label underneath the EAE Management Group umbrella that is distributed via QUE Records/Capitol Music Group—to promote his single “Stunnin.”
In an email, Carlisle opened up about his new distribution deal and his journey in the music industry.
Why do you think you received the opportunity to sign a single distribution deal with Amada Records?
The single is doing pretty good and personally, I think they saw the motivation and drive I have for my music and career.
As an independent artist, how do you feel about the deal?
I still am independent and own all my music and royalties. The distribution is to help me be pushed to a wider audience. I need a more effective way to get my message out, so I partnered up with Amada Records, but I’m still an independent artist signed to my own label, Ticket Vision.
Would you ever consider signing a recording contract with a record company?
Personally, I’d rather remain independent and build my brand and [own] label. And then, maybe one day, partner with a major [record label].
What type of music can people expect to hear from you?
Well, my new single “Stunnin” is available now everywhere music is sold. (Go request it now at your local radio station!) I’m dropping a video every Friday until I release my next project, “If Not Me Than Who,” and later this month, I will drop the third installment to my mixtape series, titled “The Mixtape That Didn’t Happen Pt.3.”
Carlisle’s new project “If Not Me Than Who” will be released July 21. You can follow him on Twitter here.
*Jimii’s answers have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Selena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear Hill and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MsSelenaHill.