TIDAL Launches ‘Side Hustle’ Series with Just Blaze
For the inaugural episode of TIDAL’s new original series, Side Hustle, we head to Ani Ramen shop in Jersey City, New Jersey, to sit down with super producer Just Blaze and his business partner, Luck Sarabhayavanija.
Before slurping down noodles, the partners-in-ramen sit with TIDAL’s Adelle Platon to discuss ramen culture and how the music biz is like the noodle industry.
“It wasn’t until I started going to Japan on a regular basis that I really understood the business,” says Just Blaze, who’s worked with JAY-Z, Beyoncé and other members of the hip-hop elite. “There was a ramen house around the corner and I’m like, ‘Cup O’ Noodles?’ They’re like, ‘No, that’s the Americanized fast food disposable version of it,’” he says.
Since Ani Ramen’s opening this April (the original shop is located in Montclair, New Jersey), Just Blaze and Luck have been hands-on about the shop’s ambiance and quality of customer service.
“It’s like alright, you guys do the day-to-day and me and Luck…,” Just Blaze says before Luck chimes in, “He likes the fun stuff.” By fun stuff, Just Blaze hints at potentially dropping buns courtesy of Houston rap veteran, Bun B, and manning the yakitori grill for “Just Blaze Fridays” in the future. The Jersey City Ani Ramen is also rare in that it serves Japanese whiskey.
Blaze, who once worked a 9-to-5 in the studio before dedicating his nights to making beats, says it was keeping up good relationships that helped him achieve success in both music and the ramen businesses.
“I been in this game as a producer for almost 20 years — I think this is my eighteenth year. In hip-hop specifically and electronic music in general, most producers get two, three, four years and then they’re out. Think about the producers who were ‘hot’ three years ago, you don’t hear their names anymore,” he explains.
“And I realized that one of the reasons why I had success was [not just being a] great salesman, I maintained great relationships. I always did good business. I always took care of people and in return, they always took care of me, even when they didn’t have to,” he adds.
Catch episode 1 of the Side Hustle below.
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