For years, Hennessy has embraced the moniker ‘Never stop. Never settle.’ with its "Wild Rabbit" campaign. To celebrate the latest chapter, which this year highlights the journey of cycling legend Marshall "Major" Taylor, Hennessy teamed up with Complex to produce ‘Piece By Piece’, a four-part video series that takes an intimate look at the subterranean artists that shape both underground and mainstream culture through unmatched grind and persistence.
"I never just wanted to settle for being a part of someone else’s machine,” producer Just Blaze tells Complex. “I wanted to create my own.”
An artist’s mindset is one that constantly revolves around creation—and Justin “Just Blaze” Smith lives to create. Tied to some of hip-hop’s biggest names, including Kanye West, JAY-Z, Busta Rhymes, Prodigy, and more, Smith describes knowing at an early age that music was more of a passion than a hobby.
The New Jersey native spent hours at the record store—a habit that would later help jumpstart his career as a producer known for flipping soul samples. Now, at the age of 40, Smith continues to grind, having recently collaborated with T.I. on the rapper’s tenth studio album, Dime Trap, released in October.
Watch the legendary beatmaker share his story in latest installment of Piece By Piece above, and check out the previous episode featuring photographer Andre Wagner.