Guest Star: "If [Jay-Z] Calls Me For A Cut, I May Have To Drop Everything"

Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010 1:50PM

Written by SOHH for Johnny Cake

[Behind-The-Scenes of the Eminem/Jay-Z Tour: Jay-Z's pesonal barber gives the run-down on being the rapper's go-to for fresh cuts.]

I was first discovered by Damon Dash and I flew out to the Hamptons with Damon and when Jay-Z saw me and was like, "Who's this, what's this about? Who'd you fly in?" And now, 12 years later, here I am. I had a friend who worked over at Roc-A-Fella and through that person, I got linked up with Dame and then Jay which has led to [cutting] Pharrell, DJ Clue, and DJ Envy.

With me and Jay, it's always been on a personal level. At the beginning, it was me coming to him getting him ready for a meeting, to have lunch somewhere with somebody; he would always make appearances like that. More or less, he'll come through to my [Englewood, New Jersey barbershop] The Shop, but I mostly go to him.

If he does call me for a cut, I may have to drop everything and make moves but for the most part, he understands I am running a business, I got a family, I have clients [and] he knows he has to fit it on his schedule some how.

I do travel with him, I've gone as far as Africa with him, Japan, so wherever he might want a cut, anywhere, he's gonna get a cut. Summertime, we go a little lower with the cuts, wintertime it's a little thicker, he'll let it grow out and especially when he's working on his albums, he likes to let it grow out. He gets into his rhyming mode. For the most part, he tries to keep it nice and low.

I've done his hair before shows, traveled with him to the shows, it really depends on if he's not around and can't get me before he goes on the road, then he'll have me meet him out there. Right now, we've been playing it by ear. So whatever it is, I'm there.

Being Jay's barber has definitely had a big impact on my career. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have all the clients that I got. Off the strength that I cut him, Jay-Z thinks that I'm nice. Which I am, but I'm sure there's somebody is out there better than me, not to brag, but this has really helped my career.

We usually talk sports. I don't like to go too much into his world from the business side, because that's like somebody asking me to cut their hair when I'm [off-duty]. So I really don't get into it but we mostly talk sports and what single he might put out and the reaction from the barbershop and just the normal stuff. I don't like to get into the business aspect.

Johnny Cake is a professional barber who has become renowned for placing his signature touch on the tops of Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, DJ Envy, DJ Clue and more from Englewood, New Jersey barbershop "The Shop."

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