“We have this kingdom right here in North Carolina,” Rowsey said. “A lot of people want to go to a New York, Atlanta or Los Angeles, but what I think people are missing is the gold mine that is right here in our own backyard.”
Known onstage as (J) Rowdy, Rowsey said that a sense of community and loyalty was important to his new album, “Return to Black Wall Street.” The album’s name is a reference to Durham’s Parrish Street, which was a hub of black entrepreneurship.
“People are beginning to make their own way, shape their own vision and dreams, work independently and start their own businesses,” Rowsey said. “Things are beginning to pop up. If you have some sort of vision within Durham, you’re able to build and make it your career and your lifestyle.”
Rowsey produced his entire album in two days with the help of friend Tracy Lamont.
“For him, he said it was a testament to getting things done and letting go of any stagnant energy,” Lamont said.
Rowsey said producing the album was an intense, spiritually growing process.
“It was scary because everything had to be right,” Rowsey said. “It shows the power of manifestation (of the idea) of ‘do music and focus what is possible.’”
Brandon Long, the general manager of Linda’s Bar and Grill where Josh usually performs as (J) Rowdy, said audiences enjoy when sample songs of the album are performed at the restaurant.
“It’s the real deal,” Long said. “It’s exactly what I expect of (J) Rowdy to come up with.”
Lamont said that Rowsey is always himself and gives his full presence to people.
“His project and even him as an artist or person is rowdy,” Lamont said. “And that’s even if he’s being calm with you or more meditative and just speaking life into you and just trying to get you some game or something.”
Rowsey said that a major part of the development of the album was the history of Durham.
“I’m starting to realize was just how much of a rich history that Durham has,” Rowsey said. “Durham’s past is about black entrepreneurship, black businesses and just overall the black community. What I had learned was how it was destroyed and now there seems to be a resurgence of black entrepreneurship that is starting to happen in the Durham area.”
Lamont said his favorite song on the album is “Trouble” because he resonates with how the song describes the experience of trying to make it in the music industry.
“I feel like that’s something we all play around with, ‘Yeah I got a little bit of money but I also got a 100 million problems on my mind and I’m just trying to get to the money and greater purpose in life,’” Lamon said, quoting the song.
Rowsey said most people doubt their full potential.
“(Everyone) underestimates how much power they have within themselves to manifest their own destiny.”