Projexx is thriving amid strange times. After inking a major label deal with Warner Records in 2019, recent bangers like “Bigga League” featuring Bakersteez and “Sidepiece” have tallied millions of plays. Last November, Projexx released his introductory body of work, an 18-track mixtape titled Fully Vol. 1. Projexx’s feature on African superstar Wizkid’s “True Love” was also blowing up around the time of Vol. 1’s release, which sparked curiosity and aided in his rise as a young act.
Wizkid feature aside, the secret to Projexx’s come-up is a result of his commitment to craft and consistent ability to deliver anthems for the youth, which slowly led to a snowball effect of opportunities, including an early feature on Audiomack’s 2019 SKYLINE: KINGSTON project. In addition, his choice to create more diverse music with fewer themes of violence—something Jamaican artists have recently been criticized for by the Prime Minister—has also aided his vision of international success.
Projexx delivers a smooth, medium-pitched but well-trained vocal with innovative melodies, which he uses to contrast his more rugged lyrics. This young singjay has a keen understanding of musical arrangement from his experience producing his own riddims. Despite his musical lineage—legendary producer King Jammy is his grandfather and producer Lloyd “John John” is his father—Projexx is making his own way. These days, working keeps him busy. Despite the lack of shows due to COVID-19, Projexx is still back-and-forth between Jamaica and Miami as he wraps up his upcoming EP.
You’re in Miami now. Is it safe to say you’re working? If so, on what?
Yeah, since the first day I got here. I’m working on various things at the moment. Working on singles and projects, [an] EP [titled Queenhill]. We’re shooting videos for these two singles I recently released. So we’re just continuing that. I’m writing, too, for other artists. But just work overall.
How have you managed with the shift that the pandemic has caused? How has it affected your movement?
This pandemic is like a blessing and a curse. I believe it’s a blessing that people have had to slow down and pay a lot more attention to things. I feel like I’ve grown a lot more in my career during this pandemic; it's funny to say.
The only thing it’s really stopped is personal interaction. You know, we can’t do shows and ting. I would probably be well popping right now with shows if the place was open, but it’s still a blessing. I’ve grown and developed a lot since the pandemic. It doesn’t really stop anything because I work even more. I record and write songs even more now. It’s just that we can’t tour.
Rumor has it that you’ve recently had a music camp in Jamaica with some of your peers. Is there truth to it, and if so, what was that experience like?
Yeah, there’s truth to that still. That was just a vibe that we need more of, in terms of Jamaican music. We all coexisted well; we had big artists pass through and give their input. We wrote songs together. I think we need more of that in our culture, more unity. It was a beautiful moment. It’s something I’m trying to do more. My next camp is probably going to be more people. But it’s all up to who answers the call because it takes two people to have a conversation. I’m just doing what I can do on my end. But the unity, we need that.
You had a solid hit with Wizkid. What are some of the most interesting moments or opportunities that have come about because that collaboration exists?
We getting more features. A lot more people want to work. Our names are in the important rooms now. A whole lot of blessings come from that feature, and the way it came about was really just the universe doing its thing. I didn’t know Wizkid personally, but you just have to work, and the right people will hear you.
“Sidepiece” has become another hit for you. What is the story behind that, and who are the people that helped put it together?
I had the camp. A lot of producers and artists were there. I was just trying to find a vibe. I heard the beat, I was beside my friend Simon, one of the top writers in Miami right now, I sang a line, and we continued. We started with the melody first until we found the concept, and it just manifested. The melody was almost saying, “Side piece.” We just found the words and the concept and told the story, and it resonates. Every man can relate to that. So it hits different.
The prime minister feels as though dancehall is in a bad place. What are your views on the subject?
I would say that I would agree with him, but it’s for many different reasons. I’ve overheard them saying there’s too much gun songs, but if we’re trying to be real, those things make dancehall what it was. It’s a part of the culture, but I believe there can be a balance because music is highly influential. People start to do what they hear in songs, and you can’t really blame that on music because when you watch a movie, it’s the same violence. But that doesn’t mean the actors are doing it—it’s just acting. It’s all about entertainment.
I feel like what the prime minister should do is invest more into the music. When I say invest, I don’t necessarily mean money. People know Jamaica for the food, the language, and the music, but we don’t have a platform or arena for it. I feel like those things should be more in place. Try to help the artist instead of bashing them. We play a huge part in the culture, tourism. Our music is what helps us to be on the map globally, and if it’s not music, it’s sports. So I think we need to focus on things that make Jamaica what it is, and enhance it. Put more structure.
How has your family, specifically the producers who have been in the industry some time, responded to your growing musical profile?
I think when a youth is doing their thing, people should highlight and encourage them, and I don’t get much of that from my local coworkers. When we have more people pushing the music and not just themselves, we will have a better space.
I remember watching those big festivals abroad with people like Chronixx, who would highlight his peers by performing some of their songs if they had one on the same riddim with him. I respected that because you’re pushing the music. The way I see it, Wizkid doesn’t know me from anywhere, and when he’s talking, he’s like my brudda, and we relate like brothers. When you really think about it, we’re in the same industry, and as long as you’re a part of that, you’re family. I think we need to look at it like that some more.
By Gladstone Taylor for Audiomack