How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is ProtéJay. I'm a rapper and producer originally from Brooklyn, New York. My dad used to do music. He was a pretty well-known rapper back in Brooklyn. I moved to Atlanta during grade school.
Ahh man, I grew up on a lot of real rap. Hov, Nas, 50, A tribe called quest, The Firm. I also had a big love for R&B. I always dug the way R&B pulls different emotions out of you. Atlanta made me adopt another layer of musical taste. I really dug the slow tempos and unconventional sounds used in southern rap. 808's changed my life.
I was always good at rapping from a young age. My friends would always have me battle other kids at lunch because they knew I was the best freestyler. As we got older, they encouraged me to record and release music. I recorded and released my first song in 2011. In high school, I was known for me being a dope rapper. It was kind of funny, thinking back on it.
I started taking music seriously in 2018. I released my first official project, Note to Self. This project meant a lot to me and people around me were very receptive to it. This made me get more serious about my craft. 2019 was really where it got fun. I started releasing more singles and also met Jax, who would become my manager. She really helped me become structured. I released a project in October 2019 called Dangerous Man. We threw a huge release party. We provided food and hella alcohol for the guests. We also had good merch on sale. Definitely a night to remember. In February 2020 I went on a few tour dates with Trippie Redd. That was a dope experience and I met and connected with a ton of new fans—peak life experience type shit. I know a lot more is in store.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
I learned how to make beats myself. I used YouTube to learn—completely self-taught. I also taught myself to engineer in pro tools. I believe that the internet is a huge tool. My learning style is definitely trial and error. That's the best way to learn.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
I've worked with Atlanta Artists such as Ace Apollo, Jaye Newton, Jordan Danielle Harris, and Malachaie.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
I was always a huge Jay Z fan. His wordplay and message are unmatched. I also loved Nas. When I was in middle school, Wayne had just begun his mixtape run. That was an era. Wayne was the biggest artist in the world. He really influenced all the artists of my generation. Right now I'm listening to unreleased music from me and a lot of my peers. Baby is going crazy right now. Also love J.I.D and Deante Hitchcock.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
People being scared to take a chance on me because I didn't have the numbers they were looking for. Also I had to gain knowledge of how the industry works. It runs deeper than the surface.
How would you describe your sound and style?
Dangerous—a cross between Nas, Drake, and Kanye. The soul of Cole, the pockets of Wayne, and a voice like Q-Tip. Style is very lyrical but trendy.
What are some of your goals this year?
Tour more. Build a bigger fanbase. More content.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
J.I.D., Cole, Boi-1da, Tory Lanez, Snoh Alegra. Hov, Drizzy, Lauryn Hill.
What is your creative process like?
Letting the beat play, deciding how to begin. Usually, I freestyle but when I'm really getting in that bag I'll write. I usually record pretty fast.
What’s your favorite go-to order?