Canada is home to some of the world’s biggest and most talented names in Hip-Hop – and as we’re gearing into the new decade, new emerging artists are making their marks and creating waves with their own diverse sound to add to that list. This includes Prime Boys’ very own Jay Whiss, who first started making noise in 2016 while collaborating with multi-platinum producer, Murda Beatz through their single ‘Brown Money’ before ultimately teaming up with Jimmy Prime and Donnie to form the Prime Boys. Since then, Jay has maintained his focus in music and has put out his first solo project since 2017 – the ‘Dark Cloud’ EP. The 3-track project includes production credits from Pro Logic, 1mind, Ramriddlz and Amir Jamm and also includes features with collaborator SAFE and Prime Boy’s own Jimmy Prime.
The ‘Dark Cloud’ EP serves as a reflection of Jay’s life and struggles through the last few years and has a focus on the tragic loss of his friends last summer – collaborator, rapper Smoke Dawg, and Prime Boys’ assistant manager, Kosi Prime. Through the project’s heavy imagery, Jay displays both his pain and growth on his music video for ‘Dark Cloud’, which shows him in his hometown, Toronto, surrounded by grey clouds and intense shadows.
Watch the music video for ‘Dark Cloud’ below:
As this project also displays the rapper’s new beginnings, the Toronto native is ready for the next chapter and is making moves as he plans on dropping his debut album, which is set to drop sometime this fall. The highly anticipated album is set to include long-time collaborator Murda Beatz and other surprise features. After witnessing the growth in both the execution on ‘Dark Cloud’ for it’s tracks and visuals – it has become clear that the upcoming Jay Whiss album is going to push the rapper to a farther scale and may even introduce some new vibes on this project. With his upcoming debut album in the fall and the ‘Dark Cloud’ music video already having amassed over 600K views and counting – 2019 is going to be the year that Jay Whiss shakes the world.
XMPL got the chance to interview Jay Whiss on his latest ‘Dark Cloud’ EP, upcoming album and more. Read the full exclusive interview and listen to the ‘Dark Cloud’ EP below:
XMPL: What would you say was your biggest motivation or inspiration going into music?
Jay Whiss: Well, music helped me get through a lot through in life, whether it was good times or bad times, so I kind of just wanted to give people the same feeling that I got from music, from my own perspectives. Mine were kind of like pieced together by a lot of artists, different artists. So, I like just a more concentrated point of view, like my exact perspective.
Having been an intense last year for you – you’ve been able to overcome personal and emotional challenges and you’ve put it all out on your latest EP, ‘Dark Cloud.’ What does this project mean to you and your growth as an artist?
I guess yea, more so music just touching on touchy subjects and showing the fact that I can overcome it, like its still not completely overcame of course not, but just showing progression…everybody goes through tough times you know? So just showing that its manageable and stuff like that is kind of where its big for me, just showing that I can do it type of thing, you know?
Right – so you just released your second music video for ‘How It Goes’, which was followed by the ‘Dark Cloud’ music video, which was released last month – both which included heavy imagery, could you tell us a bit about the process that went behind the visuals for the EP?
Well I mean, aesthetically I just kind of wanted it to be like darker, hence “Dark Cloud.” Kind of just wanted to set the mood from like where I was coming from with these two songs and just kind of like that age of music, the EP – I wasn’t in the studio for like a few months after everything happened so, I knew like when I did come back in, it wasn’t even like I wanted to touch base on – I knew what I was gonna touch base on so that’s why I kind of gave it some time before I went back in because I wanted it to be more thought out rather than just like, you know? Just kind of just going in there and whatever comes to mind. The more time that you give things, the better perspectives you’ll have on it so I kind of just wanted to give it that, just based off the music and then I just wanted the visuals to kind of capture the mood behind that period of my life cause like that’s all my music is, just reflecting on what I’m going through whether it’ll be very concentrated or very all over the place – its all coming from a real place, everything single line, you know? So the videos for both songs were supposed to capture the mood behind what I was going through pretty much.
Watch the music video for ‘How It Goes’ below:
Do you know if we’re going to get any visuals for Every Night?
No, I don’t think so. We’re kind of moving on to my album, which is supposed to drop probably September-October, most likely. And yeah, we’re moving on to that in terms of the next video we’re gonna be shooting and singles and stuff like that.
With this current project, ‘Dark Cloud,’ what would you say was a song that stood out to you?
Definitely ‘Dark Cloud’ – I mean yeah, well its funny…the song ‘Every Night’ was recorded a couple years ago and I don’t know if you’re familiar with Full Circle, like a thing that me and a bunch of my friends did, well artists, and that was gonna be one of the songs that was gonna be on my album from those sessions, so I kind of just wanted to put it that out there cause it was one of the stronger songs from the project that we did, that never came out, so I just wanted that to be out there. ‘How It Goes,’ I wanted it to be out there, but ‘Dark Cloud’ was like the focus of it. That’s why I called it ‘Dark Cloud’ EP, it was more so ‘Dark Cloud’ and then these songs accompanied it really well, you know? That probably won’t be on the album, might but probably not, the other two songs, but ‘Dark Cloud’ is on there for sure.
So what ultimately lead to the decision to naming the EP, Dark Cloud?
I don’t know, it just came when I was making the hook for the song ‘Dark Cloud,’ that’s just what came to mind, you know? I wanted to have something like catchy but really like sets the tone and at the time, you know, I felt like there was a big dark cloud over the city. Like in terms of the walks of path that like I come from and that so you know, so I’m just of just touching base on that and I want that to resonate but still be something that people can really vibe to and stuff like that so that’s just where that came from. But like there was no thought to this to it in terms of making a song… it kind of just painted the picture from that moment and time.
Now we know that this EP serves as a prelude for your upcoming album, which you mentioned it said to drop later this year – what can we expect from this highly anticipated project?
What’s the word I’m looking for – diversity I guess? Like in terms of the type of song but like a steady mood kind of and like a lot of introspective things – whether it’ll be me, people I know or whatever just giving perspective into my world and like the people around me, and just like motivating people – cause like I’ve been through a lot in life – whether it would be good or bad so I can give a lot of perspective on the bad stuff, the really good stuff, the highs and lows pretty much, you know? So its just touching base on all of that and like hopefully it can inspire a lot of people to do good in life, you know, no matter what walk of life you’re from – everybody goes through stuff and it’s pretty much what you can do with what you’ve been given, touching base on all of that – a lot of rap, a lot of melodies, just mixing it up, you know?
Well I can’t wait to hear it. So I know that you’re going to be collaborating with producer Murda Beatz on this upcoming album, do you know if there’s going to be any other surprise features?
Features, I don’t want to give too much away from that but in terms of producers, I’m blessed to have these good friends that are pretty big producers and just great production – which you can always expect from me cause I’m really picky with beats anyways, so its really good to have the producers that I got in my corner. And yeah I got a good amount with Murda on there, a couple from Ricky South, Yasin, 1mind – I got a few other names of there. Just like the classic collaboratives that I’ve put out stuff with already – we’re just putting the finishing touches on it now.
Overall, what do you hope that your listeners will take away from hearing this album?
Well I just want to give people something that they can take from it, cause like a lot of music out there just sound good, it’s like ear-candy, it’s like I want to be ear-candy but like I don’t want people to be just like “oh that sounded cool” and just turn it off. Or even listen to it 50 times and then it sounds cool. I want you to be able to take something away from what I’m saying cause like melodies are easy, kind of like the easy part, just lay down the melody and put a lot of thought into what’s being said cause music is so inspirational and people can take so much from it. It’s like if you can squeeze some knowledge in there for people to take from, that’s just what I try to do with my music – for the most part I just want to have a message which hopefully they can apply to their own lives.
With your own upcoming album and with Toronto’s growth in the music scene on the constant rise, what do think this means for Canadian music going into the new decade?
I think it’s great, I just want it to reach the biggest, global attention that it can because I think that Toronto has a lot to offer in terms of like a perspective of the world cause we’re surrounded in Toronto, by like so many cultures and not even surrounded by it but growing up, we’re in classrooms with different cultures, we experience, like I have Arab friends, black friends, white friends, Asian friends – so in Toronto specifically, and Canada I’m assuming as well, its not like each culture is isolated – its all in the same walks of life, you know? So like you get that perspective and its just like very good I think, for the world, you get more I feel like it gets done here better than it’s done anywhere else in terms of multiculturalism. So, just having that perspective and showing it to the world and them seeing that, I think that probably the major part of what separates Toronto from everywhere else but other than that, I don’t know. I think that we’re more introspective, like I noticed a lot of artists from Toronto have a lot of deeper messages behind their music so I mean that as well too on top of everything. Toronto. Canada. Becoming a bigger country and stuff, I think that music can really help catapult Canada to like a higher place for sure.
Yeah, I definitely agree. Do you know if we can expect another Prime Boys album to come out anytime soon?
Maybe not soon, but eventually yea for sure. I mean, the way that the first one even came about is just – we’re friends before anything, right? So even if I’m recording solo music, usually either Donnie or Jimmy is gonna be there, or both, you know? So I mean, the music just happens naturally and then it just kind of like whenever we say we’re gonna do this and we’ll just put it together. It’s really easy to put together once we all 3 get to it. There’s already music put aside for it, but I’m not quite sure when it would be, I can’t really say if it’s gonna be sooner or later or whatever but it’s bound to happen right, you know? It’s kind of a given, there will be a Prime Boys project again at some point.