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Q&A: Jay2’s Energy Brightens Zero Fatigue’s Roster

After taking a break from releasing new music, Chicago rapper Jay2 returned last month with a new EP aptly titled ‘4 Tha Wait’. The 7-song project features some of Jay2’s most energetic music yet, taking the same fast-paced flows and animated wordplay that’s remained consistent throughout his work and packaging it in a more melodic way–a natural progression for his already lively, lighthearted style. Jay2’s evolution as an artist has been an ongoing process, beginning when he first started working with engineer Chris Classick. Through Classick, he met Smino and Bari in 2012, and started working with Monte Booker not too long after that. Coming up with a tight circle of collaborators and friends, which later led to the formation of Zero Fatigue, has allowed Jay2 to hone his craft over the years. Now, the 24-year-old artist is gearing up for a headlining show at Schubas this Friday. Read about the upcoming show, his favorite Lil Wayne mixtapes, and his forthcoming album in our latest interview: — MDR: How/when did you get into music? Jay2: When I was maybe 15. I always liked it, and I used to do little freestyles when I was younger on a voice recorder. Then …

At The Crib – [Monte Booker]

Monte Booker is one of the best producers that I have heard over the past five years, watching his rise up to this point has been thrilling to see as a fan, and a few days back the Zero Fatigue affiliate dropped a brand new release titled “At The Crib”. I often times find myself listening to several instrumentals throughout the day, both old and new, but today man this one has been on repeat for me for hours now, it’s easily the best beat I have heard this week! Monte Booker is in a class of his own though so this came as no surprise to me, everything he touches turns to gold & this release is just another example of that, check it out for yourself below!

4 Tha Wait – [Jay2]

After an over yearlong hiatus, Chicago rapper Jay2 is ready to come back in full effect with the release of his debut album. While the final LP nears completion, though, Jay2 has decided to tease his comeback with an EP titled ‘4 Tha Wait’ to catch listeners up with what he’s been working on. The 7-song project introduces (or reintroduces) listeners to Jay2’s strongest assets as an artist, meshing a trained ear for melodic rap with fast, aggressive flows. On ‘4 Tha Wait’, he keeps his circle tight working with frequent collaborator Monte Booker for the majority of the EP and prodxvzn for the song “Cheese”. Jay2 also recruits longtime friend Smino to add some star power on the bouncy summertime banger “Dork”. The two artists’ styles complement each other with Jay2’s energetic delivery being tempered by Smino’s signature laidback demeanor. Jay2’s comeback has been prosperous so far, with this promising EP and an upcoming headlining show at Schubas on August 31. Listen to ‘4 Tha Wait’ below and stay tuned for our Q&A with Jay2 himself coming soon.

Tobi Lou: Chicago’s Rising Superhero

Tobi Lou is a lot of things: he is a unbelievably talented artist, a trend setter, a Chicagoan, a unique individual and a self proclaimed superhero. I don’t believe that’s far fetched either: the way that Tobi has built his career to this point, the positive + contagious energy he puts out, his extraordinary charisma, it’s something like a superhero. About a month or so ago I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview Tobi Lou after his sensational set at Governors Ball in New York, and after being a huge fan & rooting for Tobi over the past couple of years, I had a bunch of questions I wanted to ask him! I have spoke to hundreds of artists in the past but this conversation that I had with Tobi Lou is one of my favorites for sure, he has a great energy & aura around him, he is undeniably himself and it’s only a matter of time before he is one of the biggest artists in the world. Take some time out of your day to learn about Tobi Lou below, and don’t forget to follow him on Twitter & Instagram! Visit Tobi Lou’s website here!   EM: …

KING LOUIS – [JAY2]

Jay2 is back with yet another new single, less than two weeks after dropping the Monte Booker-produced “Dedication.” This week, he and PRODXVSN link up on a record called “King Louis”, and this one sounds like it’s coming straight out of the Zero Fatigue playbook: skittering hi hats and a warm melody lay a bouncy foundation for Jay2 to flow so naturally that it sounds like the syllables are falling naturally off his tongue. There’s a moment during the song when he flows eerily similar to label mate Smino, with what sounds like a St. Louis drawl (though Jay2 is from Chicago), and the switch up serves as a nice difference in tone before his typical warm vocal tone returns for the refrain: “She want me” is an ear worm that won’t be easily escapable this summer. This isn’t the end for Jay2 this summer either: he’s dropping an EP called “4 Tha Wait” on 7/24, and he describes the EP as a “prelude before the album.” Needless to say, he’s not slowing down. Words by Barry R Tweets by Jay2AintShit

Dedication – [Jay2]

One of the best ways to be notified about new music from some of your favorite up-and-coming artists is subscribing to email newsletters. I woke up this morning to a scorching hot email in my inbox from the Zero Fatigue collective about the latest release from their arguably quietest member, Jay2. Packed with hard-hitting production and lyrical gymnastics, Jay2 makes his return all about “Dedication.” The Monte Booker produced single carries that electric bounce the Zero Fatigue collective has grown to surround themselves with and let me tell you, it hits as hard as ever. Jay2 opens the record with his signature crooning before jumping right into the thicket of the multi-layered Monte production. Sharing the ability to navigate through a minefield of drums and electric hums like his fellow collective members, Jay2 shows exactly why he is where he is. Boasting his elite level rapping, future aspirations, disregard for “stress and problems” and seamless comparisons to the likes of Eddy Guerrero, Samuel Jackson and Bobby Flay makes the latest record a name-drop affair. Jay2 places himself in lofty company and we couldn’t see him anywhere else. This is the young fresh prince of the “zero zero zero” collective’s first …

Klink – [Smino]

Smino’s NOIR felt like a full-circle moment in which the St. Louis native’s endless energy was truly brought forth, in all of its entirety and eccentricity, to the world. In my eyes, not one song off of the project has aged a day, and honestly, in today’s world where the shelf life of an album has become a maximum of a few weeks, NOIR is not just an outlier, but a project that we’ll be talking about for years to come. Today, Smino continues to push the excellence of the album with a brand new music video for “Klink.” Produced by none other than Monte Booker, the excitement behind “Klink” is unmatched, calling for a music video of equal or greater energy. Of course, Smino obliged with this one, painting an aesthetically-pleasing picture of the luxuries that he’s been able to enjoy thanks to his success in music. With this, at its core, “Klink” is a well-deserved moment of appreciation for success and yes, a chance to flex on everybody, making this video a fantastic follow-up to a fantastic song. Smino has done it again, so be sure to check out the new video below and let us know what you think …

Watch Smino’s brand new interview with Tim Westwood TV

Smino and his right hand man Monte Booker recently sat down with the legend Tim Westwood for a brand new interview, and it’s not anything you want to miss out on. You will find them speaking on plenty of subjects such as his come up, his album NOIR, being born and raised in St. Louis, performing overseas, J. Cole, the Hoopti Tour, Nelly, moving to Chicago, breaking his foot on his first tour, his stellar visuals, the London scene, his relationship with T-Pain, auto tune, Coachella, his first album, Soundcloud, play-listing, attending the Dreamville bootcamp, his biggest fear being running out of passion and more. Check out this brand new interview below!

FEEL! – [Zero McKenzi]

Monte Booker is one of the music’s most sought-after producers right now, and for good reason, as his otherworldly style isn’t only worlds away from what everyone else is making right now, but it’s also levels ahead in sound, feel, style, and everything in between. Needless to say, hopping on a Monte Booker beat is a  daunting assignment, but an artist named Zero McKenzi has successfully done so with his latest offering, “FEEL!”. Noted by the cover art, which features a definition of the word “feel,” this offering is all about making listeners feel something. Zero certainly succeeds at this mission, as the heartbreaking beauty of lines such as “my home doesn’t feel like home” take listeners to a dark place, using the electric production as a cathartic backdrop for such honest, candidly depressing lyrics to take place. “FEEL!” isn’t simply a canvas for Zero to dump all of these thoughts, however — rather, he takes this introspection to another level by describing the ways in which we, as humans, tend to pick ourselves up and keep moving, even as the sadder things weigh us down. Being that this song is my first introduction to Zero McKenzi, I must say that …

Watch Smino and Monte Booker’s New Freestyle With Kenny Beats

Just recently, one of rap’s premier hit-making producers, Kenny Beats, started up a new series on YouTube where he puts together a beat in just 10 minutes and allows many of his highly-talented music friends throw together a freestyle. For the first episode, Kenny invited JPEGMAFIA to the studio, but this time, he switched things up and brought none other than Smino and Monte Booker. Giving fans some insight into just how spontaneous and seemingly fun the creative process can be for Kenny Beats and his friends, this video is a must-watch for any fans of either Kenny, Smino, or Monte. All three have been turning heads and making some truly timeless music for quite some time now, so seeing them come together in the studio and have some fun with it is certainly an incredible sight to see. Needless to say, the latest episode of The Cave is yet another fantastic release to add to the musical contributions that Kenny Beats has been blessing us with as of late, so don’t sleep. Watch this one below and prepare yourself to watch Smino lay down an absolutely brilliant freestyle!