To kick off W.Coast.K’s March edition of our Saturday Spotlight series, I caught up with 19 year old, Kingston, Jamaican rep and co-founder of $TONY Recordings, ZAC JONE$. If you’re up on your reggae/island vibes, you might already be familiar with Zac, as he is currently at the forefront of the Yaard Rap movement, which is a clean mesh of rap and “patois.” He has also worked with other notable artists, such as Felly of 2273 Records and Runkus. During the interview, I got more insight on who Zac is an an artist, as well as his views on social media and success. So, get comfy and get to know ZAC JONE$.
Give us a brief run down of how you got your start in the game, for those not familiar.
I been rapping forever basically like I don’t really remember when exactly I started but I know the first time I got a chance to record and put something out, I was in 4th form (grade 9), it was a remix to Digital Girl by Drake with my nigga Kindah.
Growing up, what were some of your favorite albums to vibe out to and why.
There’s a lot really, Hot Shot (Shaggy), Welcome to Jamrock, 808’s and Heartbreak, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, Illmatic, In My Mind, Thank Me Later and Chris Brown, and I could go on, like I said there’s a lot haha. I think when 808s and Heartbreak came out though it was the only thing I listened to for a couple months well, like I was obsessed.
What do you look for when choosing your next instrumental?
I usually let the instrumental choose me, like it has to touch me from the start, incite some feeling in me that I can expand on, within like the first 5-10 seconds or else I’m onto the next one, but in general I like beats that are unique or different and have their own atmosphere.
If you could collab with anybody in the game right now, who would it be?
Definitely Pharrell, that’s my idol yo, as soon as we link up I’ma bring back those Jay Z “Excuse Me Miss” type vibes lol. He’s gonna produce my first studio album str8 up, that’s my nigga.
What role if any, has social media played in boosting your career?
It’s played a big role, like it does in most/any artists careers these days, like, you no longer need a label to get shit going for you, once you got something good, people will share it up via social media like, twitter, FB etc and get more people on it, so its just nuff love to the people who really wit it and are supporting and sharing u zmi.
Where do you want to see yourself 5 years from now?
5 years from now I see myself at the top of the game, doing for Jamaica what Drake been doing for Canada and what Bob Marley did, in terms of exposing the world to Reggae, but with Yaard Rap which is basically our own genre that mixes patois and Jamaican culture with rap music, so basically authentic Jamaican rap music.
Before you go, are you working on any new projects or is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Yeah I got my debut mixtape “Ridin’ Thru King$ton” coming out soon, should be next month, just finishing it up right now and making sure everything’s perfect, so look out for that soon, zmi.