An Interview with: PRXJEK
PRXJEK is a mysterious sleeping giant of the rap world. In music videos and on social media, PRXJEK only wears masks obscuring his face, and until now, he has not done in-depth interviews despite being active in the scene since 2016. Not much is known about PRXJEK and because of his mystique, I was attracted to conducting an interview with him.
I've recently finished an exclusive interview with him where we spoke about his upcoming debut album "L2HM," his attitudes towards the "SoundCloud rap" scene, and the entirety of his career.
His fans affectionately refer to him as "JEK" and he has amassed over 30,000 SoundCloud followers, 40,000 Youtube subscribers, 150,000 Spotify listeners and regularly receives over 2,000 likes on each of his Instagram photos. He has cultivated this following organically; PRXJEK has not had his music videos hosted on other channels, but instead releases them on his own YouTube channel. As of today, several of his videos have over 300,000 views.
Recently, PRXJEK has told me that he is shifting away from the sound everyone expects from him. He says he is beginning to learn to express a new side of himself on "L2HM," which previously he was emotionally unwilling to tap into. Now that music has become his full time job and a means to paying for himself and family, PRXJEK and his sound are evolving in parallel.
How old are you and where are you currently living?
Nice to meet you man, my name is Elijah, I don’t really disclose due to the fact people judge based on that sometimes, but also because I recently thought of keeping it mysterious. I live in Florida. I don’t really disclose my age due to the fact people judge based on that sometimes.
I understand, well how long have you been living in Florida?
Shit, I been living in Florida for almost 6 years now. It’s a love hate relationship because the weather, it can be sunny then it rains. It gets annoying.
Do you live in a good area down there or is it pretty violent?
I live in a good area. Yea, it’s actually boring honestly. It’s ironic even though I’m introverted I complain that it’s too quiet here haha. But where I used to live before was pretty violent, but that when I was younger, Bridgeport Connecticut.
So, did you grow up in Florida?
No. I didn’t grow up in Florida, I was originally living in Connecticut, did a lot of moving actually. From Connecticut to Texas to Florida to Ohio then back to Florida.
Do you miss it at all?
Yeah, I miss it, all my family is in CT but so are the kids I went to school with and I don’t fuck with any of them. So, while I miss it I don’t miss it too much.
When did you first get into producing your own music?
I started making music around 2012 but didn’t fully start making music till late 2016.
What inspired you to make music?
I always had a connection with music. When I’d be feeling down music was there, and I wanted to be able to make people feel a connection like I did but to my own. So one day I tried it.
How did your music progress in those years? What was different about your approach in 2016?
I was ass before but that little glimmer of potential I noticed is what drove me to continue.
The music I made in 2012 was focused on being lyrical but I would try rapping like a lot of the mainstream artists I’d listen to. Drake, lil Wayne, meek mill type shit, but that wasn’t me. I was forcing their sound rather than finding my own. In 2016 I discovered artists like $uicideboy$ and xxxtentacion, it was X that opened up my eyes that I could do more than 1 sound. It inspired me a lot. Admittedly though, for my earlier songs I tried to recreate his sound, but it was through trying to recreate his sound that I found my own. And eventually I mastered my sound into what it is today. I take a lot of influences from the past and present. The past being bands that I’ve listened to when I was in 8th grade, and Eminem for the lyrical shit I incorporate every once in a while, and the present being the new wave SoundCloud artists that influenced the raw rage I bring. I find myself being angry more often than I should be and my music helps me get rid of it and use it to my benefit. I used to make music for my fans but now I make music for myself. In that, I used to force my sound to appease what they wanted. If they wanted rage I’d give them that, even if I wasn’t angry at the time. But I realized after, that that’s not fair to myself as an artist. So I stopped that. Whatever I feel is what they get now.
I find myself being in a fucked up place mentally. That’s why some songs, I paint dark imagery using my lyrics. Because that’s how I felt. It really helps and keeps me sane.
Do you prefer to wear a mask in order to remain mysterious?
It’s definitely starting to pay off, wish it took off earlier but better late than never right. And well you’re right about the mask in a way. Not only to be mysterious but also because the mask represents my alter ego. PRXJEK is my thoughts, my emotions, all my pain that I keep hidden all brought to life. Everything that I wish I could say or do but can’t bring myself to do it, he does.
What do you think is fueling your rage that you mention?
Something people may or may not know about me, is that I have a love hate relationship with myself. I love the music I make and the artistic ability I have to do it but I hate everything else about me. So when I put on this mask I get to be someone other than me.
What is the process like for you when you record a song?
The process for me when recording a song…can be smooth and fulfilling and sometimes just frustrating as hell. Like if a beat truly speaks to me then I can write a song in a matter of hours. But there’s days where I lack the creativity or I have the vision for a song but can’t quite get to it. Then I end up scraping the song, and moving onto the next one. But funnily enough, I’ve gone back to songs I’ve scrapped and finished them months after starting them and I think to myself “why didn’t I think of this before!”
Do you do it in your room or do you go to a studio?
Yeah I do my music in my room, I wish I had a studio. I’ve actually only been to a legit studio only twice in my life. As of right now I have a studio setup, and it does a pretty good job for what it is. Nothing too fancy just the necessities.
Do you smoke or drink or are you sober and clear headed?
No I don’t smoke or drink. Well lemme rephrase that, I do drink but very lightly. But that’s in general, if we’re talking to influence my music, no way. There’s a lot of artists that rely on mental stimulation and artistic creativity through drugs and alcohol but I prefer to keep my art “pure”, as in it purely me. No disrespect to the artists that do otherwise it’s just in my personal opinion, I feel like it’s cheating. Let me elaborate, take for an example someone comes up with a bar, a fire ass line through no means of drugs or any other substance. Then there’s one person that comes up with a bar too, but they did so because they were on a substance. I feel like that’s not really them, like it came to them but they needed help, and that was the substance they were on. Rather than rely on that to stimulate my creativity I prefer to have it come naturally to me. That’s what I mean by “pure”.
Did you ever play any other instruments or in any bands or have you always been a vocalist?
I tried to get into the guitar and honestly I still want to but it’s hard. My uncle tried teaching me when I was younger and for the life of me I couldn’t get my fingers strumming the strings. And no, but I’ve actually been wanting to start a band recently, because I feel like I would be a great lead vocalist/frontman but then I’d have to ditch the mask so for now I’m just sticking to what I’m on right now.
What are you often doing when your not doing music and how often would you say your recording/writing, is it every day or only when the inspiration strikes you?
When I’m not doing music, I’m usually just chilling, on my phone, watching YouTube, playing the switch. Yeah I find myself recording every other day but that might be because I’m in album mode. But yeah, whenever there’s inspiration if I don’t record I at least write and I write a lot. Because ideas come and go and sometimes they never come back so it’s best to write them down as soon as they pop in your head.
What are your thoughts on the 2019 underground compared to the 2012-2016 on which you emerged from?
I don’t really keep tabs on the underground anymore to be completely honest. But I feel like I’m still emerging from it, I haven’t fully emerged yet. But it also depends on what you’re referring to as underground. Because there’s many artists. But there’s levels to the underground, some are more known than others.
So is this your full time gig? Do you do anything else for work/cash?
Yes, I have no other job so this is full time.
Do your parents support your interests in music?
Yes they do, in the beginning they didn’t but I changed their minds.
Did you complete high school or attend any college?
Yes, I did finish high school, but didn’t attend any college. I just knew it wasn’t for me, even though a small part of me kinda regretted not going.
I hear that man, you can always go later, how did you and PLURBS start to work together? You guys have great chemistry.
Eh for the most part I’m happy with not going, it’s just a what if type of feeling you know? Me and plurbs started working in late 2016 back when I had my collective, FVLLEN VNGELS.
Also who is Blake that you mention in your SoundCloud bio?
Blake is my late dog that passed away last year. He was one true my best friend, and I miss him everyday.
In your life do you have a girlfriend/significant other?
Yes I do, her name is Lizkeila. She hates her name but I think it’s beautiful.
Is your collective still active? What was the inspiration behind starting it? Sorry to hear bout your dog. Also, can we expect any more alternative rock songs like “I'm No Fool”?
No. Well in some way it is, because $tranded and plurbs are in this new circle of producers I personally work with. I say circles because I don’t like the idea/term of “collective” since I had a huge falling out with fvllen vngels. But I won’t go into details. Yes, definitely I love doing songs like that.
I’m looking forward to hearing them, could you tell me about the process and experience behind making "NO LONGER IS THIS A WARNING?"
Well that EP for some reason has been misconstrued as an album of mine, when really it’s just an EP of old songs or previously released songs that were never uploaded to Spotify before. There’s only 2 songs that were exclusive which is Nokia3310, and STRESS + DEPRESSION, which was actually suppose to be on L2HM, my real album. This EP was just for the fans really. It was to keep them on their toes while I worked on L2HM but that didn’t work out to well because I’m still working on it and when I released NLITAW was around I wanna say February? But I’m almost done with it, took a while but it was completely worth it because I revamped some tracks as well as added new ones I never would’ve thought of adding. But I can speak about the process behind Nokia3310 and stress + depression.
I thought it was an album mostly because it was 9 songs. Definitely, so what was the process behind nokia3310 and stress+depression?
Although the number of tracks made it seem like an album the length of it itself doesn’t equate to one it’s too short.
Yeah, so those 2 songs, both were a way of venting. I’m more depressed than happy most of the time, sometimes I don’t show it. Stress + depression tackled that feeling, if you look at the lyrics there’s multiple lines that are self explanatory to this song but one for example “everything you see is a facade” that correlates to what I said earlier about how I don’t show what I’m really feeling. This entire song was used as an output for me because I was feeling like shit, just a whole bunch of shit I was dealing with, thoughts I was thinking. Nokia3310 however was a different topic but again it was used to vent how I was feeling. Lately fans have been saying that I changed, “we want the old Jek back”, “we want screaming jek back” well this song was to address that. A message to the fans, to tell them that the “old jek” never left. I’m still me, I haven’t changed, and I still scream. I used to force my sound but now I let it come naturally. As in whatever emotion I’m experiencing I transfer to that to my music. I really have to be in a fucked up state of mind or just extremely angry to do my rage shit now. But that’s what the majority of my fans enjoy, ironically this song was done because THEY pissed me off with all this “we want old jek back” shit. But that’s how I addressed it. In the verse I say “I guess they don’t care when I’m happy or depressed” that was in response to how they always ask for rage shit even though I give them plenty of music, like I said music is how I vent, so when I released depressing shit it’s because I was actually in that state of mind, or when I release a little freestyle cause I’m rarely happy but they only seem to like that one side of me, well a large percentage of them anyway. And in the hook I said “say I’m finally back, but I never fucking left” I don’t think I need to explain that one. But lastly “Nokia3310, I don’t wanna hear shit again”, if you look up the nokia3310 it’s an almost indestructible brick like phone, which alludes to the song because how hard it is. And I said I don’t wanna hear shit again because after listening to this song they should get the message that I still got rage shit I still got what they like but I put out whatever I feel and that’s that.
What about the process behind "WhereIsYourGodNow"? How did that tape come to be?
Ah, that was my 2nd album. WIYGN was a pretty dark project, but I’m glad I still managed to showcase my versatility. Each song had a message and represented how I was feeling. Aside for a small few which were braggadocio and just for fun which is always cool once in a while. The album itself it was just a very dark tape. I needed to get these demons, these thoughts out my head and that’s what I did with “Where Is Your God Now”.
What can you tell me about it? How has the process been different from your previous work? Is it going to be a completely different style or are you going to perfect and build on your previous discography?
It’s called L2HM and it can be seen as both Love 2 Hate Myself and Love 2 Hate Me, 2 perspectives. 1 is the view point of hating myself, and the 2nd is how I am hated by others. Just like my other 2 albums this one will showcase my versatility. But this album is like several small tapes put together, so I’ve decided to make chapters for it, to separate each genre and organize them cleanly (well that was the original plan, however I don’t know if I’m still going through with it) The process has been painstakingly long in all honesty. This was supposed to be done back in March, but I’m glad I’ve taken this much time because I’ve been really perfecting each track. There’s a lot of songs with strong replay value. In fact there’s a song on there, that I think can top my hit “Antisocial” it’s gonna be crazy.
Fantastic name for it, it shows the duality of your sound and artistic personality, are you mixing everything yourself or bringing on any artists for it? In terms of production are you working with anyone new on it?
Although I have mixed many of my songs in the past I am trying to reach higher ears so I’ve decided to go for a more studio sound I was really hesitant at first because the way I mix my music is kinda like my signature but this will be a great thing in the long run. I have an engineer mixing and mastering the songs. However some songs might be done by me. In terms of production a lot of returning names will be on here. With the exception of a small few who are new to working with me.
Do you consider yourself underrated?
My personal opinion? Yes and no, I do believe I’m underrated but at the same time then I think of the smaller artists and I try to see myself from their perspective, in their eyes I’m not underrated. Most likely my position is where they strive to be at, but ironically I, myself am not even where I really wanna be yet. In terms of my numbers one could say I’m not underrated, I mean on Spotify I have 2 songs both over 1M streams and I have an incredible fan base that’s growing more and more everyday. But when it comes to more recognition yeah I definitely deserve more than what I have. I’m hoping this album will be the one to change everything.
Who do you consider your peers?
Truthfully speaking I don’t have many. But some noteworthy names I gotta mention are fukkit and gizmo, I consider them my friends but I definitely respect them both because of their talent and skill. I also gotta mention my very close friend 7xvn, he’s like a younger brother to me and he’s hella talented, he’s ridiculous with the screaming shit. There’s another small few but I don’t need to name them all. The ones who have mutual respect know who they are.
Shit actually lemme add one more person, another very close friend of mine, his name is Envious, envi is one of the best artists, and one of the very few that can keep up with me free-styling, that much I’ll say.
Why did you choose the name prxjek?
Ah a question about my name, I swear I get this all the time haha. Basically it originally used to be PROJEK, which stood for Protect Rap Or Just Endure Kills. But depression hit me and I slowly started hating myself more and more. So the O became an X to symbolize removal of myself. I also started to realized how more aesthetically pleasing prxjek was rather than projek. So that became permanent. Also just in case you’re curious, it is pronounced how it was spelled originally.
Interesting man, so about your depression - do you think your managing it better these days or has it been getting progressively worse?
Yeah, I’m definitely managing it better than before, but unfortunately it runs in our family so no matter what I think it’ll always be there.
Glad to hear your doing better. So do you have a release date for the new album - when should we expect it?
Unfortunately I don’t have an exact release date, if the scheduling goes well it should be out late July, early August at the latest.
Also, you mentioned your girlfriend, how did you meet her?
And yes, my amazing ass girlfriend. It’s a funny story actually, how we met, she was a fan of my music, and her being a fan of my music we already had some chemistry because we had the same music taste basically. Months pass and we started talking seriously, and that was 2 years ago, it’s crazy. She’s literally a reflection of me because we are so similar, personality wise, music wise, a lot of things, sometimes this music shit stresses the fuck out of me and I feel like I’m falling down a pit but she’s always there to catch me, she’s also been there during my recording process, for several songs I’ve done I was on the phone with her while doing it. She was also the best mom she could be for Blake, sadly she didn’t get a lot of time to spend with him but she took such good care of him and showed him so much love, and when he passed away, she was there making sure I was okay.. But yeah she’s amazing and I’m so blessed to have her in my life.
Have you been approached by any labels or do you have any intentions of signing a deal if one was to come your way?
Yes I’ve been approached by several labels but nothing ever happened. Seems like something will but ends up never falling through. I won’t name the labels but there’s been some pretty big ones. I think they’re still keeping watchful eye to see how I grow. I haven’t fully caught their attention, that much I know. But again hopefully this album changes that. And yes it’d have to be a good number though. The highest offer I was given was a 6 figure deal, but I wanna do way bigger. It’s all to help the family though so I need that bag.