Boasting the hottest sound coming from out of Gwinnett County, up and coming underground rap talent Jx.Zero is shaking up the industry. After the release of his last project “In My Sins” in late 2021, the artist has experienced an unprecedented influx of popularity and opportunities as multiple of the tracks on the tape went completely viral on TikTok. With Jx.Zero’s “Playboy” and “Different” taking off across the web, the rapper has broken into mainstream popularity and recognition. We got the chance to sit down with Jx. and to talk about making hits, artistic obstacles, and content creation in Jx. Zero’s Bar4Bar interview.
Enter Jx. Zero
After springing up from the underground scene, many people have come to know all about Jx.’s music, but not much about the artist himself. We took the opportunity to ask the man behind the music about himself, his upbringing, and artistic influences.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I’m just an upcoming underground artist from Gwinnett. I’m here, fighting for a dream, and I’m here to spread love, positivity and peace.
Q: How would you say Gwinnett and your upbringing influenced the music you create?
A: I think Gwinnett as a whole, we’re a different crowd of people. Most people in Gwinnett are usually genuine, but were just onto the new wave, were onto the culture, were onto just s**t thats poppin. We’re highly influenced by Atlanta, so I feel like we just vibe.
It’s so diverse, there’s a lot of different people. It’s not just like anyone. Everyone is just different, everybody is just being who they be in their own way.
Q: How long have you been into music? Were you into music as a kid, if so what kind of artists were you listening to?
A: I’ve been listening to music my whole life. I guess growing up as a little kid I listened to everythingI’m just gonna give you the top artists that really spoke to me throughout my life.
Well “X” [XXXtentacion], that’s my biggest inspiration. That’s the reason why I’m here right now looking at this damn camera. He woke me up to the world, not only through his music, but who he was, and what he wanted to put out into the world. Then Drake. C’mon that’s the Goat, you can’t even – you know what I’m saying? Lyrically, and just everything he does he’s amazing. He’s just that, and its not just because he does numbers, he just is that, and if you know music you know that. Eminem, lyrically, even just everything. I mean like, his story, and everything he did. Goat.
Who else did I listen to? I listened to 50 [Cent] growing up, T.I, Jay Z – thats crucial, Trippie, Lil Yatchy – big, big respect to Lil Yatchy cause when the soundcloud wave started poppin he held s**t down. Ugly God too, but Lil Yatchy just like in 2017 peak soundcloud era with like Trippie Redd, X, I feel like he carried the wave. He opened up a new atmosphere, him and Uzi, Uzi too for sure.
Thats just the people that effected me personally, especially around that era. OH! TayK too, he was hot. So yeah.
Q: You’ve just cited a lot of artists, who would you say on that list is your dream collab? Or Just somebody that you really want to make a song with. You can only pick one.
A: That’s hard. That’s a hard question to answer, but if I had to pick just one person to get on a song with imma pick Drake, like c’mon. It’s just like c’mon bruh, its Drake. If X was alive, I’d go with X hands down, but Drake.
Q: What does music mean to you? As an artist and an individual, how has music impacted your life?
A: Music is power bro. It’s a very big piece of life, it’s universal. I listen to songs all day that I don’t even know what language its in and I’m still bumping that s**t like its beautiful, like its energy. It’s the foundation of this universe, this world, you know what I’m saying? It feeds people, It can hurt you, it can strengthen you, it can do so much. It’s like you’re feeding your body, whatever music you’re listening to, you’re feeding yourself that, and you are what you eat.
So I think music is power, its a force, you know? Its alive.
Q: What was the moment you realized “Playboy” was taking off like for you? What were you thinking at that time?
A: Time to get my head on right, even more than before. Time to lock m**********r, screw it down and make sure this b***h tight, because there’s going to be s**t that tries to make it unravel. And I think I already kind of knew it was going to happen, so I was like “alright, it’s time to really get right”.
There were certain things that I was doing, where it’s like, if I continue to do this, it’s not gonna work. Kinda like “Your talent can take you places that your character can’t keep you”. So even though I was already doing really well, it was like now it’s really getting to that point. Now I’ll have access to money and places, so it was just a matter of saying “Aight bet, we here. Let me keep my head on straight, let me take all the knowledge that the people above me have been dropping for upcoming artists and make this s**t be something great”.
In His Sins
As interesting of a person as Jx. is, you can’t be a rap star without making rap music. Jx. Zero recaps the story surrounding one of his most popular songs, and its creation. As well as chronicling the hurdles he has had to clear on his journey to fame.
Q: Tell us about the song that has generated the most virality on TikTok, and how that came to be.
A: That’s “Playboy”. How “Playboy” came about was… I was on YouTube one day looking through beats and Baby Keem was poppin at the time. I don’t know what song it was, but Baby Keem is valid, that n***a is the truth, you know what I’m saying. So I was looking for type beats, and then I found a Baby Keem type beat. S**t was hitting. I heard it and I was going, I think I might’ve been geeked. I don’t know I can’t really remember, but I was like “she treat me pretty like a playboy”, just cause that’s how I was feeling at the time. And it all just sort of came together.
When I was making the song, my vibe and just how I was feeling was kinda like “She treat me pretty like a playboy, don’t play boy”. It’s basically like these h**s play with me nice, but don’t f**k with me. Don’t let the light skin fool you type s**t. And that was the vibe of that song.
Q: When you were making “Playboy” did you know it was going to be a hit? Or was it kind of like I’m making music and we’ll see where it goes?
A: Its a bit of both, With anything I make Im tryna make that s**t be a hit, but really my sister had told me. I had sent her the first version of “Playboy”, cuz there two different versions, and she was like go back and record that shit with more energy – that s**ts a f*****g hit! So I went back in there, re recorded it, it’s like a whole different song, and I was like this s**t hot. I didn’t know it was gonna be of this magnitude, but internally I knew what I was sitting on.
Like I remember being in the sun, looking at the sun, manifesting this s**t gon make me blow up on some weird s**t.
Q: What would you say is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome in your music career to date? Both musically and in your life with music.
A: Okay, well musically I think the biggest was… Im extremely confident, and like I just do s**t and I don’t really think about it, but damn my nerves were crazy. It was weird. Coming to the mic at a certain point – I’ve overcome that now – but at a certain point I was overthinking so much that coming to the mic felt like getting on the f*****g field and your paranoid, you know?
Like you wanna make the right play, you wanna make the best song. And sometimes you want it so bad that you don’t even wanna go to the mic, cuz you dont wanna make a s****y song and you might overthink your s**t. But I’ve learned you just gotta go with the flow, don’t think about how that s**it comes out, just put your heart into it and go! Don’t overthink your progress, because as I got numbers, and as I started building my fanbase, It was like I don’t wanna disappoint, but at the same time bro we’re all human.
You just gotta do this s**t, you can’t overthink it. I think when I understand that and I understand I may trip, I may fall … its like f**k it, who cares? Who doesn’t fall bro? If you don’t fall your not human, your a f*****g freak, well you’re not a freak, but nobodys perfect. I think when I understood that its just took a lot of weight off of my shoulders, and I was able to just keep going. That was probably the biggest thing musically I had to overcome.
In Life? Bro I done took some L’s. Real L’s. 20 band L’s, flat broke, had to run up my credit to get songs done. I think that hardest time though was when I was sick as f**k. I didn’t understand there’s a certain way you’re supposed to take care of your foundation and your body, and I wasn’t doing that.
With that being said I [was] smoking hella, smoking woods. If you know me you know the woods Russian and that s**t had my s**t bussin, but I was just treating my body very poorly and I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing. Until it got to the point where one night I woke up, Im sh*****g blood bro.
Had to go the hospital, they’re tryna figure out what’s wrong with me for days, so for days I’m sh*****g blood. Turns out I had something with my intestines where if I eat red meat then it does all this s**t, so I had to change up my whole diet. So I’m changing my diet while I’m broke, all while trying to make music, really had to figure that s**t out.
It’s a long process, but yeah, eat healthy, take care of yourself. If you do smoke, its cool, but do it in moderation, don’t be like me, don’t be stupid. Don’t wait until your s******g blood to take care of yourself.
To The TikTop
Q: As your career is really taking off now, where would you say was before TikTok and going viral and where is it headed now?
A: I was kinda on the same path, it just wasn’t as explosive. I already had my underground fan base and following, and the people who really love me and are still there to this point, and are the reason why I’m here right now. Like Z26 yall already know, we been doing this s**t, I’ve been building it. So, I think TikTok just made it explode, but in the sense of where I’m going and where I’ve been going, thats already been our path. Nothing can really change that, I think this was just like a boost.
Q: Did you have TikTok in mind when you were making “Playboy”,or do you ever have TikTok in mind while making music?
A: Yes and No. Like, I have it in mind, but I don’t have it in mind to the point it’s affecting my creative process or what I’m making. I’m not one of those guys… not to say it’s lame, but just for me it’s not for me. I don’t wanna think “lemme make this song for TikTok”, I want my s**t to be organic. I knew how powerful TikTok is as a tool for music, but at the same time I didn’t wanna make music just to blow up on TikTok. That s**t is weak, it’s like a cheat code. Like we here, let’s play ball type s**t. I wanna be in the league, because I deserve to be in the league, you know what I’m saying?
Q: Did you and your team have any strategy behind the marketing of “Playboy”? Or was it just organic and it took off on its own?
A: Nah it was just me. I was just like I know what I have here, I know what I’m working with. I had built up my TikTok platform over like 2-3 years, so I been plotting on this s**t. When I first started my TikTok I tried to make TikToks to use my song, but they weren’t going viral. So I was like, f**k it, Im funny, I’ll just go viral for being funny. It was a new platform, so it was easy to go viral on TikTok at that time.
So I was doing crazy s**t bro, I’ll probably get made fun of for this later so I’m exposing myself now. You know the meme where they spit the egg in each other’s mouths? I did that, so a girl spit it in my mouth, then I spit it in my friends mouth, I was doing crazy a** s**t to get followers. It didn’t matter, because I knew I needed the platform. So once I obtained the followers, I got to like 100,000. I said like I’m not doing that s**t, gonna make my page music only.
Completely rebrand it a couple months later. So I’m making “In My Sins”, but I’m learning how to make TikToks that are made for my music to make it go viral. So “In My Sins” came around, I drop it, and “Different” was the first TikTok I started working on. I made one TikTok like “POV when she asks you if body count matters”, that s**t went viral as f**k. Not as viral as “Playboy” obviously, but in my eyes, at that time, Viral.
So I was like “bet, bet, bet, I’m just gonna do more s**t like this”. So everyday I would brainstorm and make like 3-4 TikToks. Then I got into a fight with my mom, and I was like I have to go to Chicago, somewhere I can be harmonious with my environment. So I went to Chicago, I was making TikToks with my friend and then “Playboy” just went viral. I said “POV she said she don’t like anime” and that s**t just took off. Then after that some kid – props to this kid, I seen his video before with went viral, there was like 80 videos on “Playboy” at that time – and his was something about Fortnite, like “When she don’t like Fortnite” with the “I’m sorry she a f*****g fan” (from the song) and that s**t just took off. I started it, but he made it take off.
Q: What’s one thing you would tell an artist wanting to replicate what you did, taking a song and making it blow up on TikTok?
A: Try everything, don’t limit yourself to one thing. Cuz I wasn’t just doing that, I was doing anything and everything, but that is an avenue. Try that, but also do other s**t, because Imagine were mining for diamonds in Minecraft bro. I hit diamonds, this shit is very rare. You can do it, and it’s very possible, but just doing everything in your power. At the end of the day, my story isn’t your story, and your story isn’t my story, you don’t know what its gonna be that makes your blow up. Every artist has a different scenario that makes them pop. So I would just say do anything and everything you can, and don’t beg for things otherwise you won’t have anything.
Q: Is there anything you would like to conclude with or leave the people with?
A: S**t. I love you guys. Z26, yall know this is just the start, the very start. This has been all in the plan, I just wanna make the world a better place, that’s it. We chillin, good vibes, and just stay strong. You deserve to be that guy, you deserve to be that girl, you deserve to feel like the world is yours. In your life your the main character, live that s**t. Live life as it should be lived, because it’s a gift. No matter where you are, no matter who you are, no matter how you feel, everything is perspective. Make your perspective something that makes you feel positive.