Jay Rock in 2011
|Birth name||Johnny Reed McKinzie, Jr.|
|Born||March 31, 1986|
|Origin||Watts, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Years active||2005–present |
|Labels||Top Dawg (current)
Asylum, Warner Bros., Strange (former)
|Associated acts||Black Hippy, Game, Glasses Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Rick Ross, Tech N9ne|
Johnny Reed McKinzie, Jr. (born March 31, 1986), better known by his stage name Jay Rock, is an American rapper from Watts, Los Angeles, California. Jay Rock grew up in Watts, known for its low income, as well as its gang and drug infested streets. Rock ultimately chose to take rapping over street life, after Anthony Tiffith, CEO of indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), found Rock in 2005 and signed him to his label. In 2007, Rock, alongside Top Dawg, secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records and later Asylum Records, but after both mergers fell through, the label linked up with Strange Music, after Tech N9ne, Missouri-based rapper and founder of the label, met with them and offered Rock a record deal.
Since 2006, Rock has released several mixtapes and is perhaps best known for his 2008 commercial debut single, "All My Life (In the Ghetto)", which features Lil Wayne and will.i.am. Rock is also known for being a member of hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside fellow West Coast rappers and TDE label-mates Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul. In 2011, after signing his joint-venture deal with Strange Music, Rock's often-delayed and long-awaited debut studio album, Follow Me Home, was released in July of that year. The album included "All My Life (In the Ghetto)", and a second single titled "Hood Gone Love It", featuring his Black Hippy cohort Kendrick Lamar.
Life and career
1986-2007: Early life and career beginnings
Jay Rock was born Johnny Reed McKinzie, Jr., on March 31, 1986. Rock was raised in Watts, Los Angeles, California, in the Nickerson Gardens projects. As a youth, he became a member of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang and attended Locke High School. During this time, he had been jailed on two separate occasions, due to the areas anti-gang injunction. In 2005, Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, chief executive officer (CEO) of independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), found Rock and signed him to his label, after hearing a verse of his. After signing to TDE, Rock released several mixtapes throughout his neighborhood and via the internet. With the help of TDE, Rock was able to secure a recording contract with Asylum Records and later a joint venture deal with Warner Bros. Records, in 2007.
2008–2013: Follow Me Home
Rock released his commercial debut single, "All My Life (In the Ghetto)" in late 2008, featuring fellow American recording artists Lil Wayne and will.i.am. The single was promoted as one of "iTunes's Free Downloads" in early 2009. In 2010, Rock was featured on the cover of XXL's annual Top 10 Freshmen issue. He was also named by MTV one of 2010's breakthrough MCs. Jay Rock was featured on Omarion's song "Hoodie" and was supposed to be featured on Flo Rida's third studio album Only One Flo but was left off the final tracklisting.
Rock's mixtape Tales From the Hood 2 went to iTunes on March 28, 2010 and his mixtape From the Hood to the Cover of XXL was released to iTunes on July 24, 2010. He also toured with 50 Cent, and other rappers on The Invitation Tour. Around the same time he left Warner Bros. due to them delaying his album. Jay Rock then signed with indie record label Strange Music in the Fall of 2010, on a multi-album deal after leaving from Warner Bros. Jay Rock then went on tour with Tech N9ne, E-40, Glasses Malone, Kutt Calhoun and Kendrick Lamar on the "Independent Grind National Tour". His mixtape Black Friday, was released December 7, 2010 to iTunes.
On June 21, 2011 Rock released his second single, "Hood Gone Love It", featuring Kendrick Lamar. His debut album Follow Me Home was released on July 26, 2011 under independent record labels Strange Music and Top Dawg. The album debuted at #83 on the Billboard 200, selling 5,300 copies in its first week. "Hood Gone Love It" was featured in the character trailer for Franklin, a main protagonist in the video-game Grand Theft Auto V. The song is also featured in the in-game radio station Radio Los Santos.
During 2012, Rock toured with the rest of Black Hippy and MMG artist Stalley, on BET's Music Matters Tour. In October 2012, Rock's appearance on Kendrick Lamar's major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was highly significant as he was the only other rapper from Black Hippy, to be featured on the standard edition of the album. Rock is featured on the song "Money Trees", for which his verse was highly acclaimed. He would later perform "Money Trees", with Lamar, at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards, along with appearing in the TDE Cypher. XXL named his verse the fourth best of the night.
2013-present: Second album
In November 2013, Rock told Power 105 that his second studio album would be released in 2014. With the release of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards nominations, it was revealed Rock was nominated for Album of the Year as a featured artist for participating on Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city. After the release of label-mate Ab-Soul's album These Days... in June of 2014, TDE's CEO confirmed that Jay Rock would be the next artist from the label to release an album.
In September 2014, Tech N9ne revealed that Rock had left his Strange Music imprint and is now only signed to Top Dawg Entertainment.  On October 29, 2014, Jay Rock released a song titled "Pay For It", featuring Kendrick Lamar and Chantal Kreviazuk, as the first single from his second album. On November 15, 2014, Rock appeared on NBC late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live, alongside the musical guest Lamar, where they performed "Pay For It". .
- Follow Me Home (2011)
- Reid, Shaheem. (2010-06-25) Jay Rock Goes From 'Hood 'Hardhead' To 'Hottest Breakthrough MCs Of 2010' Candidate – Music, Celebrity, Artist News. MTV. Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- Cummings, Jozen. "Jay Rock". Vibe.
- "Top Dawg Entertainment Making It’s Mark……..TDE". Hiphopmoneymagazine.com. 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Jeffries, David. "Jay Rock". Billboard.
- Alonso, Alex. "Rapper Jay Rock Talks About Livin The Nickerson Gardens, Watts". Streetgangs.com.
- XXLmag.com – >> XXcLusive: XXL's 10 Freshmen for '10 Cover Revealed
- Hottest Breakthrough MCs: Jay Rock | News Video. MTV (2010-06-24). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- Flo Rida, David Guetta Talk 'Big' Single 'Club Can't Handle Me' – Music, Celebrity, Artist News. MTV (2010-06-30). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- From Hood Tales to the Cover of XXL by Jay Rock – Download From Hood Tales to the Cover of XXL on iTunes. Itunes.apple.com (2010-07-20). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- Tales From The Hood 2 by Jay Rock – Download Tales From The Hood 2 on iTunes. Itunes.apple.com (2010-03-28). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- XXcLusive: Jay Rock Signs to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music [VIDEO. Xxlmag.Com. Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- Paine, Jake. (2010-08-10) Tech N9ne Announces Tour Dates With E-40, Glasses Malone, Kutt Calhoun | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales. HipHop DX. Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- Black Friday by Jay Rock – Download Black Friday on iTunes. Itunes.apple.com (2010-12-07). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
- "Hood Gone Love It (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Single by Jay Rock". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
- Jay Rock Twitter update
- Jacobs, Allen (2011-08-03). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 7/31/2011 | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Daniel Isenberg (September 16, 2012). "Photo Recap: Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Stalley Rock BET's Music Matters Tour in D.C.". Complex. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "20. Jay Rock "Money Trees" (2012) — The 25 Best Rap Verses of the Last 5 Years". Complex. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Pay for It (feat. Kendrick Lamar & Chantal) - Single by Jay Rock". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved November 11, 2014.