Photo courtesy of J. Lock PR
While his recent hit might suggest otherwise, J. Lock is anything but “SELFISH.” The Mississippi-born, Atlanta-based artist not only attributes his success to the team around him, but is a shining example of where talent meets diligence.
Competitive at his core — growing up playing basketball and video games in his spare time — the 20-year-old rising singer-rapper is starting to make noise off the back of his February single. Recruiting the legendary RL, who has worked alongside Tupac, Rick Ross and more, “SELFISH” is an ode to the nostalgic rhythms of 2000s R&B — curating an undeniable late-night vibe.
Infectious with a swoon-worthy hook from RL, J. Lock’s performance is as captivating as it is love-torn — melding melodic bars with an inherently head-bobbing flow. “I swear I get so jealous when I see you with him / Ya friends said I can’t be trust, yeah, and you believe them,” J. LOCK raps on his opening verse, painting a picture of his “SELFISH” feelings for his lover.
“I guess I’m just selfish, when it comes to you,” RL belts in support, as J. Lock locks in a fresh R&B-rap fusion with fleeting synths, underwater chords and cascading percussion. Working with a legend like RL seemingly brought out the best in J. Lock, as the pair’s chemistry on “SELFISH” is effortless from the jump.
“The advice RL gave me was to keep going and to be confident… It was a pleasure working with him and just being able to be around such a legend. Once I heard the hook, I knew it was a smash.”J. LOCK to OGM
While “SELFISH” is J. Lock’s first — and only — track of 2023 thus far, the ATL newcomer has been hard at work building his discography. Sitting at 118,000 Spotify monthly listeners, his 2022 singles in “On Deck” and “Vengeance” followed his debut EP Typa SZN (2021), which sees Lock wear his influences on his sleeve. His breakout track “City Life” — which earned a placement on World Star Hip-Hop’s Heatseekers — was the first major win of many in his fast-budding career, leading him to open up for the incomparable Kevin Gates on tour.
With vocals reminsicent of an ATL-bred Swae Lee, J. Lock’s music emits inspirations from Motown, Michael Jackson as well as B-side Drake and J. Cole, who he admits he looked up to the most in his childhood. “J Cole was one of my favorite artists growing up,” he said. “I wanted something similar to his rap name, but unique to me at the same time.”
Shooting for the stars, J. Lock just lifted off — hoping to let that “SELFISH” energy take him to greater heights.
Check out “SELFISH” below!
A conversation with J LOCK…
OGM: For fans that don’t know you, how would you describe your sound? What is the best representation of yourself as an artist? Where did the name J LOCK come from?
JL: “I would describe my sound as both lyrical and melodic. Depending on the season, you’ll get something different from me, from an upbeat trap sound to slow R&B mixed with rap. As for the name J Lock, my real name is Jaydin Lockett and J Cole was one of my favorite artists growing up. I wanted something similar to his rap name, but unique to me at the same time.”
OGM: You’re based in Atlanta – a hot-bed for rap icons of past, present and future. How has the city shaped your ear for music? What is one all-time dead or alive Atlanta collab you’d want to make happen?
JL: “Atlanta really opened my ear up to different sounds. Just hearing the different talent and melodies inspire me to get better and see what the people like. There are so many collabs I want to make happen… Most definitely Future, OutKast, Tip and Ciara.”
You grew up in Mississippi: What influenced you the most during your childhood when it came to music? Who initially made you gravitate towards it?
JL: “I would say the music my Nana would play around me and my brother, which was Motown Records and Michael Jackson. A few artists made me gravitate towards R&B music. It’s hard to list them all but I’ll give you a few: Motown Records, MJ and 90’s R&B. As far as rap music: Drake, J Cole and Kendrick.”
OGM: You and the legendary RL linked up for your latest track “SELFISH”: What can you say about your working relationship with him? Was there any advice he gave you, considering he’s been in the game for 25-plus years?
JL: “It was a pleasure working with RL and just being able to be around such a legend. Once I heard the hook, I knew it was a smash. The advice he gave me was to keep going and to be confident.”
OGM. Your sound is a potent mix of hip-hop and R&B: I saw that you named Drake and J. Cole as a few of your inspirations. What songs from these two made you want to pursue music? Excited for Dreamville fest this weekend since they’re performing together?
JL: “I wanted to pursue music long before hearing them, but if I had to choose a song from each artist that stands out to me, it would be “Too Much” and “Love Yourz.” I’m very excited to see these legends at the fest.”
OGM: Your debut EP Typa SZN dropped in 2021. What’s next from here in evolving your sound and continuing to build your brand/catalog? What’s most important to you in your career at this stage?
JL: “The same thing that’s always been important to me: Growth and progress.”
OGM: It’s been a methodical grind for you these past two years. Dropping singles all of 2022 and your EP in 2021, what’s the timeline look like for a debut album? Can fans expect a full-length project soon?
JL: “Fans can most definitely expect more great and better music on the way.”
OGM: You previously said to Apple Music: “Music allowed me to be as free as I wanted to be.” Was it always about music? What things do you enjoy outside of music? When did you first realize you had a talent/passion?
JL: “I first realized I had a talent and passion for music at 14… As far as expressing myself and being me, yes it was always music. I also like to play basketball and video games. I like being around friends and family.”
OGM: Have you performed at all? If so, what have been your favorite places to perform? Hometown shows? What do you hope new fans gain out of seeing you perform eventually?
JL: “Yes, I performed at the State Farm Arena in Florida. I recently had a performance in Phoenix, Arizona and I’ve performed in many clubs as well. I’m looking forward to performing at more festivals and events… I love engaging with my fans.”
OGM: Describe a time where you had to overcome adversity to achieve what you wanted. How does that scenario embody you as a person?
JL: “I’ll say my first real performance, which was opening up for Kevin Gates. As a kid, I always dealt with anxiety and fear of judgment, which even made me quit the 7th grade basketball team. I knew if I wanted to do this, I had to get over that fear. So I performed in front of hundreds of people — which was a lot at the time — and got over that obstacle. Still to this day, I am working on getting over that, [but] I see it as part of my growth and learning experience.”
OGM: Looking back on when you were just starting your career, what is some advice you would say to your younger self?
JL: “It’s okay to be different… and to be more confident.”
OGM: What would be your all-time dead or alive dream collaboration to make?
JL: “Tupac, J Cole , Drake, Tory Lanez and Bryson Tiller.”
OGM: What’s in your daily rotation and how does it inspire you to channel the music you take in for your own?
JL: “I’ll say just [experiencing] life… whether that’s having conversations or just living and enjoying myself. Also channeling negative energy and turning it into something positive with my music.”
OGM: What’s your message for Our Generation?
JL: “To be great, you have to have a great team.”
Check out more J. Lock below!