Jay Rock

Johnny Reed McKinzie Jr. (born March 31, 1985), better known by his stage name Jay Rock, is an American rapper from Watts, California. Rock signed to the independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) in 2005.[2] In 2007, alongside TDE, Rock secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records and later Asylum Records, but mergers fell through and Rock ended up leaving the label shortly after. He then signed with Tech N9ne's Strange Music, in a joint-venture record deal.[3] Apart from his solo career, Rock is also known for being a member of the hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside fellow West Coast rappers and TDE label-mates Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul. In 2019, Jay Rock received a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for "King's Dead".

Jay Rock
McKinzie performing in 2019
McKinzie performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameJohnny Reed McKinzie Jr.
Born (1985-03-31) March 31, 1985 (age 36)[1]
Watts, Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2006–present[2]
Associated acts

Since 2006, Rock has released several mixtapes and first becoming known for his 2008 commercial debut single, "All My Life (In the Ghetto)", (featuring Lil Wayne and will.i.am). 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 was supported by the singles "All My Life (In the Ghetto)" and "Hood Gone Love It" (featuring Kendrick Lamar). His second studio album 90059 was released in September 2015. It was supported by the singles "Money Trees Deuce" (featuring Lance Skiiiwalker), "Gumbo" and the title track. In June 2018, Rock released his third studio album Redemption. All three albums have achieved critical and commercial success.

Life and careerEdit

1985–2007: Early life and career beginningsEdit

Jay Rock was born Johnny Reed McKinzie Jr. on March 31, 1985.[1] Rock was raised in Watts, Los Angeles, California,[1] in the Nickerson Gardens projects. As a youth, he became a member of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang and attended Locke High School.[4] During this time, he was jailed on two separate occasions, due to the area's anti-gang injunction.[5] 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.[5][6] At TDE, Jay Rock met fellow labelmate Kendrick Lamar, and the two would go on multiple tours together, honing their craft. The two often feature on each other's records, and along with Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q would form the supergroup Black Hippy.

2008–13: Follow Me HomeEdit

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.[7] He was also named by MTV one of 2010's breakthrough MCs.[8] 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 track listing.[9]

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.[10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13] Jay Rock then went on tour with Tech N9ne, E-40, Glasses Malone, Kutt Calhoun and Kendrick Lamar on the "Independent Grind National Tour".[14] His mixtape Black Friday, was released December 7, 2010 to iTunes.[15]

On June 21, 2011 Rock released his second single, "Hood Gone Love It", featuring Kendrick Lamar.[16] His debut album Follow Me Home was released on July 26, 2011 under independent record labels Strange Music and Top Dawg.[13][17] The album debuted at #83 on the Billboard 200, selling 5,300 copies in its first week.[18] "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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

2013–17: 90059Edit

In November 2013, Rock told Power 105 that his second studio album would be released in 2014.[22] 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.[23] After the release of label-mate Ab-Soul's album These Days... in June 2014, TDE's CEO confirmed that Jay Rock would be the next artist from the label to release an album.[24]

In September 2014, Tech N9ne revealed that Rock had left his Strange Music imprint and is now only signed to Top Dawg Entertainment.[25][26] On October 29, 2014, Jay Rock released a song titled "Pay for It", featuring Kendrick Lamar and Chantal Kreviazuk, as a promotional single.[27] 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".[28][29]

On February 15, 2016, Jay Rock was involved in a harsh motorcycle accident according to Top Dawg Entertainment's CEO Anthony Tiffith.[30] According to Complex, he recovered very well, however he had a lot of broken bones.[31] He was in surgery and successfully came out of it.[31]

2018–present: RedemptionEdit

On January 12, 2018, Jay Rock released the single "King's Dead" with Kendrick Lamar, Future and James Blake. The song was produced by Mike Will Made It and Teddy Walton serving as the lead single to his third studio album and as a single from the soundtrack Black Panther: The Album.[32] "King's Dead" became Jay Rock's first song to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 21.[33] On May 16, 2018, he released the single "Win", which served as the second single from his third studio album.[34]

After teasing a 2018 release in January, the album, titled Redemption, was announced on May 21, 2018, alongside the cover art and its release date, which was released on June 15, 2018.[35][36]

At the 2019 Grammy Awards, both "King's Dead" and "Win" received nominations in the Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song categories, respectively.[37]

In February 2019, Rock won his first Grammy award for "King's Dead".

Awards and nominationsEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

The Grammy Awards are annual awards presented by The Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the mainly English-language music industry.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2014 "good kid, m.A.A.d. city" (as featured artist) Album of the Year Nominated [38]
2019 "King's Dead" Best Rap Performance Won [39]
Best Rap Song Nominated
"Win" Nominated



  1. ^ a b c d "Jay Rock". Top Dawg Entertainment. Archived from the original on 14 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ "Top Dawg Entertainment Making It's [sic] Mark……..TDE". Hiphopmoneymagazine.com. 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2013-08-25.[dead link]
  4. ^ Jeffries, David. "Jay Rock". Billboard.
  5. ^ a b David Jeffries. "Jay Rock - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  6. ^ Alonso, Alex. "Rapper Jay Rock Talks About Livin The Nickerson Gardens, Watts". Streetgangs.com.
  7. ^ XXLmag.com – >> XXcLusive: XXL's 10 Freshmen for '10 Cover Revealed
  8. ^ Hottest Breakthrough MCs: Jay Rock | News Video. MTV (2010-06-24). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ HipHopDX (27 August 2013). "Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith Compares TDE To Death Row Records, Says 50 Cent Is Real". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b [https://web.archive.org/web/20100928155126/http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=92742 Archived 2010-09-28 at the Wayback Machine XXcLusive: Jay Rock Signs to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music [VIDEO]. Xxlmag.Com. Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Black Friday by Jay Rock – Download Black Friday on iTunes. Itunes.apple.com (2010-12-07). Retrieved on 2011-05-03.
  16. ^ "Hood Gone Love It (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Single by Jay Rock". iTunes Store. Apple. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "Jay Rock on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  18. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  19. ^ 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. ^ "20. Jay Rock "Money Trees" (2012) — The 25 Best Rap Verses of the Last 5 Years". Complex. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  21. ^ "Ranking The 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher Verses". XXL. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  22. ^ Dharmic X. "Kendrick Lamar: "I Have Nothing Against Drake"". Complex. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Jay Z, Macklemore, Lorde among 2014 Grammy nods". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  24. ^ Rose Lilah. "TDE's CEO Says "Jay Rock Is Up Next"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Tech N9ne Says Jay Rock Is No Longer Signed To Strange Music - XXL". Xxlmag.com. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  26. ^ "Jay Rock & Kutt Calhoun Leave Strange Music". Hotnewhiphop.com. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  27. ^ "Pay for It (feat. Kendrick Lamar & Chantal) - Single by Jay Rock". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  28. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Makes a Triumphant Return to 'SNL'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  29. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Performs "i", "Pay for It" With Jay Rock on "Saturday Night Live"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  30. ^ "Jay Rock involved in hurtful accident". Bet.com. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Jay Rock healing from accident". Music Times. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  32. ^ "Black Panther: The Album by Various Artists on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  33. ^ "Jay Rock Scores First Hot 100 Entry With Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake Collab 'King's Dead'". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  34. ^ Penrose, Nerisha (May 16, 2018). "Jay Rock Returns With Kendrick Lamar-Assisted Single 'Win': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  35. ^ "TOP DAWG #TDE on Twitter: "Chess Moves 2018 "King's Dead" @jayrock". Twitter. January 11, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  36. ^ "Jay Rock Announces New Album Redemption". Pitchfork. May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "Grammys 2018: See the Complete List of Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  38. ^ "56th Annual Grammy Awards Winners & Nominees". Grammy.
  39. ^ "61st Annual Grammy Awards Winners & Nominees". Grammy.