Jay Cruz, a 21 year old Brooklyn born and Staten Island raised rapper who uses his past experiences as ammo for his music and his drive to make it to the top. Jay Cruz is a former college athlete who dealt with some troubling times in Virginia that led to the creation of his artistry and brand today. In his first week of college, Jay was arrested and would soon fall under the NCAA eligibility requirements, ending his long run of college baseball. This is where the story of Jay Cruz was born, as the artist was made to tell his struggles that got him into music and continuing by telling his everyday life thoughts and dreams.
Jay Cruz released his single titled “Off The Island” to represent a reflection of his thoughts and his hunger to be something greater than his environment. I really loved this record for the simple fact that it highlights how passionate Jay is for his music. Many rappers nowadays lack a specific amount of passion and it’s the sole reason for their content not reaching its full potential. We know many rappers who because aren’t completely motivated in a serious manner and lack focus on longevity, but Jay definitely is not one of them. By listening to “Off The Island” I received the impression that Jay Cruz was a rapper who could be easily misinterpreted by others in his life. However, he knows what he wants and is willing to put in the hard work to reach that goal! Here you have a nice beat that necessarily doesn’t have much flavor to it yet it received loads of personality by the artist himself. Jay delivered a perfect flow and a charismatic hook to emphasize the beat which plays as a foundation for rap records. The music video showcased the staten island environment in which I loved. I can already feel the slightly breezy cold winds just by looking at the visual he gave. Jay Cruz knows how to brand himself because his fits usually ironically fit the current environment he was in. his fashionable aesthetic was highly noticeable especially when the camera panned in to his wavy fanny packs and the fancy BMW. A dope video alongside a substantial and meaningful song is exactly what Jay needed to show the world that he is here and he’s here to stay.
Check out Jay's new track "Off The Island" now on Spotify, and don't miss out on the artist's exclusive interview below!
How was growing up in Brooklyn, New York? How did it influence you in choosing music as your career?
To be honest, Brooklyn really didn't have an influence on my rap career. Although its historical for it's music and culture, Brooklyn is where I spent my early years as a child, and middle years as an athlete. I played two years of college baseball in Brooklyn, and also travel baseball. I moved out of Brooklyn when I was 5 but would constantly go back for sports.
Is Jay Cruz also your birth name or your stage name? Has a great flow!
Jay Cruz is not my birth name, it's actually my stage name. my birth name is Nathaniel Jordan Cruz, kinda has a doctor or lawyer ring to it lol. "Jay" Cruz comes from a couple things. one the J in my middle "jordan" two my fashion sense. I feel like most artist with the name jay in front of there names aren't actually named jay. I feel like artists with '"jay" in there name are built for swag, and great style, great flow, great sound. Lastly though, a big reason for the "jay" comes from a big influence in a Brooklyn rapper named "jay critch" from Clinton Hills, BK. I'm a big fan and hope we get to make a song together one day. use to listen to a lot of Critch, right before i started rapping.
Off The Island sounds like a hit. Is this your first song you’ve ever created?
Off The Island was not my first song ever created but it most definitely was one of the most meaningful songs I've created. My first song ever created was called "50 Hours". A song based on the community service hours given to me for a charge I committed in Fredericksburg, VA. The birthplace of Jay Cruz and music. I knew Off The Island was a hit when I made it though. Mainly because of the message I was giving off in the song. Especially being from the "forgotten borough" Staten Island. A lot of artists on Staten Island tend to make songs at one point in their career showing love to their hometown, where I took the initiative to be the first one to title the song based on how I'd like to make it off my island, not show love to it. This also stems from the fact that there are over 35 cites in the world that listen to me more than my own island does. "Staten Island"
New York Birthed some of the most iconic and legendary rap talent known to date. Who are some of your NY faves both past and present?
My all time favorite New York rapper ever is undoubtedly The Notorious B.I.G. hence, why I have him tattooed on the middle of my chest. Following Biggie would have to be Tupac. Many look at Tupac as just a west coast artist but forget he was born in East harlem. I also have tupac tatted on my chest but from the motion picture he starred in called "Juice" a very famous new york movie. I've always liked jay z, 50 cent, dmx, fab. Now out of New York I like Jay Critch, 6ix9ine, Bobby Shmurda, Rowdy Rebel, Don Q, Dave East, Young M.A. A boogie, the list continues. New York's been doing their thing in music the past 5 years.
Where do you hope to see your music career by the end of the year?
By the end of 2019 I hope to see my music on the radio. I hope to have gained an actual fan base where I can do shows and interact with my fans and truly give back all the love and support they've shown me. I hope to have a song on youtube with a million views, and I hope to feature with some of my favorite artists in the game. God willingly.
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