East Coast artist Jeffrey discusses new album It Never Works Out
When I was on tour with Doom Squad across Canada a couple years back, I met a rapper named Jkenny. He caught a ride to our show in New Glasgow, NS with my homeboy Scrimige where he performed a dope set. Despite the pajama pants and scruffy appearance, it was evident the man had a ton of potential.
Fast forward to 2019 and now Jkenny is known as Jeffrey and his a brand new EP, It Never Works Out, is making waves amongst hip-hop heads everywhere. I recently sat down with Jeffrey to chop it up with him, and take in the new project.
The EP starts off with “All Wrong” featuring Cape Breton rapper Mitchell Bailey. The moody ballad is an ode to bad decisions and the inevitable lamenting that comes after. The song might as well be the title track as it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the album and reinforces the theme that something will and always does go awry in the end.
Next up is the actual title track, “It Never Works Out” which continues the dark brooding vibe with a haunting hook and Jeffrey quietly reflecting. He says, “I should probably go out, but I stuck to myself,” which is hella relatable for anyone dealing with social anxiety.
“Gold” switches it up a bit with a more cocky approach but still presses the lingering sting that comes from being too self-assured. “Pressure” brings a lot of funk and vibe from the Scotia/ATL rapper Ray Reaves who is definitely the standout feature on the EP. I personally love this song because of how well the two MCs tell their stories of the immense pressure we all face in this crazy world and how we all long for serenity.
Overall, this is a very well crafted album that is sonically pleasing. It conveys a lot of heartfelt emotion and is easy to listen to. The beats are super chill with lots of live instrumentation and the rhymes are smooth and digestible. The only thing listeners may be disappointed in is the lack of banging beats or jump off tracks but that doesn’t seem to be a priority for Jeffrey who prefers to vibe out and keep things cool. A great addition to the Canadian hip-hop mosaic and a triumph for hip-hop in the Atlantic provinces.
Check out It Never Works Out and the Q&A with Jeffrey below.
HipHopCanada: Where are you from and how did you get started in hip-hop?
Jeffrey: Originally, I’m from a small village by the sea. Wallace, Nova Scotia. It was odd for me to get into hip-hop mostly because no one back home in the 90’s or early 2000’s were even into the genre, it was all rock and country. Fortunately, my sister was a major oddball who schooled me to Jurassic 5 when I was about 9-10 years old. From then on it was history.
HipHopCanada: You have a very chill vibe that’s quite unique. Who are some of the artists that influenced or inspired you?
Jeffrey: Most people don’t believe me when I say my biggest musical inspiration is Brian Wilson. I grew up heavily on The Beach Boys because my father was a huge fan, and they’ve remained my favourite band to this day. Brian Wilson’s life is extremely intriguing to me. The way he created music while wrestling with his personal demons is very real to me. “God Only Knows” is my favourite track ever written.
HipHopCanada: So is It Never Works Out your first album?
Jeffrey: Technically, it’s not. My first album under “Jkenny” was Sexual Tones n Explicit Lyrics which included Maritime vets J-Bru and Ghettosocks. The album was trash though, as was everything I rushed to put out with horrible production when I was first starting out. Thankfully, through trial and error, I’ve grown as an artist and have released a project I truly love with It Never Works Out.
HipHopCanada: What does the title mean to you? Have you faced a lot of disappointment in life or music?
Jeffrey: The title is very much based on my own life. For the last nine years I’ve battled with PTSD, and I really let myself use my mental illness as an excuse not to succeed in life for almost a decade. It took me a long time to realize it was my own fault life wasn’t working out. This album really gave me a chance to reflect on myself as an individual, and has been an incredible experience spiritually and really an awakening.
HipHopCanada: I noticed a lot of live instrumentation interwoven with your vocals. Who handled the production for the album?
Jeffrey: You’re most likely hearing the works of John Rambo who is an excellent producer. He produced “All Wrong” and “Coming Home.” I also have Dirty Dane on there who is amazing, and a couple of other producers I’m not entirely familiar with, to be quite honest.
HipHopCanada: I noticed that you have EPDMC featured on “Coming Home.” You two have been connected quite a bit as of late. Tell me how you guys met and what brought you together musically?
Jeffrey: Apparently we met a long time ago at some show I don’t remember, says EPDMC. (Laughs) I first remember DJ IV hooking us up to work on a track, that was about two years ago now, I think. It’s weird because I really can’t think of why we started working together so much. We just really hit it off as friends and collaborators, and are constantly pushing each other to be better artists. I honestly owe a lot to EPDMC. I would never be doing as well as I am right now if it weren’t for him. His more melodic approach really inspired me to become a more versatile aritst rather and not just a rapper (which is what I always wanted but lacked the confidence). Not to mention the guy drives me to every single out of town and even local show that we have. Couldn’t do anything of this without EPDMC.
HipHopCanada: I saw you recently performed at New School Rules in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). How was that?
Jeffrey: I think the experience of travelling with friends and making new lasting friendships was 10,000 times better than the actual festival. (Laughs) I guess the cops had shown up before we arrived and asked them to shut it down because of noise complaints so the sound for our set was really off, and you couldn’t hear performers. Either way, the trip was worth it for the connections I was able to make and had an amazing time with good people.
HipHopCanada: What do you have planned for the rest of the year? Do you have any upcoming performances or releases?
Jeffrey: First up, I’ll be heading out to Winnipeg again with my good pal EPDMC to play the Northern Touch Music Festival. Then… and I’m super excited for this… I’ll be back in the studio with Nova Scotian veteran and legend, Chad Hatcher. Chad and I have been working very close on a complete album. It’s very country inspired, and hip-hop/R&B infused. It’s honestly a thing of beauty and, in my opinion, already 10 times better than my debut EP.
You can follow @JeffreyMusicOfficial on Instagram.