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WPGM Interviews: JayProb & Rocky Snyda – Reinventing Drill Music, Good Timing And ‘Bronxlyn’

Seeing JayProb and Rocky Snyda together, you would think they’ve known each other forever. But according to Jay, their path to making music started with an Instagram DM back in 2014. Ten years and a few underground projects later, social media is still playing a huge part in both their careers.

Just days before they headed to SXSW, I sat across from the two of them to talk about how their year-old single “Bronxlyn” is changing their lives.

“Bronxlyn” isn’t a new song, but the hype around it has reached new heights in the last few months on TikTok. When I asked them about the secret formula for the song’s recent success, they both agreed with Jay’s hypothesis that “it’s just the combination of good luck and good timing.”

But, while the algorithm works in mysterious ways, there’s something about the single’s new-found popularity that makes sense. The culture has an appetite for music that makes them feel free. House music has existed for decades, but there’s something about the way it feels to hear a house song today that hits differently. Personally, I think the spirit of the music is starting to get back to its roots.

In 2022, Drake and Beyonce both surprised their fans with house-adjacent projects. And while for some, it felt completely random, the truth is, the world today looks a lot like it did when House first gained popularity. People need an outlet that takes them out of their minds and into their bodies.

Insert “Bronxlyn” – a song that combines the energy of drill with the airy, light-hearted feel of a traditional House tempo. When talking about the production process, Rocky and Jay describe the beat for “Bronxlyn” as intentionally having a higher frequency than people would expect in a drill beat.

That little sonic nuance is something you can hear and feel when the music is washing over you. Every TikTok made using the viral “Bronxlyn” snippet has that kind of carefree vibe that House music is famous for.

So what even is House Drill?! Jay says, in part, it’s just something he made up, but “from a technical standpoint, there’s like certain aspects to that consider something to be drill.”

Those things being the distinctive snare and clap patterns, hi-hats, and unique 808 basslines that come together to create that dark, gritty sound that has transcended it’s roots in the UK and Chicago and taken over New York.

This fusion, though, is something different. The sound of “Bronxlyn”, according to Jay, was intended to merge the bold energy of drill with the uplifting frequency that House music is known and loved for. In Jay’s words, “the frequency of sounds evoke shxt in people,” and their original “spin on drill” has a uniquely “positive kind of attachment to it.”

But regardless of the genre, you assign it to, it’s music that makes you want to move. “It gives very cxnty” as Rocky describes it. Letting us into her headspace the first time she heard the beat, she admits, “I was like, damn, I want to talk my shxt.”

When remarking on the sounds that inspired her fun, fierce verse on the song, she shared, “I was thinking Azalea Banks too… Definitely Connie Diamond as well… the female artists that were coming out around that that I listened to personally.” Even with such a range of influences, it’s clear that “Bronxlyn” carries the legacy of underground 80s nightlife into today.

There was also an air of magic in the way the song came to be. “I had the first part, and then Rocky had another part, but we were doing a show, and the way the playlist lined up was just perfect. We was like nah we should just make this one joint,” Jay shared, reminiscing on the performance that helped them (literally and creatively) put the pieces together.

The effortlessness of the song’s origins is almost ironic, knowing the production is part of what’s caused so much conversation in culture. Rocky walks us through the energy around the song’s first release, like the moment is happening all over. “The conversation around it being House Drill just got people fired up. Everybody’s like, what’s this House Drill? What’s this House Drill?! Is it House? Is it Drill? Is it that?” she explains.

That mystery led to every new musician’s dream, a viral hit on their first try. The morning after Jay’s birthday (and the first time they posted the song on TikTok), Rocky remembers waking up to “thousands and thousands of people commenting and liking,” which Jay took to mean “the TikTok gods” were on their side.

Those who’ve been longtime fans of JayProb and Rocky Snyda as solo artists (circa 2018) will tell you “Bronxlyn” is somewhat of an outlier from their larger discographies. For Jay, the uptempo, energetic feel of “Bronxlyn” is a departure from the slower, rhythmic, lusty sound of his earlier singles like “MDE” and “Like LL.” His 2020 album Fxckboy Blues has a distinctly toxic, experimental R&B vibe with low-register vocals and a blend of talk-singing melodies and lyrical verses.

For Rocky, “Bronxlyn” is a sonic graduation that draws elements of other upbeat, house-inspired, alternative, and sophisticated hyper-pop singles in her repertoire, like the work on her 2020 TRYPOP project. But the thing that has remained consistent across all her stylistic explorations is her lyrical ability. Her nostalgic “Supa Dupa Fly Freestyle” is packed with flow switches and wordplay that, for anyone really listening, is a clear foundation for the intricate, deliberate delivery she mastered on “Bronxlyn”.

However, before the music even took off, both Rock and Jay had completely different, thriving brands, and as they transitioned to taking their music to the next level, their existing success was both a blessing and a curse.

I think it’s really ingrained with us because (of where) we’ve been. I used to work at Le Bain as a promoter. So it’s like, a lot of those, like, my nights are spent around that kind of music. So I had an influence,” said the self-proclaimed PhotogRapper, who was first known for his raw, edgy party photography and events.

As a well-known name in New York’s black artist world, Jay was already working with some of the biggest creatives around the city on a regular basis.

Rocky’s path into music started with an education in musical theater and turned into a thriving era of hosting some of NYC’s biggest house parties. For them, building an audience has never been a problem. The real work was outrunning their own well-known reputations.

Eventually, what started out as an obstacle became the edge they needed to break through. After back-to-back legendary subway shows, they got the idea to take their independent showcase above ground. During NYFW, they packed a crew of fans into the back of a U-Haul and drove through the streets, blasting their music.

Like a lot of other aspects of their collaboration, the stunt came together through a combination of creative strategy and diving timing. Rocky describes that the idea really struck them the night before they made their move. “It was Fashion Week; we went to an event, like the night before. And it was just like, people outside, and it’s really nice outside. We should do the U-haul thing,” she said. The rest is pop culture history.

As they pulled up outside a club venue where Ice Spice was hosting her official after-party, things got so big they almost got shut down. But instead of killing the vibe, the venue’s team brought everybody inside.

Even though they’re both solo artists, both Jay and Rocky admit that they would never want to do this journey alone. Jay says Rocky taught him the value of transparency and consistency when it came to his rebrand. Rocky shared that Jay was part of the reason she started seeing a future for herself in music. They’ve learned to lean on each other and, in the process, built an unbreakable bond.

Looking ahead, they are on a mission to make this moment in their music career a stepping stone and not a stopping point.

Watch the video for their “Bronxlyn” single below. You can keep tabs on JayProb here, and Rocky Snyda here.

Written by Nina Austin

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