Jay Lieasi (formerly Prote-J)
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Jay Lieasi (formerly Prote-J)

Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Hip Hop R&B

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Music

Press


"You will definitely be hearing about his dude in the future"

Locals should be well aware of Orlando artist Prote-J. The Papua New Guinea raised hip-hopper has recently opened for Curren$y, Big Sean, J Cole and last week, he and Pusha T put on an Independence night show in downtown Orlando. His first album “Good Hip Hop Meets Radio” was download 20,000 times in just a few months. In his newest mixtape, Prote-J samples La Roux, No Doubt, and creates a better version of “Grenade” than Bruno Mars. Have a listen to a few of his songs and you’ll probably decide his mixtape is worth downloading. You will definitely be hearing about this dude in the future. - TooGoodForRadio.com


"Exceptional stage performance as well as his lyrical ability led me find his tape and give it a good listen."

Here in Orlando we don’t necessarily have a gold mine of good Hip Hop artists. Yet when I start to hear about certain artists repeatedly from people whose taste I trust, I have no choice but to follow up. Case and point, hearing about Prote-J‘s exceptional stage performance as well as his lyrical ability led me to find his tape and give it a good listen. This offering is called as you can see, Dope Raps & Kit Kats, an ode to his skill and the snack that motivates it. I’m definitely feeling his sound, as well as his lyrics and strong delivery. Hoping to hear more from him in the future, but for now enjoy this; standouts for me are definitely “Bigger Things” and “Together”. - AshleyOutrageous.com


"Incredible Production and Well-Polished Rhymes"

Prote-J asks on Dope Raps & Kit Kats if you need a break from wack rappers, and with this 30 minute tape he absolutely gives you that break as he delivers a solid project with nothing but incredible production and well-polished rhymes. From the brilliant samples to his refined, confident, and always on point flow, Prote-J has mastered the art of putting together an album that has tremendous replay value. It’s tough with such a small output, 1 or 2 songs on a 30 minute tape can make the whole thing seem weak, but not one song on Dope Raps & Kit Kats is bad, therefore making it one of the easier tapes to listen to this year.

Right from the jump we get a gripping track with “A Story Worth Filming” in which Prote-J showcases his solid song writing skills by explaining how he got here and all the bullshit that comes up along the way. The track builds with a beautiful piano line as the instruments get louder and louder, forcing you to continue to listen as he lays out his life. From here we go on to “Bigger Things” which continues Prote-J’s gripping bars as he displays more honesty and the determination to get further than he already is. Two personal tracks to set off a tape usually would bore most people, but because of Prote-J’s talent you instantly feel a connection to his music, that’s the sign of a truly great artist.

After the blissful sounding “This Life” we get the epic “Grenade” which finds Prote-J going in about a shorty that clearly did him wrong. The ups and downs of the track perfectly put the emotion on display, and the hook is this incredibly passionate. “Together” brilliantly samples No Doubt and continues the theme of girls gone wrong. The violin is beautiful and makes the track even more gripping as Prote-J makes you feel his pain. “Going In For The Kill” boasts another great sample with 3 solid verses including guests Joe Clark and Wreck Wregular. “Nightfall” brings back the pianos that you’d expect to hear on an Alicia Keys song which is most definitely a compliment, while Prote-J reflects on where his day went as he was thinking about these women who ain’t shit. Finally we get “My Life”, a short ending which again gives us beautiful pianos and a final solid verse from an artist who has more than proven himself throughout this album .

For only 30 minutes it would seem easy not to have any missteps but you’d be surprised how many people can’t go without including at least one weak track. Prote-J doesn’t have that problem though as this tape plays all the way through without issue. Trust I tried to find at least one track to point out as being sub-par but it doesn’t happen, not once do you have to hit the skip button which is extremely rare, but Prote-J pulls it off.

Prote-J is everything you’d want from a hip hop artist. He has relevant and poignant bars, his production is unique and successful on every track and the songs themselves are just straight up good music. It’s clear he’s been doing this for a while as by hip hop standards he sounds mature. His verses are carefully crafted and his flow always sounds proper on the beats. The “kit kat breaks” are absolutely hilarious and original, what rapper has even told you he can’t work in the studio without a chocolate bar? Start to finish this tape is amazing, do yourself a favor and don’t sleep on Prote-J as I guarantee any fan of good hip hop will be playing this shit over and over for a long time to come. - Reporlandohiphop.com


"Fully formed personality with both skills and mainstream instincts"

In any performance art, the most important and elusive quality is self-identity; the ability to create with not just any point of view, but one that’s your own. And hip-hop, for all of its studio-rat mentality, does qualify as performance art.

Local rapper Prote-J, a standout at this summer’s Leaders of the New Cool hip-hop showcase, knows exactly who he is: a wide-eyed preppy charmer with an infectious swagger weighed down just enough by everyday concerns like student loans. Floating at a slightly higher elevation is Prote-J’s deft maneuvering of his ebb-and-flow lyricism; his way with wit and linguistic nuance sets him on a plane with Lupe Fiasco’s trickster persona.

A kind of coming-out party, Prote-J’s new full-length mixtape (available for free download at www.prote-j.com), the aptly titled Good Hip Hop Meets Radio, opens with its best track, “Here I’m Alone,” a Dipset-influenced banger with a surprisingly mournful refrain. It’s a wise contrast that invests his humor with a dark undercurrent much as the best stand-up comedians do. “Let’s Go” presents Prote-J’s ladies’ man sensibilities with a midtempo two-step that’s elegantly constructed with a wink and a smirk.

Later, Prote-J highlights his radio-friendly adaptability with “Distance,” an uplifting hip-pop outing with an equally impressive guest spot by rising local R&B singer Chanelle Ray, and shows an aptitude for street narratives on “Hold That Thought.”

Prote-J succumbs to his own gravitational pull toward the end with a string of wearied tracks (“Goodbye,” “Promises Break”) that suggest he doesn’t wear self-pity as well as his full-zip sweaters. Still, it’s not often that a fully formed personality with both skills and mainstream instinct comes along – Drake and Charles Hamilton come to mind – let alone arriving with such a keen identity. - Orlando Weekly


"I was even more impressed with what I heard on his album..."

As a hip hop head since I can remember, and having been in the Orlando area for about a year and a half, I think it's safe to say that the O isn't especially known for it's explosion of hip hop talent, nor has it really ever been. That's why, when volunteering for Florida Music Festival (or FMF) just about a month ago now, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was some notable hip hop music coming out of this city. The artists name? Prote-J. Where's he from? Central Florida/Papua New Guinea. Where's he been seen and heard? 102 Jamz Orlando, Power 95.3 Orlando, CultureClimax.com, ESPN and MTV, just to name a few places title of his latest work? Good Hip Hop Meets Radio. What else does he do? He's a multi-talented musician, producer and songwriter. I had the chance to see him rock the crowd on that Saturday night, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. But truthfully, I was even more impressed with what I heard on his album. The tracks that I was most feeling on the disc? Know My Name, Foreign, Here I'm Alone, and Distance. But truthfully, I don't wanna give too much away! You'll just have to find out for yourself by going to www.myspace.com/protej or http://prote-j.com. Thank me later (wink)! - Examiner.com


"The Music Tells Us Who Will Win - MTV.com"

2. Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers; Prote-J, "Heir to the Throne"): There are not one but two participants in this year's Home Run Derby who have had songs written specifically for their approach to the plate. Fielder's song was written for him by Florida rapper Prote-J and contains the spectacular line "You're a bunch of cartoons and he's Jordan in Space Jam."

-Kyle Anderson - MTV.com


"Don’t be surprised if one day soon, this young man has a hit in the top ten billboard hip hop charts."

Ok so its 1AM I’m up working so I put in Prote-J “Good Hip Hop Meets Radio” ok he’s not gutta but let’s go. Track one comes on and he’s really going in on “Here I’m Alone”. This is a track taking shots at commercial tracks that have been getting radio play from all over. Prote-J has a valid point making fun of tracks like stanky leg getting 300 spins a month, when tracks from 50 Cent come and go these days. Track two comes on and the hook goes “I’m living in the south with a up north swag”. From here on I’m like ok dude has a northern flow sounding like a Fabolous with a twist. Then we get to the “Get Cash” track with a nice beat, we all like a get money song. But in this track Prote-J don’t talk about getting money from the streets he talking more positive things. He mentions about going to school and being an entrepreneur something you rarely hear from today’s rappers. Now I’m really listening and the hook comes in “I get cash I grind hard” he will get cash more ways than one. Then “Distance” comes on, sound familiar but I never heard it before. These are the songs that Prote-J is giving you on industry sounding tracks. You can tell he’s seasoned in the studio very good on the producer side. “Distance” could have very well been on Jay Z Blueprint album and so can “Let You Down”. Coming to the end of the mixtape he has a song called “Dear Lord”. He gets really deep with this track as if he’s having a conversation with GOD. It’s a track about the struggles of a young adult trying to do what’s right in today’s world. In closing don’t be surprised if one day soon, this young man has a hit in the top ten billboard hip hop charts. He is a total package for any major label songwriter, producer and performer inspired by the late great Michael Jackson. This artist has the potential to be making his mark in the industry for years to come. - Hood Magazine


"Prote-J's "Foreign" featured on DJBooth.net!"

They say that you need to compromise. That you can make good music, or commercially successful music, but you can’t make both. They’re wrong, and singer/rapper/songwriter/Renaissance man Prote-J is out to prove it. Making his DJBooth debut today with his mixtape cut Foreign, the multi-talented Florida-based musician has crafted this mixtape standout into a sonic introduction to his unique style, an introduction that comes in the form of a sometimes haunting, ethereal beat (courtesy of the man himself) that’s matched by his blend of lyrical arrogance, positivity and pop culture references: “Who knew a kid from the third world could actually match with these, big city cats with ease, verbally?” I have to say, I’m impressed. On the other hand, if you’ve got something negative to say about Foreign go ahead, but judging by the track, I don’t think Prote-J is going to be listening. If you’re digging the newcomer’s sound, be sure to download his new mixtape Good Hip Hop Meets Radio, available now. - DJBooth.net


"It’s clear Prote-J is hungry for a position that has yet to be filled in the music industry"

They’re saying that he’s “The Most Talented Musician in Hip Hop” as he’s produced everything on his album “Good Hip Hop Meets Radio,” plays four instruments, and writes his own songs. Prote-J is actively promoting his latest album and I had the chance to speak with him in length about his journey up until this point. It was easy to see what makes Prote-J a standout among the crowd of up-and-coming Central Florida rappers.

Hip hop is moving in a new direction to support more lyrical rappers with artists like Drake, Wale, B.o.B., and J.Cole and it’s a welcome turn. Prote-J, although lyrical, has a sound not heard amongst his peers. His flow is smooth and drawn out, almost as if he’s taking care to lyrically coat every track he approaches. His production style is a lot like a “hip hop Ryan Leslie” and his personality is refreshingly genuine in a genre that is full of facade. His first single “Here I’m Alone” is almost a declaration of the fact that he’s in his own lane in this hip hop game. Prote-J’s GHHMR album is an honest introduction to who he is as an artist. It’s not full of the typical heavy, drum-filled Southern production and although his lyrical tendencies might be considered “up north” their delivery is unique to Prote-J. It’s clear he is hungry for a position that has yet to be filled in the music industry.

Growing up, Prote-J was musically fed by gospel. Although born in Los Angeles, CA, he was raised in Papua New Guinea (north of Australia) where his uncle is a Pastor. It was church that allowed him to first begin his relationship with music. He learned to play the guitar at 7, played in the church band, and even sang. In 2000 the teenage musician moved to Palm Coast, Florida where he was first introduced to what he called “mainstream” hip hop. He was influenced by rappers like Nas, Common, Mos Def, and Jay Z. Surprisingly, his desire to rap was born out of exposure to Southern rap. Prote-J said, “I felt the music was so simple that I could do it too.”

As Prote-J worked on his skills as an emcee he worked on his skills in the classroom. He went on to graduate high school and attend the prestigious Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach. It’s not often that a rapper or musician puts their musical goals on hold but Prote-J did just that. While in school, music wasn’t far from the aspiring producer. “College is where I really focused on learning how to produce,” said Prote-J. “I spent a lot of time in my dorm learning how to use production software.” When he graduated in 2009, it was back to the music grind and he hasn’t stopped to look back since.

With a stellar team behind him, the college graduate has his mind-set to “grind hard in more ways than one.” He’s growing his online presence and attacking the city of Orlando with grassroots marketing, setting up interviews, and getting Good Hip Hop Meets Radio out to as many people as possible. Prote-J humbly accepts the role of self-promotion as a part of being an artist–and that’s a testament to his character. - Eye4Muzik.com


"Hip-hop newcomer Prote-J swings for the fences"

At this very moment, somewhere in the United States -- be it a nicely-appointed conference room, a dance club, a recording studio or a cramped studio apartment -- people working in or connected to the music industry are trying to come up with new ways for a new artist to connect with a broader audience.

Prote-J found one, with help from Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

Prote-J (Jayhugh Smith) is the 21-year-old hip-hop artist from Orlando, by way of Los Angeles and Papua New Guinea, who composed "Heir to the Throne," the song that Fielder often uses as his at-bat song at Miller Park. The song was written specially for Fielder.

How does an emerging artist get a song played in front of more than 3 million people? We wondered that, too, so we tracked down Prote-J (his mentors are the artists who inspire him) and asked. - OnMilwaukee.com


Discography

Albums

2010 - Good Hip Hop Meets Radio

2011 - Dope Raps & Kit Kats (Presented by DJBooth.net)

2012 - Me.Verses.Time (Presented by DJBooth.net)

Radio Singles

Distance, Good Hip Hop Meets Radio

Know My Name, Good Hip Hop Meets Radio

Bigger Things, Dope Raps & Kit Kats

Nightfall, Dope Raps & Kit Kats

Organs Play, Dope Raps & Kit Kats

Young Man, Me.Verses.Time (Latest single)

Photos

Bio

There was a kid born in Los Angeles, CA, then shipped off 3,000 miles away to a small village in Papua New Guinea. That kid was raised by his mother and grandmother in a village where houses stand on wooden posts, roofs are made of coconut leaves, and farming and fishing are everyday ways of life. In that village, the kid immersed himself into music. His grandmother taught him how to speak Suau, their native language, by teaching him popular religious hymns that were translated from English. The kid's love for music stemmed from there, and at just age 7 he started playing the guitar. He then taught himself how to play the bass, drums, and piano. At age 12 he moved back to the United States, learned American culture, and fell in love with hip hop. He started rapping, then later progressed to making beats. That kid became Prote-J.

Since, Prote-J has taken a perfectionist mindset to master his craft of creating music. His first release, the free album "Good Hip Hop Meets Radio" (completely written and produced by Prote-J), put his career on fast forward. In a matter of months, it had been downloaded over 20,000 times. His follow-up mixtape, "Dope Raps & Kit Kats," was presented by DJBooth.net and quickly expanded his ever-growing fan base. It showcased his personality, and also marked a transition in his career. With the release of his latest project, Me.Verses.Time (also presented by DJBooth.net), Prote-J has clearly transformed into an artist in a league of his own. Not only is he set apart by the level of production and lyricism on this album, but his personal story and upbrining in Papua New Guinea make him unlike any other MC in the game.

Currenly residing in Orlando, FL, his music has been heard on mainstream radio throughout the east coast, college radio all over the country, as well as several major stations overseas. He has been seen on a ton of the internet's most popular music blogs and sites, including MTV.com. He has also shared the stage with hip hop legends like Busta Rhymes, and opened for artists like J.Cole, Big Sean, Curren$y, Mac Miller, and more.

Prote-J's unprecedented talent as a lyricist, producer, and songwriter, has him on track to become one of music's next major superstars.