With Freshmen Friday it's always been extremely important to conduct casual conversations that truly mirror the present and document for the future, all the while exposing and representing our culture. These conversations are typically held in my studio or the interviewees place, but as summer swiftly approaches we've been getting out of the house and exploring a lot more. And thankfully so! Or else we wouldn't be able to bring you this gem, slightly out of the ordinary.. Below is a behind the scenes conversation that future Freshmen Friday feature Gabija Mitchell conducted with Jamaican musician Protoje on Miss Lily's Radio.

P - Let me tell you about who can you call and the second verse especially… the thing about when you do the type of music I do you're expected to be righteous and perfect and an image of perfection. But I'm a man and I make enough mistakes, I'm a man of this world. There's enough things I go through and stuff I feel that maybe you would say oh you shouldn't sing about that! But if I don't hear myself expressing it, if I don't hear my words how do I improve? So that verse when I say

I've seen empires fall and wither down to dust and all the money in the world it could not lift them up. The most brilliant of ornaments crumbled down to rust because they put their faith in lust and disregard the trust. Hell, I know the rush. I've had the feeling take me over, the power in my hand when all the band over my shoulder.

You feel like you have this power… standing in front of three hundred thousand people and your brother is behind you playing music and you have this mic in your hand and you say yeah and you hear 300,000 people say YEAH! It will do something to you if you're not careful, you know? The bands of money coming in will change the ones around you. Be wise ya know because it cannot stop you getting older. But still… like even knowing all of that… But still I admit that I get caught up in the game. I've seen the legends do it, naturally I did the same. So I'm rolling 'round the city Miss Jamaica there with me.

Earth there pon my platter, knowing all of this nuh matter.

And that was an influence from watching the Bob (Marley) documentary and drawing the parallel between his life and my life. So when I say I saw the legends do it, naturally I did the same I saw Bob Marley do it up, travel the world, having Miss Jamaica… you aspire to these things when you're twelve, thirteen years old because you think this is what success means. And then you see him have something like that at the peek of his career and then he has to leave the flesh and leave all of it behind. So you know certain things don't really matter so I had to express stuff like that and be free about those things. So that's why that song is my favorite song.
GM - So questions, I have to do this, it's Miss Lily's I represent a lot of beautiful ladies and a lot of them have asked me if there's a little love floating around in your heart?
P - There's always love in my heart!
GM - A love for them to take (laughs)
P - I know the songs on this album in terms of matters of the heart are kind of sketchy because there's Love Gone Cold, Girl Why Don't You Answer to Your Name? and Styling. So these three songs dealing with the love idea is representing a time in my life, so moving forward we'll go in to more positive songs! (laughs)
GM - How do your parents feel about your music career?
P - My Mom and Dad are very supportive of what I do. I dropped out of school and wanted to do music and I wanted Mom to manage me, I guess she didn't think I was that good until she heard some material and realized I have a skill and she was like if you really want to do this you'll have to put everything in it. We (Rasta's) are very free with our children and making them follow their hearts and instinct.


GM - Where did the term Reggae Revival come from?
P - The term revival actually came from a friend of mine who was fascinated with the Harlem Renaissance of the '20s and '30s in New York, he could go and research the Harlem Renaissance because there was a word that identifies it and he was like there needs to be something that can be identified by media all over the world. He's very savvy like that and the word he has is the revival. And that's how the whole term kind of even came up.
GM - So Jesse Royal and Chronixx caught up afterwards?
P - I wouldn't say caught up, everybody was doing it. We would go to a show and see Jesse Royal singing and be blown away. And people see five people hanging out like Chronixx, Jesse, everyone… it was just natural. And we heard Jesse come out and for Jesse for me, it's more about his presence on stage. That's what drew me to Jesse more than anything was that when I saw him on stage he was 100% committed to what he's doing right now, he really believes and energy exudes from him. It's just a natural thing and for us it's not about any body trying to be the man but knowing that everyone's going to get a chance where they have the spotlight on them and then when you do that you just bounce it off to each other and then every one grind and every one's happy. I don't want to be the only one happy, I want to see every body happy. So it's happening all over if you check hip hop, guys like Joey coming up bringing a level of consciousness. Rappers talking about Christ consciousness and that type of stuff… you see it happening, you see music popping up from Africa, you see it coming from Europe, like everywhere I think there's a level of consciousness in the music right now. And not even in the music, just in people… all of the sudden something like yoga is widespread in Jamaica, you wouldn't see that five, three years ago. All the sudden it's cool to be vegan and to be eating like that.. it's a cycle, the music is just playing a part in it.
GM - Tell us more about being Rastafarian and how its teachings influence your music?
P - I started to read Walter Rodney which got me to Marcus Garvey, which got me to His Majesty (Selassie I). And then when it reached to His Majesty, it really started to change what I wanted to do in music. First of all, I just wanted to make good music, that was it. Just good quality music, good production, good song writing. When I started to get more into the teachings and philosophy of His Majesty it was more about ok, can there be a deeper purpose within the music? That's why in the last verse of the Flame, when I say

I'd rather be spiritually attained than critically acclaimed. Put that on your brain, systematically drained…

Then it becomes less about the tune they want spin but knowing that the work was the best it could have been. That's a thing His Majesty always says, it's not about the accolades you're going to get from all of this. It's about knowing in your self that you put your best effort forward. So the teachings of His Majesty is the main thing for me that keeps me grounded, because I know that certain things don't really matter. His Majesty is more a spiritual, philosophical thing then a religious thing for me.

you can listen to Protoje's music here, and follow him on twitter.
as told to: Gabija Mitchell // video: Olivia Seally


Ian Isiah is my name, 26 is my game and Brooklyn is where I am here to stay.
FF - Five years ago what were you doing?
II - Five years ago I was singing and starting a career in something that I didn't think I'd be starting a career in… being an ambassador / creative team member for designing stuff with Shayne from Hood By Air. I never went to school for art or fashion so it was cool growing up with Shayne and watching him really, really do his thing and it pushed me to learn that process. And him being my best friend for all these years we kind of think alike so

it was just easy to create ideas, it was easy talking to him about concepts. And the results of all those concepts were crazy

so something is going right for all of these things to go how it's going. And it's just a great experience, it's basically like I'm learning without paying for it. So it's a blessing.

FF - You're learning from life?
II - I am actually learning from life. So five years ago I quit my job working in retail, at a retail store which is where I met most of my friends that I still know today because they're all still around… but anyway I quit my job and took control of myself and took control of my passion and decided to go out and start doing what I wanted to do, which is singing and writing.

FF - How did your musical interests begin? In choir right?
II - It started in the choir! Brooklyn, New York… two, three years old, I'm in the kitchen… actually it may have started in the kitchen! I wanted to be a drummer first, I'm three years old, I'm in the kitchen, I'm making a drum set out of pots. I was learning the theory of music really young because

by five years old I'm singing in the choir and playing the organ so I developed this thing for music when I was really young.

By junior high school it couldn't get away from me at all, I went to private school where I didn't do anything but sing and play basketball a little bit, from like kindergarten to eighth grade… still singing, creating glee clubs just so I can sing with other people, a bunch of gospel music, R&B music all at the same time. I feel like I listened to that whole thing come together because obviously gospel music is an influence for every genre but in the 90s there was some sort of weird connection where it got even deeper and you really couldn't tell the difference and it was also during the age that I was growing up. Then, in Brooklyn at that time dancehall went insane… dancehall changed the game, it changed life for me, for fashion, style, music, attitude… dancehall basically changed my life in high school. So I started dancing and within me dancing I got a little comfortable with being flamboyant in public, around my normal people, being myself. I met a few people who helped me get started or just helped me realize that it's time and I have to put something out. Not that I wasn't ready and didn't want to do it, I just didn't want to rush anything. So I waited and met a few people I felt confident in as far as producing and co-producing and I made a mixtape called 'Love Champion' last year, which was great.

FF - What was your first project 'Love Champion' about?
II - It's about… the new generation needs to not only be lost in the hook and the lyric, they need to also be lost in the affection of the music, the chord progression and how that intertwines and fucks each other to create a beautiful track. That was kind of the inspiration for the video 'Mind Fuck' because the whole video I'm basically fucking Boy Child, who is an amazing person and amazing performance artist herself.

But basically we fucked the whole video, it was like a soft porn that was immediately taken off of YouTube, because they couldn't handle it.

When I put it out I hosted it on YouTube and YouTube was like get the fuck out of here, basically… I don't know what both of you are, I can't tell if you're a girl, I can't tell if she's a girl, I can't tell if you're a boy, I can't tell if he's a boy… basically being like this is too much for YouTube. So Vimeo tweeted me and was like this video is awesome, everyone check it out. So I put it on Vimeo, I felt like I kinda started a war between YouTube and Vimeo!

FF - Good! As you should! Stir it up…

II - Yeah! The response was really good, a lot of people enjoyed that video and from that I started doing the 'Love Champion' mixtape, which is the first mixtape I actually put out into the world. It's full of a bunch of love songs with a futuristic touch to it. There's a lot of auto tune… because I'm used to singing live, I wasn't used to doing so much studio time and when I saw all this fun auto tune equipment I was like this is fab! It's fun to use auto tune when you can actually sing, because it's actually an instrument.

FF - Tell us about your writing process.
II - I learned to respect that I was also a writer, I learned that if it's corny it's only because I said it was corny. And once I learned to do that is when I actually started writing things down, keeping them and nurturing that. It's a process… I'm still trying to learn how to write better. My process for writing, honestly right now is just like if I have an idea instead of me writing it down I tweet it and if somebody likes it then someone likes that lyric.

FF - Any upcoming projects?
II - I've been writing a lot and working on some brand new music, working with brand new people. I put 'Love Champion' out with Uno Records and I'm now working with new people as well as Uno Records. I'm really excited about it…

there's no titles to anything right now but it's really beautiful music.

I have so many songs already… I have like 50 songs in iTunes already done and recorded, which can possibly be sold, I'm in that process too of learning how to sell my songs and working with other artists and writing for them and stuff like that, it's going quite well.

FF - If your life was a movie what would be on its soundtrack?
II - If my life was a movie I don't know if it'd be a soundtrack, it'd actually be a link to like a 48 hour Spotify situation where you're able to have like twenty playlists that would involve my whole life. Playlist's full of like Brandy 'Full Moon', Beyonce… all of them!, Jasmine Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald… these are my people I listen to daily. Uh… Jodeci, John Legend, so many people I can't even name… I would just have a playlist of everything I cried to, smoked to, fucked to, laughed to. And Sizzla Kalonji! Everything!

FF - What are the qualities of a life well lived?
II - (1) Love for yourself. (2) Understanding that the answer to a relationship equation is 50% on both parties. And (3) accepting learning, accepting failing, accepting obstacles.

FF - What is your message?
II - The message is to activate, that's my message that I believe in. Like you talk a lot of game bro… but it's not going to come to pass unless you activate it. I understand activating might be hard, it's a process, but you have to… I think that's my message to the youth. Also, nothing is new under the sun, everything that we're doing now has been done before on different terms, you can modify or update something but honestly the sun did not change… it goes up, it comes down, people die, people were born and the mind just elevates, it's about elevating your mind.

Nothing is new under the sun, we're all creative people but it's about the force that you put behind your creativity and how you activate it that is going to make it different from someone else who might have that same talent or same gift that you have and have done nothing with it.

You don't want to be that person, you want to be the person that activates that. And then you'll reap the harvest and the benefit of that. All these great, creative people that I appreciate and learned from, like McQueen and all these other great people that really can't handle it in their mind so they commit suicide… no! I'm not doing that. I do believe in destiny, I do believe in living it out, I do believe in reaping the harvest that I put in. It's your gift, respect your gift! And activate it! Boom! Once you activate that gift you lit! That's it!

you can listen to Ian here and follow him here.
as told to: Olivia Seally // video: Olivia Seally


There’s something truly admirable about a person who has let their passions in life lead them in all the right directions. For Brooklyn-based DJ Jasmine Solano, a.k.a. JSMN, her love of music has taken her all around the world and back to spin for high profile brands (DKNY, Apple, Nike and Topshop, just to name a few), and celebrities (including a little artist known as Beyoncé…) alike.

But it’s not just her incredibly diverse taste in music that’s impressive; the Philadelphia-native and one half of the DJ party duo Electric Punanny has the kind of work ethic and intelligence that would make any workaholic jealous. While in college, Solano created her own major, “music activism quest,” which was basically a triple major in music production, marketing and socio-politics. Then later on in life, she was inspired by her non-stop work schedule to create and host MTV Iggy’s Scratch The Surface. The show documented her efforts to discover something new and interesting in every city she finds herself in because, for her, music is anthropology.

TR: How did you first encounter music?

JS: My first encounter was through my mother playing strictly classic soul in the house. I was 5 years old listening to James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Classic soul connected me to music. With that being the first genre I was ever introduced to, it set my standards pretty high. My musical taste varies, but it always has to have soul.

TR:  What are your go-to tunes for:

– Getting out of bed and seizing the day?

JS:  Aretha Franklin “Groovin’”.

– Hitting the gym/spin class/going for a run?

JS:  Gappy Ranks “Baddest”.

– Hyping up as you get ready for a night out?

JS: JamieXX ft. Popcaan “Good Times”.

for the full article head to the Rhapsody.

Words: Portia Baladad / Photos: Olivia Seally



My name is Tyrone Edwards AKA TRexXx, I'm a blogger, TV personality and Dad. Five years ago I was unemployed, I had no children, I had never been on TV and I was a blogger.

Promoting parties came first… And then in 2007 I created 1LoveTO for the mayor at the time, mayor Miller. He was participating in the 40th anniversary of Caribana and I found out about it the night before and so I wanted to come up with an idea that would speak to the mayor's role in the city and a message that he would be able to stand behind and also a concept that I thought was cool enough to lend my face to. And so the idea is celebrating the diversity of the city, the people that make it up, the idea that we're the world in one city, the idea of really encouraging an exchange versus just tolerating people.

The city needs pride in itself. Civic pride, identity, self worth.

We always used to say that we need exposure, but we have exposure. We don't even really need it as much as we need to understand the contents of this city; like how cool and talented the people are, how much of a benefit it is to grow up in a city like this that is so culturally diverse. I feel like Toronto really needs to expose themselves to each other. And then connect and build.

FF- Who are five people in Toronto to look out for?

TE- Bryan Espiritu from the Legends League is already very accomplished but I just know that there’s so much more that he’s going to do. There’s this young girl named Killa, she’s a DJ but I just know this… she’ll do well in that, some people just have that it factor. She'll be great. Also, I love Shannon Boodram, we have great conversations, she's the shit. Oh! the model Winnie Harlow of course! And then one more… PReign, because he’s a great rapper but overall, he’s a leader. And even though he’s a gangster he’s one of the reason why a lot of people are united and not fighting within Toronto. He’s an influencer, he’s super smart, he’s cocky as shit; he just has all the right ingredients to do amazing things.


FF- Would you say 1LoveTO was the vision that kind of broke you out of the freshmen field?

TE- Yeah, it was one of the first things that I was noticed and recognized and praised for something that came from my mind.. and from my heart. At the time when I did that pitch to Mayor Miller he told me right away you need to trademark this. And I didn't know anything about intellectual property lawyers but, you know, I sourced the information and figured it out and got it done. To be honest, that platform that I created is, I think, the reason why I even got hired on TV. Because there was people at Much following my blog and then when there was an opportunity that they thought I was suitable for they thought of that guy from 1LoveTO.

I didn't go to college with the intent or the idea that I was gonna do any of this but what I did take in college helped out. I mean, first I started out as a kinesiologist, but then when I became a student athlete I actually appreciated learning and the opportunity of going to school for free, on a scholarship for basketball. I really challenged myself and asked myself what it was that I liked… I became an English major, I took some business courses, then a lot of speech courses so I ended up declaring as a speech major, because the courses were more interesting.

The school that I was going to at the time was a private school in Michigan and they had alum that were working for NBC, and there's people that worked on Capitol Hill and DC so I thought some sort of public speaking role might be a good route for me. So yeah, they all kinda just came together in the end.

But what I learned from that was I just needed to do what I felt like doing, like what I was actually passionate about, what I couldn't really go two weeks without doing, without feeling that itch. And

once I started to follow that energy is when, I believe, everything started coming together.

Because it ultimately is who I am and what I've always been interested in. So I planted those seeds and now I'm just trying my best to nurture them.

FF- Do you feel like a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

TE- I think I'm a sophomore. I started off in music television with Much Music, where I felt like I was in my junior year, like I was about to graduate. And then I changed my program and went into movies with E!, so a lot like my education, I made the switch before I could graduate. So last year was my first year going to the Golden Globes and the MTV movie awards and really participating in that whole award show season and so I was a freshman, again. And now I'm kind of a sophomore, because there's still a couple things I need to do here… A part of the reason I haven't left Toronto yet is because I understand and feel the pulse of this city. And

there is no Puff Daddy of Toronto,

there is no... well, we'll just leave it at that. There's a lot to be done here.

FF- Do you consider yourself an artist?

TE- In a sense, there’s an art to what I do. And some of my closest friends want me to be a little more strategic and figure out exactly those intricate details of the art of what I do. But I just do. I just make it. I gotta do what feels right. It’s just constantly being humble and being open and wanting more. Wanting more and doing more, you know? My boys and I created this basketball camp years ago called Concrete Hoops and we started off small here in Toronto and then we went to Africa and Brazil but the idea was that we would always be teaching the older guys how to coach as well as play. So they plan and direct and facilitate and create a real infrastructure. Something that can live long after… So that’s what I wanna do with all the other seeds I’ve planted. It’s like.. I have this tattoo on my ribs and LIFE is the prominent thing that you see in big letters. And then around it, it says create… love… live… so I can keep on adding different words. I hate unfinished tattoos but that’s the one tattoo that will always be unfinished because I will constantly be adding to it. And that’s a metaphor for my life, that's what I want to end…

FF- So when it’s all done where do you see yourself? You’re 85, where and what are you doing?

TE- I wanna be in love with one woman, I wanna be in love with my children, I wanna be in love with my legacy, I wanna be able to see my work, I want to create opportunities for other people to do their work.

you can check out Tyrone's blog here and follow him on  twitter and instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Karim Ash