Last time we spoke to Jenius, he promised us that some big things were going to come from him soon. Less than half a year later, he’s got some of his biggest placements to date. He kept his promise. When we were able to link up with him again for a “year-end wrap up”, we asked him about working with WondaGurl and LondonCyr on placements with Pop Smoke, Anders, Jack Harlow, and Kid Cudi.
Even after the year he’s had, he’s still working, still getting better, and still sharing his story with the hopes of inspiring us all. His personality is infectious, and his beats “hit you right in the chest”. As often as he can, he’ll stop by to keep Toronto updated.
The last time Jenius spoke to Sidedoor was in June. By then he had already had life-changing placements and was working with some of the biggest artists in the world. He knew he was going to keep going up, but even he couldn’t tell us how big his next placement was going to be. A few weeks after we spoke, Jenius was credited on one of the biggest albums of the year, Pop Smoke’s Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon.
“Me and Wonda made that beat [“Bad B**** From Tokyo”] back when I was still in Toronto. I believe I was still in high school, or I had just graduated. It was just one of those beats that we made, then forgot about. Like I never asked for the bounce, I never asked like ‘yo, can I hear that beat again?’ – because we make so many! I was just like, ‘let’s keep it pushing’. Pop Smoke ended up getting on it, but I didn’t know, because she didn’t tell me, like I just wasn’t informed – and still, didn’t even remember that beat.
“Probably about a couple days before the album, I listened to the album for the first time. I’m a Pop Smoke fan, I really like his music – Rest In Peace. Drill music had always been a thing for me, even before he was doing it – listening to the UK and a bunch of different rappers. So when I played the album, for the first time, when it dropped – I was in BC actually – I was in the car with Wonda, my boy LondonCyr, my boy Jojo. I played it for the first time – and the first song on the album is obviously that, so I heard the beat and I was like ‘yo I know this from before! I’ve heard this beat before!’ That’s when WondaGurl told me, ‘yeah this is our beat’ [laughs]. I was like ‘oh say word, that’s fire!’, because I was very happy about it, you know? That being on the album, was actually a very last-minute thing – it was something that was only informed to WondaGurl like a couple days before it came out, so she just didn’t tell me, because she wanted to surprise me.”
Jenius shared with us that there’s a full version of the song out there, and that it was cut short so it could become the intro of the album. As Jenius mentioned, that song had been in the works for a long time, and although it dropped in middle of 2020, he still had more left in his tank. Over the course of the year, Jenius, WondaGurl, and LondonCyr worked on several other beats together, as they do daily. On December 11th, 2020, 4 of those beats became songs by 3 different artists. As a result, Jenius had two new placements with Jack Harlow, from his debut album That’s What They All Say; a placement on Kid Cudi’s “Rockstar Knights”, which featured Trippie Redd; and even contributed to Anders’ return by producing one of his latest singles, “Don’t Play”.
“Obviously I knew that I had all those songs coming out – and I knew Jack’s were gonna come out, because Jack is like one of my homies, I talk to him like all the time. So I knew that was gonna come out, in the next weeks or months or whatever coming forth, but the Anders track only got announced like a week before it dropped, and the Kid Cudi one got announced like the Monday before the Friday, so it just coincidentally ended up being that they were all releasing at the same time.”
Jenius is always working, because it’s not about when something is gonna get placed, or who he’s gonna get placed with – it’s about making the best music possible. Everytime he’s in the studio, that’s all he’s focused on. Sometimes, his placements are from years ago, others, are more recent, all of them, though, the tracks slap.
“The Anders song was done probably during quarantine. The Kid Cudi one, I had worked on like right before I had came back to Toronto for quarantine, so I think I worked with him in like February. I made songs and beats and all that with them, but I didn’t know if anything was gonna come from that – I knew the songs existed, and that I’ve worked with them, but I didn’t know whether or not he was releasing anytime soon – so that just came about. The Jack Harlow stuff I knew. Those songs were made within the last year or so. I have way too many songs with him, you know? So those just happened to be some of the ones that came out, from the big, big, bunch I have with him.”
Of course, all these placements are ones that are dear to him. He gets to spend time with some of his best friends and is luckily enough to create music with them that resonates with the masses. But working with Kid Cudi was special. Jenius, like us, and like you, grew up on Kid Cudi’s music – and understood the impact that he had not only on us, but on the scene as a whole.
“Man on The Moon 1 had “Day N Night” on it. That was a big song for me because it was like a transition in my life. I went from listening to solely reggae music, to branching off to other genres. Kid Cudi was one of the first people I was really listening to, beyond Sizzla, Capleton, Bob Marley, Buju Banton, you know? So yeah, I was listening to Cudi back in the day, and as I got older, I was still in tune – but MOTM1, and even “My World”, with Billy Craven, were very pivotal to me at the time they were released. And you know, fast forward 10 years later, I’m working with him.
“Honestly, it takes a while for me to take in the things that I’m doing. When I was working with him – I was solely focused on like, ‘okay, im in the studio with Kid Cudi and im around this guy working, lemme do what I have to do, to bring the best me to him, sonically and musically.” After a couple weeks passed, I was like, ‘oh damn, Wonda and I really just did that”, so yeah it was a really cool experience. He’s a really nice guy. Shout out him, shout out Dot as well – Dot’s the OG Genius [laughs].”
Jenius, WondaGurl, and LondonCyr have created this sort of all-star line up of Canadian producers, that an artist can work with to guarantee making something incredible. Jenius has embraced this team, often referring to them as family. His plans are to continue to build with them and organically grow as a musician and entrepreneur. But with a wild 2020 finally coming to a close, we wanted to know what Jenius’ plans were moving into the next year.
“I’m just gonna keep working bro. More beats, more music, and more me as well. More of seeing Jenius being out here. Because I really am out here, I’m around, and I have a story to tell. From me being from the east end of Toronto, Durham Region specifically, there’s a lot of people that are rooting for me and want me to share my story and my experiences. Because who is there to tell the story of the people I grew up around? I’m really going to tell people about everything that I got going on in my life and why that made me who I am – and how that helped me make all of these incredible songs.”