Meet Jay Lozoya, the Chicano MC Repping the Next Generation of Bay Area Hip-Hop

Jay Lozoya certainly appreciates the value of a hard day’s work. Born to Mexican immigrants in 1994, Lozoya and his family relocated from Phoenix to Stockton, a city in California’s northern Central Valley roughly an hour from the San Francisco Bay Area. It wasn’t long before the family hit hard times, forced to sell their belongings and move into a garage until they could get on their feet.

Despite their hardships, the power of music remained a constant in their lives. Lozoya’s father began developing Latino artists, a career that eventually led the family out of its dire straits. He also began exposing Lozoya and his siblings to traditional Mexican music. Four of the boys, with Jay as their captain, began to take music more seriously, learning to play instrumentals and beginning vocal training. Jay would later form a group called the Young Aphiliates with brothers Omar and Favian when Jay was 9 years old, before breaking out as a solo act in his early teens.

Since then, Lozoya has relocated to the Bay Area and leveraged his connections there, enlisting the help of Oakland-based MC Iamsu! for a recent collaboration on the track “Dangerous,” while also steadily recording a bevy of material that he’s adamant will live up to the Bay Area’s storied history of hip-hop and R&B.

“Living in the Bay for as long as I have now and being raised in Stockton, just like my Mexican roots, has everything to do with who I am as an artist,” said Jay over email. “It all has to be on point, it all has to be swagged out, and it all has to live up to the standard Bay Area legends have set before me.”

He’s not in a rush to release a full-length EP or album just yet, though; instead, he’s choosing to focus on the overall vision instead of dropping something just for the sake of having it out there.

“I’m constantly working on my music; ideas come throughout the day no matter what I’m doing,” he says. “It’s just all about finding that perfect mix of records and putting it into one cohesive project.”

Using the values ingrained in him by his parents, as well as his appreciation for traditional Latin genres and the hip-hop heard on the streets of the Bay Area, Lozoya is ready to rep his Latinidad in his music. “I always try to show where I came from and who I am through my music,” Lozoya says. “Banda, mariachi, and grupo norteño music are all a main source of how I write.”

It’s a distinct blend of influences he hopes will set him apart while also making for a universal experience, adding, “I make music that everyone can feel and relate to.”

Bearing past adversity and his current work ethic in mind, Lozoya unveils his latest track and video “Revenue,” directed by Chito Floriano. The clip will certainly ring true for anyone who’s ever felt under-appreciated, despite grinding from day until night. Demanding respect (and a check!) is the name of the game here. It’s something that Lozoya has been able to do without losing his grip, thanks to his upbringing and the power of music.

“Everybody goes through struggles no matter what it is or where they came from,” Lozoya says. “Being that my parents came from Mexico the obstacles were even harder. Having to stay up even though we were down, I found my strength through this music shit. It’s all I know. It’s all I’ll ever know.”