It’s Xyclone’s ‘Year of the Wolf’
While attending Bridgeport High School in Portmore, St Catherine, a young Roje Robinson had aspirations of one day holding down a job with Jamaica’s Cabinet. He had his heart set on becoming the minister of finance. And while he did, in fact, make serious first steps on his journey to that goal, somewhere along the way, his focus shifted. Now, instead of developing fiscal and economic policy framework, he is developing his career in entertainment and counting musical scales much more than money.
“I looked at the waste of money and I knew that I could do a better job as finance minister, with the right training and opportunity,” Robinson, a graduate of Medgar Evers College in New York, with a bachelor’s degree in finance, says of his youthful exuberance.
While admitting that he has put his degree on the back burner for now, as he diligently pursues his “calling”, the artiste, who is more popularly known as Xyclone - and don’t forget the Red Square family name attached to his moniker – hasn’t totally abandoned his dream.
“I am not using it (the degree), I’m trying to be an artiste. But who knows, Arnold (Schwarzenegger) went from acting to being the governor of California,” he reminded.
As far as his career is concerned, Xyclone says it’s “definitely not where I want it to be”, but he pointed out that as an independent artiste he has been reaping promising rewards. He sees the fact that three consecutive albums, released without any fanfare or flurry, have hit the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, as a move in the right direction. His sophomore 2016 release From the Basement to the Big Leagues; 2446 Waterford Parkway (2018) and Year of the Wolf (2019) which peaked at number three, have sent strong signals that Xyclone is ready and able to blow up a storm. Interestingly, Year of the Wolf, which features I t’s You That I Need produced by Bobby Konders Of Massive B sound from Hot 97, has re-entered the Billboard chart for this week, sliding into the number five position.
Xyclone says he enjoys quietly making a lot of noise, and it is his intention to make even more in the second half of the year, which will see him going into Europe this month. Recently returned to the US from Reggae Sumfest, which he attended to support his friends, for Xyclone it was also his debut, though not on stage.
“It was my first time attending the festival, and it was really good,” he told T he Gleaner.
Making inroads with a collab with Konshens, Meck It Clap (Remix) which debuted #1 on Reggae iTunes chart in the US and #4 in the UK, Xyclone is appreciative of everything that has been thrown at him so far, for 2019. He has also been named brand ambassador for Jamaica Natural Best, a natural juice company which is located in South Florida.
Acknowledging that he is not as popular in Jamaica as he would like, he noted that his fans are very supportive and also that he has been getting airplay in Jamaica, “without having to ask.” Xyclone also explained that as an artiste, he uses streaming as a way of getting his music out there, much more than the free music-sharing platform, than YouTube. And not surprisingly, he could reel off the financial value of the major streaming platforms. “I developed that following on Spotify because I targeted it and that focus is paying off,” he said.
According to his official biography, Xyclone got his big break when he was introduced to the world by his mentor Spragga Benz at a show in Hartford, Connecticut in the United States. From there Xyclone proceeded to tour the USA as a member of Spragga Benz’s label Red Square Productions; doing shows in over 42 of Americas 50 states and over five countries spanning from UK, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Chile.