PVRX's Debut Album '3.14' Builds on the Promise of "Is U Down," Pushes His Sound Forward

The Toronto rapper discusses his new album, working with Dave East and the next generation
PVRX's Debut Album '3.14' Builds on the Promise of 'Is U Down,' Pushes His Sound Forward
Photo: Magdaline Hurtado
Rapper PVRX [pronounced "Pyrex"] has been buzzing on the Toronto scene for a while now, and for good reason. Having signed on to the iconic hip-hop label Def Jam (courted by label president Paul Rosenberg himself), the Rexdale native is helping lead the charge for the imprint's next generation with his new album, and debut, 3.14. However, despite the grandeur of his position — he's poised to be one of the country's biggest breakout acts — PVRX remains admirably calm and collected.
"I don't feel pressure as much as I feel motivated," he tells Exclaim! confidently in a new interview. "Pyrex is meant to deal with heat."
After making his major label debut on Undisputed, a compilation of the label's new batch of signees, PVRX is on the cusp of releasing 3.14, a beautifully melodic open book he hopes will serve as a well-rounded introduction to a career that's been simmering for years.
"It's a brochure to PVRX," he says. "I tried to give everybody a piece of everything."
Having taken about a year to complete, he describes the creative process as dynamic: "Things change when you're creating ... I like to be in love with a project."
"Dynamic" is probably one of the best words one could use to describe PVRX; anyone who's been following his progress can attest to the dramatic shift in his sound. What was once an extremely raw brand of Toronto-tinged street rap is now a hypnotic brand of harmonious vocals.
"Evolution is key because I don't want to do the same tricks," he explains. "My old stuff is all rap, but now it's a more easygoing melodic style... It's just a different chapter. I like to explore new terrain, so I'm constantly leaving myself open."
Undeniably, this evolution has taken his career to heights he never imagined, following the success of singles like "'94," "Make It" and, most recently, the album's lead single "Is U Down" featuring rapper Dave East. His first feature of that calibre, he notes how organic the recording and shooting of the song's visual treatment was.
"It's good to see that no matter where you go if you come from the struggle — making something from nothing — that we're the same," he says of the immediate connection the two seemed to share. "When I was shooting the video with him, it felt comfortable. It felt like home... he genuinely liked the song, which is dope. It was definitely a blessing being in the same room with him; I've been a fan of Dave East since before I was signed."
While Drake made the phrase "started from the bottom" anthemic, outsiders of the Toronto shouldn't rest on his subject version of square one. PVRX represents a more rounded picture of Toronto's socio-economic disparity — and also is giving voice to a generation of the city's youth on a mega-scale. It's a role that he's taking in stride, as he remains laser-focused on making great music.
"It's crazy; I grew up on Def Jam, from LL Cool J to Def Jam Vendetta," he says with a laugh. "I want to [help] bring back that feeling."
PVRX's 3.14 is out July 26.