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Ryshon Jones: Rap To Make You Think.

April 23, 2013

RyshonJonesTieshaMillersmallText by Niesha Miller. Top image by Tiesha Miller. Bottom image by G.W. Miller III.

Ryshon Jones’ music is not what many would expect to hear from a kid in Philly. The 21-year-old draws from personal experiences, artistic inspirations and trickery to paint vivid pictures and tell dynamic stories.

Hailing from North Philadelphia, Jones became interested in music when he was 8-years-old while listening to the tunes that bounced off the windows of his father’s car.

“As a kid,” he says, “my mom used to tell me that I would always sing any song that came on the radio when I was in a car seat.”

His first few bars were recorded on a tape recorder over a beat tape his cousin stole from a car he broke into.

“We were playing around with it and just rapping raps just to have fun,” he says. “But it always stuck with me.”

As a child, Jones tinkered with the idea of making music professionally but he wouldn’t try to seriously perfect his craft until he attended Northeast High School.

The 6-foot-4-inch rapper describes his sound as a reflection of everything his mind has taken in. A fan favorite is the song “Date with Doubt,” in which he compares doubt to a girl. The slow-tempo ballad was produced over a Lykke Li sample and flooded with 808s.

“I get song ideas from anything, like talking, seeing something on TV or somebody saying something to me,” he says. “A lot of songs that I made, I sit back and think, ‘Wow, this song came from a small conversation.’ It can come from anything.”

He shies away from being labeled, especially the term emo, which he often hears because of his realistic rhymes devoid of common rap themes of sex, drugs or partying.

“I think that the term emo doesn’t exist,” he says. “Every song is an emotion. So if you think about it, every song is an emo song because, whether it’s a happy song or whatever, that’s how somebody was feeling at that time.”

Last year, Jones released the project Basqui, which was inspired by the enigmatic, ’70s-era New York City artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

“When I did that whole mixtape, I knew about him, but I got put on in a more serious way,” he says. “I had seen a deep connection between me and him. Even down to how we talk.”

RyshonJones01smallThe first stage Jones ever graced was a talent show in West Philadelphia when he was 14-years-old. He didn’t win but since then, Jones has performed in venues across the city including The Blockley as part of the a Veteran Freshman events, the TLA, the Legendary Dobbs, Sole Control and Wall Street International. In 2012, Jones performed at South by Southwest, where he got to meet noteworthy producer 9th Wonder.

In January, Jones dropped his latest project, In Theory. Regardless of how you want to label his music, he is confident the project is nothing like anything he previously created. In his earlier projects, for example, the songs were composed without hooks.

“You can hear the growth,” he says of his new tracks. “I feel like it’s more mature and touches on things a lot of people are going through now.”

His drive and dedicated fan base is what keeps Jones moving with his dream of pursing music. But his artistic interests don’t stop there.

“I want to write books and get into ghostwriting for other people,” he says. “I want to write scripts. Anything that makes somebody think.”

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