Change is good. It causes progression in your sound and your willingness to experiment with who you want to become as an artist. Ohini Jonez is an example of this very idea of change. With his new project 9MM Cupid he gets things rolling with a more pop filled sound and keeps the beats, rhymes, and his style all intact. In this post-album release interview, we’re going to explore where Ohini has been, what makes his sound, inspirations, and you just might have a new favorite artist by the end of it all.
Who is Ohini Jonez? What’s his story? – Ohini Jonez a kid from a small city who lived too much life in a short period with a story to tell. I’m just an artist doing his best to touch people while also entertaining them. Striving for mastery of my craft and to make a living doing what I love.
Where’d your start in music come from? – I grew up pretty isolated in a rural community. We had no studios or producers. I started rapping in elementary school, and when I got tired of rapping on like, Ma$e single instrumentals and stuff I got a Casio and started making my own beats. Releasing projects was just a hobby until around 2009.
What’s the typical Jonez process of creating new music? – Depends on what I’m doing. My writing process is random and has no real structure. But production is another animal. I get inspired to make beats by so many different things, mostly visual. The Pathé Foundation building by Renzo Piano inspired the soundscapes for S.T.A.R., I Do, and Eternal Youth. Picasso’s Madmoiselle D’Avignon inspired the last third of the 9mm Cupid album… Sight helps me create sounds. I see certain shapes and hear certain things. I was making beats in a room full of print outs of Basquiat and Sanford Biggers pieces when I produced Grimeball for King Ulysses. Lately I’ve been working in plain white rooms with little furnishing, embodying minimalism…
Do all those works and music help you in your creative process? It sounds like you’re drawing from a lot of sources to get your sound just how you want it – Everything creative helps. It’s amazing how art fuels other art. Visual stuff helps most because it’s opposite of what I do. It’s like land complementing water, or light and dark. A lot of music doesn’t really move me. The idea of music moves me. But I really listen to music I’m connected to, occasionally certain things stand out for me though.
With your project “9mm Cupid” what was the thought process behind the project? – I’ve always told stories, and this was a audio novella chronicling my love life, lust life, ambition and for success and finally opening my heart to accept what life brings and the joy it entails. What’s interesting is how I managed to translate my angst through all the themes presented. The crown jewel of this is my closer, The Garden. Unmixed and unmastered, the song is an apology to a woman that I judged for surviving the best way she knew. I feel one thing central to my art is vulnerability; The Garden is the height of my vulnerability as an artist and a man.
Why the in depth chronicles of your life embedded in your music? – Once I called in to Tony Touch’s show on Sirius and had a brief convo with Jay Electronica, he gave me a gem. “Rap is the highest form of American literature”. I took that advice to heart. I’ve received emails from supporters saying that certain songs moved them, even saved their lives. You don’t get that type of impact fabricating or withholding content. You gotta bare your soul to help people. That’s flaws and all.
Whose on your radar as far as fellow artists and producers out there? – There’s a lot of dope people. Artist wise shaad’s EP Don’t Tell Mom was inspiring piece of work. bijan, whom I mentioned earlier as a collaborator has so many dope beats on his Soundcloud. I’m still listening to all of the EPs JerZ released last year. That dude is the most versatile MC out. Dominique Larue is doing some crazy things lyrically in Ohio. Stori Brooks is always innovative. Savant aka Stro is about to return with some dope things. As far as famous niggas, Run The Jewels new song is crazy. The Life Of Pablo is album of the year hands down. Chance is going crazy and Tip’s new EP is vital. There’s good shit out here.
Going forward, what’s next for Ohini Jonez? – One more album. Hopefully a few films. My passion is production. I just want to make dope beats and get a check while being ignored. That would be dope. But pay attention while I’m releasing albums and buy! I just want to spend the rest of my life creating. It doesn’t matter how. I just want to be active.
To close out this interview, what would be some wise words of wisdom you’d tell artists and musicians out there? – Get paid. Don’t let people tell you reasons why you shouldn’t get paid. Get paid. I don’t care if you rap like Lil Wayne or Vakill or Gucci Mane or Vinnie Paz. You deserve to be compensated. Producers deserve compensation. Writers deserve compensation. I can get exposure lots of ways. If this is how you eat demand it. Oh, and follow your dreams, skies the limit all that bullshit.