Editor’s Note: An Artist Recommendation will be a brief overview of my personal thoughts, reflections, and opinions towards one of my favorite artists. They will likely be written in a more “conventional” style than my editorials or album reviews, but I still reserve the right to go Gonzo-as-fuck in these articles without warning in the future.
The internet just asked me what’s on my mind.
Every sarcastic comment I make is blasted out to my hundreds of followers on Twitter. Every half-way decent meal I eat is perfectly framed in the lens of my smart-phone, photographed, cropped, filtered, and posted on a social network for all to see. When an album gives me an experience I analyze and dissect it in blog form. This is the culture our overlooked latch-key generation has crafted for ourselves; a never-ending stream of outlets through which our individual existence can be acknowledged by someone. By anyone. Our counter-cultural response to our post-hippie stay-at-work parents is an elated — almost perverse — but ultimately empowering embrace of the “me” in every facet of our daily lives. The generation that shouts drunkenly in to the pitch black of night in the hopes that someone, somewhere will shout back.
If you follow me on any of those aforementioned social networks you’ve probably seen me gush hyperbolically about Ryshon Jones. Ryshon Jones is a hip hop artist from Philadelphia and his music happens to be fucking terrific. Ryshon Jones is an internet-era rapper in all of the best ways possible. Aside from the obvious trappings of the modern-day rap game “career path” (Ryshon releases free mixtapes online, posts remarkably inventive music videos to his YouTube channel, actively engages his fans through social networks, and has gained a large amount of his following through exposure on major music blogs) more so than those other current acts he truly embodies the attitude of the era in his music.
Ryshon Jones shares.
Like, he *really* fucking shares.
The personal confessions sprinkled throughout his songs read almost like hyper-poetic FaceBook updates; emotional asides and personal observations brimming with pure, unbridled honesty. His voice mirrors the same raw sincerity — I’m not speaking of the used-car salesman puffed-up bravado of the average rapper here — his voice is cool and controlled but beautifully human, bending with the occasional cracked syllable or personal inflection or subtle imperfection — elements a more insecure artist would try to mix out of his tracks. His production choices also reflect the rabid eclecticism of the iPod-generation, freely adopting and adapting sounds from not only the many far-flung corners of today’s rap landscape but various psychedelic, alt-rock and icy electronic influences. This variety never feels schizophrenic or disjointed, however, as every element of the work ultimately feels like it has sprung from some corner of Ryshon’s own psyche.
And maybe that’s the ultimate take-away I get from Ryshon’s work. The insanely stylized self-directed music videos, the chilling sounds, the down-to-earth yet gut-wrenching narratives, the humorous sometimes-self-deprecating observations, the prolific viral output of work. He strikes me as a person with an almost compulsive need to share his thoughts, to paint the world that’s inside his head all over the walls that surround him through any medium possible. An almost compulsive need to expose the gears inside and let us all see exactly what makes him tick. And that’s what makes him among the most fascinating artists in the game today.