Meet: We interview Los Angeles based MC Jonezen on new single Tear The Club Up and more

Detroit bred but Los Angeles based, Chris Jones, aka Jonezen is a man on the up. Last year he  won best hip-hop artist in the Los Angeles and subsequently signed with Concore/Universal, home to (including others) Brazilian singer Natalia Damini. Indeed, its Damini that features on his latest single “Tear the Club Up”, which also features Gucci Main. Its taken from his next album Beautiful Disaster, which is also set to feature appearances from Michele Wylen, Ashleigh Munn, Micki Consiglio, Jordan Michael and Lauren Ashley as well as production from Soundroll-Music, 2DEEP, Runaway Muzic, Adamack, Sinima Beats, Kajmir Beats, Will Shine, Diamond Style Productions and Platinum Sellers Beatz.

The track itself is a banger, everything about it is huge as guitars and synth lines splash away in the background along with drums driving everything forward. Vocally, as Jonezen himself says “Natalia killed the hook, Gucci killed his verse. It’s a different kind of song for me but at the same time right up my alley. This one goes hard.”

I am… Jonezen. That dude letting people know “the party ain’t over”. Detroit bred, Los Angeles based Hip Hop artist. Winner of the 2013 Los Angeles Music Awards for Hip Hop Artist of the Year. Nominated at the 2014 Los Angeles Music Awards for Hip Hop Artist and Solo Performer of the Year. I’ve been on tour and recorded with guys like Swollen Members, Blackalicious, Mixmaster Mike from the Beastie Boys and The Pharcyde. About to hit the road with Bone Thugs N’ Harmony for the Monster Energy/Soundrink “Get Loud Tour” and have a new record called “Tear The Club Up” ft. Gucci Mane that drops this November.

I make music that… Cuts through the skin. Hits home in a way you feel. I make music that feels good. That invokes emotion. That inspires. That people can relate to. I put my story in these tracks and that covers a wide range. From coming up the first time and getting to tour and record with guys I’ve looked up to forever to losing it all in an alcohol addiction, almost dying, winding up in rehab, recording in treatment, and coming up all over again as a solo artist. But I make those party tracks too – Those tracks that are spitting just for spitting’s sake. Music isn’t supposed to be 100% serious 100% of the time.

The records that got me into music/hip-hop were… House of Pain’s “Jump Around”. That was my shit back in the day. At the time I was really more into rock and when I heard that record that’s when the change started to occur. After that I started getting into Tupac, Biggie, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Cypress Hill.

The best hip-hop record of all time is…impossible to name. There’s so many classics from before my time that probably deserve a place on the list but a couple that come close for me, and these are based on stuff I was listening to as a kid and coming up, would have to be “California Love” by Tupac and Dre, Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”, and maybe even Kanye’s “Jesus Walks”. I love all those records.

I started rhyming… when I was a sophomore in high school. I had been writing lyrics since 4th grade but they were rock lyrics. I used to listen to my favorite tracks and then write my own songs over the music. Then in 7th grade I started playing guitar. That turned into writing my own songs, both the music and lyrics. Right around my sophomore year of high school though is when, for whatever reason, I started listening to mostly hip hop records and those lyrics turned into raps. It all just evolved. I think part of it was that I had something to say and I couldn’t sing. And I didn’t want to join the choir and learn. That wasn’t “cool”. But I had something to say and hip hop/rap was the best way for me to get that stuff on paper and be able to perform it myself in a way that didn’t sound shitty.

The things that influence my rhymes are…people, places and experiences. Each of those things bring up emotions and emotions are what fuel my music. Another important thing to mention is the beat itself, the music. Sometimes you hear a beat and you just know what the song is about. You just feel it. That beat brings you back to place, event, or memory of a person and it’s like you’re right back there. Or it just hits you in that “Uhhh, this is that shit” type of way and you just write on some spit-bars type stuff.

My first battle/public appearance was…at a place called RKS Studio’s in Detroit. I think I was about 19. Our friends had a gig there and my group opened for them. I’ve played there the only two times I’ve ever performed in Detroit. Not sure if it’s even still open.

Since then…. I kept pushing and never gave up no matter what things were looking like. I’ve had a successful career. I’ve gotten to perform all over the West Coast and hit some of the biggest stages around. I’ve rocked with The Living Legends, Hieroglyphics, Del, Zion I, The Grouch, Dilated Peoples, Swollen Members…the list goes on. I dropped around five albums with my old group and gone on to do release two albums and some singles as Jonezen. My third album, Beautiful Disaster, will drop in January on Concore/Universal. I almost died from an alcohol addiction. Went to rehab. Recorded in treatment. Lost pretty much everything I had worked for. The group split up. Dropped my first mix tape Live From Rehab and started to come up all over again. I’ve had two record deals. One with Famous Records and my current deal with Concore/Universal. I’ve won the LA Music Awards for Hip Hop Artist of the Year, am nominated again in two categories this year, got back on the road and toured a ton, performed material in a Jamie Kennedy movie, been a guest on the Janice Dickinson Talk Show, did SXSW last year, am about to tour with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and have a new record featuring Gucci Mane about to drop. I’ve been around the block. All those things are in the music. And like I said, I never gave up no matter what it was looking like. I’m fortunate, I’ve been successful, but I have a long way to go.

I work by… The way I work varies. I always take notes in my phone. So when I think of lines or whatever, I write them down in there. Sometimes I know I want to do a song about X so I’ll find a beat that fits that mood or vibe. Once I have the beat I start writing. That process can take a day or it can take weeks depending on how I’m feeling. Something I don’t do is force it. If I’m not feeling it then I walk away. Nothing good ever came from forcing a record to get done. And sometimes producers send beats and I’ll listen and if something jumps out at me then the beat dictates the content of the song. Writing for me tends to be a process. It’s not something that gets done all in one sitting. I put a lot of thought into what I’m saying, the structure, and how the words fit together. Then I put a lot of time into the delivery. How am I going to say this? I usually record a song twice. The first time around is practice so I can listen back and make changes. I’ll sit on it for a few days. Then I do it for real the second time around.

My new record is… “Tear The Club Up” ft. Gucci Mane and Natalia Damini. This is a club banger with some crossover appeal. It’s urban but at the same time it could find its way into some Pop markets. This one goes hard for sure. Everybody killed on this. Hook is super-catchy. Beat is hard. Gucci is on point. I think my verse is on point but you guys and the rest of the world will have to be the judge of that. Song is set to drop on November 18th.

Lyrically, it’s about…Tearing up that club. My verse is a little left of center on this one. This is a big record for me so I wanted to come out and really spit. Not to say you can’t go hard talking about the club and bottles but I used the record as a means to stake my claim in the industry. I spit aggressive, lyrical, with content, and on some “Here I am. Watch out.” But it still works with the song. You don’t listen to the record and think, “that came out of left field”. We’ve sent the record to some DJ’s and industry cats and they all flipped.

On the record I’ve worked with…as far as collabs go I’ve worked with Mad Child from Swollen Members, Lucky and Sunspot of Living Legends, Metty from Sweatshop Union, Natalia Damini, Gucci Mane, and Marty James from One Block Radius.

The messages in my rhymes are…I’ll bring it back to my movement “The Party Ain’t Over”. That’s what it’s all about – that anything is possible. Never give up. But it’s not on some preachy shit. I don’t have to say “never give up” in a song for the audience to get the point if they’re familiar with my story. They can listen and hear what I’m saying, then look at where I was and what I went through to get where I’m at and know what the message is.

In the future I want to…make the most out of every situation I’m placed in. Good or bad. Most immediately I want to focus on this Gucci record and do everything I can to make sure it’s a success. I want to use this song, the Bone Thugs tour, and all this press to really take my career to the next level. I’m looking forward to dropping my album and hitting the road. The more successful I am the more I can help other people. I’d love to be in a position where I can give back, raise awareness for causes that need attention, and really make a difference outside of my words. I want to back that shit up with actions. Then of course there’s the bigger stuff like the Grammys and other awards – I want all that too. And it’s coming. I just have to stay the course and keep working.

I’d love to work with…As far as producers go, Dre and Kanye. I love Dre’s production. And he’s meticulous in the studio. I want that experience of working with a true perfectionist that really gets the best out of everybody. And Kanye… he’s super creative. Others on the top of my list are Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and The Band Perry. I’ve done some covers of Eric Clapton and The Band Perry songs and I’d love to get in the lab and actually remake those records with the original artists. That be crazy. If I had to pick some rappers I’d go with Drake, Jay Cole, Eminem, Kid Ink, Kanye, and Jay Z. Those are at the top of my list right now.

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