Just because he’s from Philadelphia doesn’t mean that Ryshon Jones want to be called a “Philly MC.” The 21-year-old lyricist has been bombing the blogs for the past couple of years with consistent releases every couple of months to help build his brand and the awareness that he hopes to create with his music.
With his most recent mixtape, Basqui, just hitting the ‘net, Ryshon has gathered the likes of Young Gliss, Thelonious Martin, Lee Bannon, Sean Falyon, and a host of others to help contribute and craft his third full-length release in the past four months.
AllHipHop.com spoke to Ryshon hours before Basqui hit the ‘net and got the emerging MC to talk about his come-up, influences, and the project itself, as well as what’s to come in the future. Most importantly, we wanted to know what sets him apart. Check out our Breeding Ground feature on Ryshon Jones below:
AllHipHop.com: Outside of being from Philadelphia, how did you come up within the music game?
Ryshon Jones: I started rapping when I was around eight. My cousin had actually broken into some car and had stolen a beat tape, and he had gave it to us so everyone would rap on the tape-recorder. I didn’t really get serious with it until I was like 15, though, when I started discovering new stuff and then began putting my music online. This past June, I had gotten posted on YouHeardThatNew.com and BombOnEm.com, and from that it just turned into a lot of other people started posting me and the rest is really history.
AllHipHop.com: Do you remember what the first Hip-Hop album or cassette you purchased was?
Ryshon Jones: I do, and I feel embarrassed to tell you but I was born in ’91, so I came up when there was Napster and all that sh*t, so the first album that I actually bought was either [Kanye West’s] College Dropout or [Jay-Z’s] The Black Album. I feel bad about that, though [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] That’s nothing to feel bad about, man. I’m 24 and the first rap album I purchased was The Slim Shady LP, so I’m right there with you. As long as you went back and discovered all the classic stuff, it’s all good. Who were same of the people you just couldn’t stop listening to and always had on repeat?
Ryshon Jones: When I was a kid it went from like Lil Wayne from the good old Cash Money days to 50 Cent. It all changed as I got older and started to understand music, though. Like right now, my biggest influence is Coldplay. I listen to a lot of Rock music, moreso than Rap music, but my favorites in general right now are Coldplay, Jay-Z, and Kanye [West].
AllHipHop.com: Would you say that listening to the other genres moreso than Hip-Hop inspires you more to push the boundaries of the music that you create?
Ryshon Jones: Yeah, absolutely because it’s just more of an open feel than just hearing someone rap. I could listen to a Rap song and have it inspire me on a competitive note, but to actually want to do music I have to listen to Rock or anything that is just non-Rap. I really just like getting inspired in a different way to do something.
AllHipHop.com: That’s certainly interesting. Being that you are from Philly, of course your city has produced The Roots, Freeway, Cassidy, Beanie Sigel, Eve, and now Meek Mill is everywhere. In your own words, how would you describe the Philly Hip-Hop scene?
Ryshon Jones: I mean it really just depends on who you ask. Like everybody is on Meek Mill right now. Even before how he got big like he is now, the city was always going crazy for him and stuff like that. But you’ve really got a little bit of everything, like you have the Meek Mill’s and the more lyrical cats like Black Thought; it’s really just a little bit of everything. I’m personally used to people telling me that I can’t be from Philly, ‘cause I don’t sound like anyone else who is out from there right now. I think it’s a good thing, though, because I never want to be labeled as just another Philly rapper. There’s certainly more to us than what you see; you just have to go and find it.
AllHipHop.com: Being that there are millions of people trying to breakthrough as rappers on a daily basis, what in your mind sets you apart from everyone else trying to make a name for themselves right now?
Ryshon Jones: I think it’s my creativity. When I do projects, I could just get a bunch of random songs and throw them together, but I want to make sure that everything connects. It sounds cliché, but it’s got to be like a movie. If you listen to it all straight through, my music is like something that you watch and get caught up into it. And by the time the movie goes off, it takes you a minute to get back to reality. That’s the experience I want to give people.
Even if it’s skits or any little things, I try to give it that kind of vibe; it all has to come together to make own big puzzle. I feel like I put more effort into making a real themed project then just giving people random songs and stuff like that.
AllHipHop.com: It’s actually perfect that you say that because this new project Basqui was originally intended to just be a collection of the music that you had been releasing over the past couple of months. At what point did it go from a collection of what people had heard to a coherent and though out mixtape?
Ryshon Jones: It was just going to be a bunch of leaks that I had put out, so I felt like putting them all together was just going through the motions. My friend had put me on to Basquiat and from watching a movie and stuff on him, I just saw a lot of similarities to him and me so what I did was almost create a Basquiat painting with the music. It is a bunch of random sh*t, but the way that we put the skits together and the songs, it will all connect to one another in the end.
AllHipHop.com: Now tell me why you decided to go from Basquiat to Basqui with the project’s title?
Ryshon Jones: I literally just changed it to Basqui because I don’t want to get attached to his name or anything like that. So I felt like when I renamed it, it gave me more freedom to just do more of what I want, instead of having people hear it and be like, “What does this have to do with Basquiat?”
A lot of people might think, “Oh, here’s another kid who thinks the only Black artist alive is Basquiat,” ‘cause I hear a lot of people say that. And there are more artists that did things other than him, but I just really feel like I connect with him, and if I could ever meet him, that would be the best thing ever. I just feel like we relate to a lot of the same things.
AllHipHop.com: And Basqui is going to be your third project that you’ve released since December, so tell me about your work ethic and your thought-process behind putting out music so frequently?
Ryshon Jones: [laughter] I mean it really is just all about timing. I worked so I couldn’t really record music like I wanted to. I recently quit my job just so I could get down and perform at South By Southwest (SXSW). So now I have all this time on my hands, so I can do a lot more and it’s really all about the feeling.
I don’t get there and say ,“I want to make this kind of song,” I just go in and whatever and however something comes out, that’s how it comes out. A lot of my songs don’t have hooks, ‘cause I don’t really like to follow regular song structure or doing things how a song is supposed to be done. It’s all about the feeling and living in the moment to make it happen.
AllHipHop.com: That makes sense.
Ryshon Jones: A lot of people are under the impression that I’m some Emo rapper [laughter] and mad depressed, so on Basqui you’re going to see a more funny side to me, but that goes back to creating music and just going with what you’re feeling in that moment. Whatever happens happens. I’m starting to let go of that subconscious side of me, where I have to think about what I say and more so just letting everything go.
AllHipHop.com: So is a lot of the music that you put out come from a place where you think about what your subject matter is going to be, or are you literally just in the studio like “play a beat and I’ll get it done,” and if you want to drop an EP one random day you will?
Ryshon Jones: [laughter] yeah basically. I’m really unorganized in a way so I’m trying to work on that, but I always felt like once I got on the blogs and saw the reaction of people, you see how much more you can get out of those relationships. It’s a feeling of power where I can just post one song, and it’ll be everywhere, so why not use it to my advantage to get my name out there?
A lot of people say that I’m doing too much, but I always feel like I’m not doing enough yet. A lot of people don’t know me yet so to me it doesn’t hurt to randomly put out a song everyday for a week just to see what happens. I’m always trying to use that to my advantage.
AllHipHop.com: I hear that. Now you mentioned earlier that you had quit your job to get to SXSW and have your music heard, and I know that you had a project in the works titled F*ck My Job as well. Did that project become Basqui, or is that still coming on its own?
Ryshon Jones: Yeah, that’s still coming sometime near the end of the summer or early fall. That’s something that’s going to go on iTunes, so right now I’m just trying to raise the awareness about myself with the release of Basqui, and then an upcoming EP I’m going to drop in the summer. I’ll let that sit and build the awareness for F*ck My Job.
It’s all about my life from the day I quit my job to now so it’s going to be the first official release from me and I want to put it out when I have a large enough fan base to get more stuff heard. A lot of stuff can happen in the next few months so we’ll just wait and see.
AllHipHop.com: Well, I’ll definitely be on the look out for the “album.” I have to ask, though, what do you want people to say about you five years from now?
Ryshon Jones: I don’t do it for the typical things that people do this for. I do it because I care about my craft, and it’s more of an artistic thing for me. Of course, I want to live off of my music, but that isn’t what motivated me to do music. I want my music to be an escape route for people. It’s more so about just knowing that you can change someone’s life through what you say in the music.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a respectable way to want to be remembered, and I don’t doubt that the music already has that effect on some of your fans, so you’re doing something right. Is there anything else you want the readers to be aware of or on the lookout for?
Ryshon Jones: Make sure you all check out that Basqui mixtape that I just put out, and be on the lookout for this new EP in the summer and F*ck My Job right after that on iTunes.
AllHipHop.com: Great, Ryshon. It was a pleasure to talk to you.
Ryshon Jones: Thank you. I used to read AllHipHop.com since I was little, so it’s great to know I’ll be on there.
AllHipHop.com: Thanks for your time, man.
Download Ryshon Jones’ New Mixtape Basqui Below:
Follow Ryshon Jones On Twitter: (@RyshonJones)