‘Da’ What is Hip Hop? – Jonezen [Editorial]

Posted on October 9, 2013 by


A little late with this one so I am going to let Jonezen speak for himself.   Hip hop is clearly important to the Detroit emcee and he has an interesting story to accompany his good music.  Hit the jump!

“As an artist….Hip Hop is either everything or it’s nothing. It’s either all you think about and do or it’s a hobby that you mess with on the side. It’s something that you can’t quit even if you try. It’s impossible to walk away from…success or no success…if it’s in you…you keep pushing.

I eat, breath, sleep, dream, and work at it everyday. Whether there is a pen in my hand or not. This music, this business, consume my thoughts all day everyday. WhetherI’m thinking of lyrics, reading DIY articles, E-Books, sending emails, making to-do lists, booking tours, whatever the case, hip hop in some way shape or form is on my mind. I’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears time and time again because of the love that I have for Hip Hop. And really for music in general.

It all started for me when I was in 4th grade. I used to blastHouse Of Pain “Jump Around” out of my boom box on the balcony of my apartment and pretend I was performing like the parking lot was a huge stadium. From there it was on.

Hip Hop is a dream that I chased from Detroit, MI to California when I was 19. My group and I threw our stuff in a car and drove across the country with one goal: blow up. We dropped our fist album and started booking our own shows in Lake Tahoe, CA and soon enough we were selling venues out and got picked up by the local promoter who started throwing us on big shows and mini tours.

Hip Hop is sacrifice. I gave up everything to pursue this dream. Dropped out school countless times to go on tour, found myself broke and near homeless, lost every girlfriend I’ve ever had because the love I got for Hip Hop always puts them in second place. Hip Hop is not for the weak. Hip Hop is about putting passion before money. The money comes in time. But there are no guarantees.

Hip Hop is a “something out of nothing” mentality. I started with zero. Zero fans, zero knowledge, but tons of passion and drive and turned that into something. That turned that into fans, into an income, into experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Hip Hop is a connection with people. Like all forms of music it’s something that brings people together. As of now, I haven’t done anything that compares to the feeling you get when you rock a crowd.

Hip Hop is expression. It’s saying what you need to say on the Mic. It’s competition. It’s you always trying to write something sicker than your last verse and trying to be the best Emcee on the block. Nobody in hip-hop wants to be second best.

Maybe most importantly, Hip Hop to me has been my biggest blessing and my biggest curse. Because of the choices that I made while pursuing this dream I was almost dead from alcohol/drug abuse. Don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming Hip Hop. I’m saying when you love something that way I love this music, and it’s impossible to walk awayfrom, and you’re not where you want to be in your life, you haven’t made a million dollars, your still paying rent and not a mortgage, your friends are graduating college getting jobs and getting married, and life just catches up to you in general, those stresses add up. And for me the answer was the bottle and drugs. My liver was shutting down and my choice was simple: homeless and dead or rehab. I chose rehab but wouldn’t go unless I could bring my recording studio. Being able to record in treatment helped me heal, helped me get things off my chest, kept me sane and in that building. I ended up leaving rehab and signing a deal with Famous/Fontana/Universal. Now, I’ve recently left the label but my point is that Hip Hop, that music, was there for me in my darkest hour and helped me climb out of that ditch I dug for myself while trying to chase it down in the first place. The love I have for it and the inability to walk away almost killed me and then it saved me at the same time.

Like I said…hip-hop is either everything or it’s nothing. For me…it’s everything.” – Jonezen