Jonezy's Co$tombs, released this past spring, is an album full of critique about the rat race toward material wealth in America. It is fitting that its first single is "Wake Up," an homage to the daily, unglamorous grind of the working class. Jonezy's precise, no-frills flow floats over a slow-burner by producer JBJR. He produced the video himself: A literal interpretation of the songs lyrics -- watch it below. We asked the rapper a few questions about how he defines success, what's next and why making videos is important; his answers are down there as well.
Kiernan Maletsky: Finish this sentence: "My career will be a success if..."
Jonezy: To finish your sentence: My career is already a success from an existential perspective, meaning that the experiences I've had and relationships I've built, and the genuine fans I've gained, make it all worth it to me.
However, to answer the real underlying question of my music being a commercial success, I definitely haven't ruled out the possibility. Commercial success can mean many things. These days you see indie artists turning down major label offers because they have built such successful empires on their own. Social media and satellite/internet radio is huge for the indie musician. In other parts of the country, people listen to a lot more independent music. I'd like to see more of that in St. Louis, especially since there's so much great talent. So, my career would be a major success if I were able to make a comfortable living, just doing music.
Why did you decide to do this video on your own?
In the process of marketing myself and doing a lot of my own promo, I've taken a liking to Photoshop. I like doing graphic art, so I decided to take it one step further and try my hand in video production. I really just wanted to see what I could do with no prior experience, and the song pretty much dictates the storyline, so I figured this was a great one to start with.
I enjoyed making this video, and hope people get a sense of who I am. I decided to do this one on my own because a lot of the necessary footage was so organic, because it's my everyday life, and required very little assistance. Mr. Blair and Loose Screwz (Civil Ape) are personal friends of mine, and people I work with regularly. The videos I'm doing with them are sure to be amazing. Myself and Screwz are also doing an EP entitled The Daywalkers -- which takes the day-job/monotonous theme and puts a zombie twist on it. That's gonna be ridiculous.
Why do you think it's important for independent artists to make music videos?
So many people are discovered on YouTube, and not just for music. It also allows music to be doubly entertaining, because of the visuals. If a video goes viral, or gets a ton of hits, that could springboard the artist to a whole different level. Locally, this makes me think of Prince Ea. He is a very talented emcee but doesn't have an album, or too many actual songs, he's just a beast on Youtube and as a result has gained national recognition.