A Conversation With Ajani Jones

Ajani Jones is someone who I first got familiar with roughly five years ago when he was just a small artist making dope music in the city, since that point, he has grown a tremendous amount as an artist + as a person. He has become one of the top tier young talents that are gaining notoriety in Chicago, he is the kind of artist who makes music that I consider food for thought, he creates with tons of passion + he takes his craft incredibly serious. These qualities are on display whenever he drops a new project or single because, in the handful of years I’ve been listening to him, he hasn’t missed yet. I interviewed Ajani a couple of years ago, but now that I am doing more on-camera interviews here at the Lyrical Lemonade headquarters in Chicago, I wanted to bring him by for another conversation + catch up with him. I had a good time chopping it up with Ajani, it’s the perfect interview to read/watch if you are a fan of him and even if you don’t know his material at all. Listen to some of his music, watch some of these clips + learn something about Ajani Jones by diving in below!

 

EM: Our last interview was in March of 2018, how has life changed for you since that point?

EM: How has quartine been for you?

EM: You released an excellent project last year titled Dragonfly, what was the creation process of that one like? What does that project mean to you?

AJ: That album is about Photosynthesis + just straight growth. It’s about the concept of coming out of your shell and being who you want to be in whatever you do. Cocoons was the precursor to that, then the next tape was all about moving forward, that was the goal of it.

EM: What has working with Closed Sessions been like?

EM: You attended the University Of Iowa, can you talk about that experience?

AJ: It was eye-opening. I don’t think I had much communication with white people up until that point, I was 18, I went to all-black schools growing up aside from one year when I attended Chicago Hope. When I went to that school and I saw twenty black people on campus and I was a needle in a haystack, I realized it was time for me to understand another side of life. There were different things about that school that made me realize what being black really was, not just seeing it on TV or in history books. I was able to see when Obama got re-elected and what that response was, conservative white kids, crying in the middle of the hallway, thinking the world was going to end. It just made me understand a lot more about race + what it means to people. It got to a point where the drinking + partying was boring, people felt fake, classes didn’t have value. Music was all that I could go to, to escape that. I was arrested for having some edibles in my car, I had a broken taillight and that gave me a misdemeanor that’s never going off my record. After that point, I stayed for a couple of months but they had my license plate on a list and they kept pulling me over all the time for no reason, at that point they treated me like a target.

My junior year I left Iowa, I knew that I was good on that.

EM: You’re super close with fellow CS mate BoatHouse, how has that relationship been over the years?

EM:  You’re song “Kiwi” is extremely melodic + uptempo, can we expect more of that sound from you?

AJ: I made that around the time I made “Black Power Ranger”, which is a super bouncy + EDM type of song. That song is over a year old but we just finished it now, we thought it’d be appropriate to release that to have people dance + be happy about something, everything has been so heavy and I didn’t want to keep that vibe the whole year.


EM: What’s your personal favorite song/video that you’ve created up to this point?

AJ: My favorite song that I have ever created has to be is “Under The Weather”. That was a tribute to Nipsey that I had created, he was my favorite rapper at the time that he passed. To was doing so much to spark change in the world, especially in his neighbor, showing how to be a leader + bring opportunities to the hood. For that to happen to him, it made so sad, it made me question if there’s any hope at all for artists to change the world. I was literally under the weather for days, I stayed in the house, as soon as I heard Boat make the beat, the lyrics just poured out of me. I will always remember that song because I didn’t even have to think about it, I made that song in ten minutes. I still get messages to this day from fans that love that song, especially people overseas.

My favorite music video I’ve created is “Bloom”, it was off of my Cocoons EP. But the way that Strpmll put it together was so dope, the whole thing was about coming out of your shell + not being scared. We always feel like we have this shadow behind us lurk, controlling things, it’s fear. They brought that song to life so well, there’s a portal that I am hesitating going through, but once I do, everything opens up.

EM: Your new song “Z” is amazing, how did that one come about?

AJ: I did an acid trip and I watched “The Lost City Of Z”, it’s a movie about an explorer who had heard about a city that hadn’t’ be conquered, no civilization. It’s a place that’s unknown to the world, and I kinda compared it to Alice In Wonderland, she goes to a place she’s never been before and sees crazy things that were unimaginable. That’s the approach I took with the song, “Z” represents something unknown, somewhere your imagination can take you. We all want to be grounded but it’s good to let your mind go some time.

EM: You have an EP coming out later this year, can you give the fans some information about that?

EM: What do you think is missing in the Chicago music community that would be a valuable resource for artists + creatives?

EM: Where do you see yourself in five years?