“Making it” is relative. Whether you’re in the arts, business or whatever else, there often are expectations and measurements that serve to tell those participating where they stand amongst the larger context of their peers. In a homogenized world of social media and tastemakers, “making it” can become a one lane street in many people’s minds. Whereas it’s nice to exist as the Kendrick’s, Post Malone’s etc, there’s a need of many shades of artist. Therefore, “making it” can look like a lot of things, in fact, it can most definitely look like Chicago’s own Rich Jones who returned this week with a new full-length, The Shoulder You Lean On.
For an artist who’s existed on the city’s underground for more than a decade and was last year voted as The Chicago Reader’s No. 2 Rapper in Chicago, just behind Chance The Rapper who would go on to win three Grammy’s. For his part, Jones has benefitted greatly from a renewed focus taken on a couple years back. That time, a penchant for traveling the country to find creative inspiration and the inevitability of putting all the parts together have resulted in a nice run. So much so, that he’s been riding the wave and had actually been expecting to get this full-length out after the new year. Luckily, he packed up his arsenal and had to unload something or be labeled a hoarder. Thus, we have a beautiful, sonically evolving project from one of the city’s most consistent voices in The Shoulder You Lean On. The always-amazing Kiara Lanier offers her sinewy vocals on “I’m In Deep” and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya on “Dreaming” which are the lone features outside of producer J.Kelr who handles backing throughout. I was going to write more on this, but you get the point and plus, we talked all about it last night. Check out the project above, interview below and much more coming from Mild Sauce and Rich Jones soon.