Fortunately for hip-hop, there are many talented, young rappers creating music today who are energizing the genre with new perspectives and fresh lyrics. While this year’s collection of burgeoning MCs seems to be growing at a faster rate, few seem prepared to make the transition from budding rapper to well-rounded artist. Topaz Jones is one of those exceptions. His consistent flow of impressive, high-quality releases over the past few months in preparation for his recent debut The Honeymoon Suite indicate that he’s not only a skilled lyricist but that he’s also becoming a versatile musician who’s poised to impact the industry in a meaningful way.—B.Rob
Standout: “Coping Mechanism”
Also check out: “Gasping for Breath”
And: “Divas At The Disco”
Name: Topaz Jones
Hometown: New Jersey
I grew up listening to: Well, I grew up in a musical household. My father, uncles and aunts were all musicians. My father was in some funk bands in the 70′s and 80′s that were pretty popular. My aunts used to be in a development group at Motown. We always had a lot of funk and soul playing around the house along with psychedelic rock. I was into Jimmy Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, AC/DC and then I started to come into my own. It moved into Ray Charles and Michael Jackson then into more hip-hop. I started to listen to a lot of OutKast. That was definitely a big group for me and so was a Tribe Called Quest. Kanye West was in that main group.
Most people don’t know I: Make my own beats… and I used to dress up like Batman as a kid and actually believed I was going to be him [Laughs]. I really thought it was a career path that I could go down.
My style’s been compared to: A lot of people say that I’m like the black Bon Jovi. I try to stray away from the rapper comparisons because it limits you to put yourself in the lane of someone else. I am inspired by a lot of the greats of the past to people in the the Native Tongues era to more of the early Roc-A-Fella era. While I’m definitely very influenced by them, what I’m working on creatively is a style and a vibe and space that’s all my own.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: “Coping Mechanism.” I think that video impacted people because it showed the degree of seriousness that I approach all of my music with. From the single art or the album art to the videos, visuals, and sonically it’s all stemming from an idea of mine or someone within my team . I have a team of people who approach this from a holistic stand point. It’s not just about putting out good songs—we’re thinking about what can accompany the music.
My goal in Hip-Hop is: I don’t know if I necessarily have a goal in hip hop because I stumbled into it. I originally started writing r&b and funk songs and that was when I was 7/8. As I worked on those, I became confident in my songs and I moved to rap. I found rap to be a challenging because there was a lot more lyrics to write. One verse of a hip hop song is like a whole song in another genre so I think it just challenged me to write more and be more descriptive… I never intended for my music to stay within one genre. I still intend to branch out and do music that’s influenced by all walks of life and genres because I’m not someone who mainly listens to one sound.
My goal for music is to make an impact on the world in terms of having people be able say “I was feeling this way and this song made me feel better” or “it helped me understand things that way”… I think there are people who make music for themselves and people who make music for others. I want to make music for others—not from a standpoint of trying to sell the most records but from the standpoint of trying to reach the most people.
I’m gonna be the next: That’s a set up question! [Laughs]. Everyone answers that the same –“I’m not the next anybody! I’m the first me!” [Laughs]. I think that I’m the next ..I dont want get to “Yeezus” on this one [Laughs]. I think I’m the next transcendental rapper. That’s just what it is.