Ryshon Jones – “Joymance” (Stereogum Premiere)

If writing a song is like doing a math problem, then maybe the longer it takes to figure out, the happier you’ll be when you find the answer. Ryshon Jones has been working on his forthcoming album You’re Safe Now for two years, starting and restarting about 30 times in the process. Throughout that stop-start process, the young Philly-based rapper has managed to put together an album with a unique focal point of inspiration.

Jones cites the album’s core influence as “the feeling of allowing yourself to get lost to get in touch with your inner world, and learning the cycle of the ups and downs most of us face but never tell anyone.” The idea for “Joymance” was incepted nearly four years ago, but Jones “couldn’t find the words for it until a few situations in life happened that brought it out of [him].” In light of all of this, the rapper’s uniquely contemplative perspective and patient process yield an equally stand-out result; it seems as though the end product was shaped more so by the what Jones learned in the process of making it than anything.

Given the current climate of mainstream rap and hip-hop, taking your time in order to produce exactly the kind of work that you want is not an easy decision to make. With artists like Future and Young Thug dominating the scene, the lines between albums and mixtapes have become increasingly blurred. Even pop acts like Kero Kero Bonito don’t want to be tied down to having to release full-fledged albums, because at the end of the day, all you have to do is look at the disparity of listens between an artist’s singles and the rest of their album in order to see that audience’s attention spans are growing steadily shorter. Not to go all Childish Gambino right now, but people expect a constant stream of catchy content. To go against the status quo as an emerging artist is definitely a risk. But maybe by being willing to take times to create a body of work that is aware of itself, evoking and complete in its goals, Jones has found a way to make something that will stick. Listen below.

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