Cash For Gold LP (Black Vinyl)
Oreo Jones is that pair of Air Jordans too scuffed up to wear in public, but you do it anyway because they still feel right. Hailing from Indianapolis, Jones' footprints are all over Midwest hip-hop. And in a sea of bleak imitation and style, Jones is a beautiful yacht confidently gliding to his destination, telling stories that demand ears.
Indy has known this forever. But with Cash for Gold, his latest and most fully realized release,everyone else will, too.
But let's start at the beginning. Jones cut his teeth on hardcore and punk rock in small town Indiana before he delved into hip-hop. "DIY shows and culture have always been apart of my life so I feel obligated to treat my music with the same energy,” he says. Those shows draw massive crowds in Indianapolis – and they're not just full of hip-hop fans. Jones tops bills with some of the scuzziest psych rockers and most blissed-out electronic noisemakers Indianapolis has to offer. So, he did what anyone with an experimental approach to hip-hop would do: he brought them with him on his new record. From We Are Hex's Jilly Weiss (vocals on “Murder Shrine Ballons”), KO (vocals on “Menagerie”), and Shame Thugs' Miss Mess (vocals on “35MM”), Jones' open mind for sound is obvious. From Iggy Pop to Big L to John Maus, his palate is always shifting.
But don't doubt his allegiance to pure hip-hop. Jones spent most of 2015 organizing the biggest single-day hip-hop festival ever to occur in the state of Indiana, Chreece. Headlined by Mick Jenkins and rounded out with 70 rappers, producers and DJs, Chreece united the city for a single perfect day. Masterminded by Jones and executed by a huge committee of volunteers, the fest took over the entirety of Fountain Square, the Indy neighborhood that's provided Jones with creative inspiration and a supportive musicial community.
Jones wrapped Cash for Gold right before Chreece, but the writing started more than a year before. He honed some of the songs while on the road with Indy hip-hop collective GhostGunSummer, spiraling through Florida, the South and East Coasts a handful of times in the last three years. He brought back something with him from those tours. Sand, salt and sunlight flood Cash for Gold.
So let's talk about the record: Cash For Gold is a new saga full of vibrant sounds that tell stories of wealth found in the darkest places. It's hoodrich, and Jones is Carravaggio. It's dripping in precious metal, sprinkled with gold dust. It's classically trained. It's caviar dreams and wine drunk. It's riches that can't be measured. It's all real life – almost.
“My life through music has evolved, and I feel like the wealthiest man when I have been given the opportunity to see the country and experience very amazing things through my art,” Jones says.
Jones tapped GhostGunSummer tour partners Sirius Blvck and John Stamps for features on Cash for Gold, plus grabbed production assists by Harry Otaku, Dylan Prevails, Privilege, Teddy Panzer, Bones of Ghosts, Sedcairn Archives and Landon Caldwell (Burnt Ones, Creeping Pink). He also added something new to this record that didn't dominate any of his previous releases: his own singing voice. It's just as dizzying as his flow: you're carried away by the waves in “Swan Song,” bouyed by the ayes and ahhs in “Fhloston Paradise”; lured into a nostalgic daydream by “Coogi Sweater.” But don't think Cash for Gold doesn't touch on real life. Gun violence, poverty, spiritualism and – the most dangerous thing of all – love wind their way through this record.
Jones brought his 35mm camera on tour to capture shots of life on the road. He'll publish a photo zine, printed through Nighted Out of Oakland, California, featuring selections from those rolls of film, along with golden cassette tapes issued by Indy label Holy Infinite Freedom Revival.
"You've gathered by now that Jones keeps a busy schedule. In between cutting Cash for Gold and touring the US seven times, he organized and hosted two seasons of his public access variety show Let's Do Lunch, showcasing rising chefs (including James Beard Award semifinalist Jonathan Brooks); conceptual artists (like muralist art collective The Droops) and musicians (including many featured on this record). He put together a record (forthcoming) with his band White Moms, plus popped up on features for a variety of other Midwest rappers. But despite this myriad of influences, experiences and activity, Oreo Jones manages to distill it all into a singular vision and art that is uniquely his own."