Continuous Growth: An NMR Chat With Jon Hope


Throughout the years, we’ve seen Hip-Hop culture and Rap music change so much; from the sound, to the clothing, to the overall energy circulated between artists, fans, and creatives of all types. Those like myself, who have dedicated much of their personal and professional time to the culture for nearly a decade a more, have seen it evolve in ways my childhood self couldn’t even imagine. For better or worse, some of us are part of it. We can’t explain what it is that keeps us locked in after all this time. Beyond the ridiculousness of every subculture trend that comes about for a brief amount of time, there’s a wide-eyed curiosity of just how much can this hybrid of musical exuberance influence the world that birthed it? Which is why we stay committed to being part of it, through thick and thin.

Jon Hope is one of those talents that just makes your soul feel reassured after taking a listen to his work. He offers up that traditional storied glory in his artistry. His sound is a reminder of where this all came from and how much work is still needed to be done in order to truly have a socioeconomic impact on those who feel their voice just still doesn’t get heard amidst the stockpile of problems our society continues to overlook and has yet to come close to find resolutions for. Its for this reason artists like him are so important, because hip-hop/rap is about more than just self-confidence, materialism, and misplaced pride. Its about real life. So I hit up Jon for a brief online chat, to pick his brain a little bit, and hopefully offer myself and others a deeper understanding of what its like to maintain so much humility in a world filled to the brim with arrogance and unnecessary rivalry.  To keep things true to the original chat, I did no editing and just left any typos & autocorrects.

After a brief greeting exchange we begin the interview in a Google Hangouts chat session.

G (NMR)

So, tell the readers, Where you’re from & How long you been making music?

Jon Hope

Whats up world! Im from a tiny state in New England known as Rhode Island, Providence to be exact and I’ve been making music for well over 10 years sharing my art

G (NMR)

10 year is a minute man. Hows it feel seeing things change as they have in the industry? How has it affected you as a person & artist? What if any goals of yours have changed?
*10 years

Jon Hope

Its been quite the ride as an artist. As I reflect I think the change of the tide has caused a number of different emotions ranging from pure love and affinity to outright disgust to depression to security with self. Ironically the music depends on these emotions to create the best possible product

One of my strongest attributes is that I embrace new and not rest on my laurels or past glory. I find my niche and cater to what my fans want from me3:47 PM
I see alot of my peers get side tracked by nostalgia and feel they can only thrive in a time when it truly benefited them (mid 2000’s or ’90s) ..and I think thats lazy and a cop out. If you dope you dope

G (NMR)

I definitely feel that.

Jon Hope

I live in the present.

G (NMR)

no doubt. That’s what its all about. So what pushes you still make music after all this time?

Jon Hope

my best song has been written yet
i really believe that
thats what pushes me to create
i have a real passion for hip hop
im the grown ass man who still raps in the mirror like im 15 with my brush as a microphone
as long as I operate from that touch point …I dont see my self stopping

G (NMR)

Lmao that’s awesome man. That’s how it should be though. Music reignites that childlike yearn to get our feelings out there.

Jon Hope

haha you feeeel me

G (NMR)

Switching gears a lil bit; do you engage in any kind of spiritual practice? Meditation? Yoga? Etc. Would u? Why or Why not?

Jon Hope

good question…I dont do anything formally but I do find spaces and opportunity to be still in silence. Like I will carve out a few minutes in the car to just chill. No radio. Just silence3
I think its important to hear myself and listen actively
helps inform how I approach people, places, and things

After a brief break due to my bunk ass Time Warner “high speed” internet going out, we return to the chat session.

G (NMR)

Looks like its back on again, u still good? Got 6 questions left.

Jon Hope

word

G (NMR)

So, do you think music can change the world?

Jon Hope

100%
no doubt in my mind

G (NMR)

same, lol.

Jon Hope

sounds so grand but really it can change the dynamic of a personal relationship between two people who probably otherwise wouldve never encountered one another
economically and socially it breaks walls down

G (NMR)

I couldn’t have said it better.
So, what should a potential fan expect from your music when deciding to press play on one of your records? Why follow you on social media?

Jon Hope

you hear my perspective on the world which is very honest and unpopular at times. Thats the kind thing that will hopefully improve your outlook
im getting better witth social media. I feel like i own my voice now. Its cler and definitive so that helps with the stuff I share
clear*

G (NMR)

I heart that.
Next question, what, if anything would you like to see change in the music industry?
*heard that

Jon Hope

i really dont like the generational divide thats happening. and I really really hate the drug and rape culture thats going on. Shit is wack…We need to be more self critical of hip hop when these things happen…Hip Hop is old enough now where we should be correcting our mistakes

G (NMR)

I couldn’t agree more man. Glad that’s an issue that you feel deeply about. It seems to concern a lot more ppl than folks realize.
K, so last leg of the interview, we’ll dig just a tad bit deeper for these last 3 questions.
What kind of goals have you set for yourself as an artist, with all you know now?

Jon Hope

I want to use the music to create more opportunities.
im now a college professor
teaching a hip hop inspired course
im writing scripts

G (NMR)

oh wow, that’s awesome man!

Jon Hope

art directing for other artists
all off the music as the foundation

G (NMR)

That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what music really is about beyond all the material wishes and aspirations of outlandish fame, lol.
So, what’s something you’d wish someone would’ve told you when you first started making music? Something you’d go back and tell yourself if you could.

Jon Hope

i wish i wouldve loved the journey more
the journey is the win
when i started i put waaaaay too muh emphasis on outside influences for validation
i.e. blogs, djs, so called execs

G (NMR)

“so called execs” lol. I like that.

Jon Hope

i wish i had adopted my i dont give a fuck attitude from the jump
haha

G (NMR)

Yeah that’s how I feel too, lol.

Jon Hope

lol
my man

G (NMR)

So last question, I know you said you’re a college professor now, which is incredible; but besides that, If you could do anything else besides music, what would u do?

Jon Hope

i think id be a host. I think Sway has the best position in the game

G (NMR)

Guess that’ll be next then, lol.

Jon Hope

facts

G (NMR)

So man that’s pretty much it, if there’s anything else you’d like to add feel free to, current album plugs, future projects, you know.

Jon Hope

Savage Beauty is available now! haha..Enjoy

G (NMR)

Listened to it 3x and still not done digesting it, lol.
Well I appreciate it brother. Really great chatting with you man. Glad to see you doing so many great things. We’ll def have to do this again sometime.

Jon Hope

thank you man..really appreciate the opportunity
for sure

G (NMR)

One love bro, Peace.

*End Chat*

Truth be told, I could’ve easily chatted for another hour with more questions for Jon. He has become not only one of my favorite artists in hip-hop, underground or mainstream, but one of my favorite people in music to have the blessed opportunity to be connected to. His approach to life and music is so humble, so down to earth, so free of over-indulgent narcism and delinquent attitude, but then again, he is a grown ass adult, doing adult things, leading an adult life. Honestly that’s what I’d wish I’d see with more artists. While I’m no one to judge someone’s character without truly knowing them, it really is reassuring to meet artists & creatives that don’t need to pretend to so much and are comfortable just being themselves. Check out more of Jon Hope’s music at JonHopeMusic.com & stream #SavageBeauty below.

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