Cincinnati-based artist Joness flexes her ability to jump back and forth from bouncy bars to hard-hitting vocal ranges as she intertwines classic hip hop sound with an R&B style on her new EP, Sheep.
Joness first hit the scene with her debut EP, Rule Number 9, following it up last week with Sheep: An Extended Play. The EP carries the listener through the internal stages of drinking – the shedding of inhibitions, the slurred words, the inner ‘wolf’ that comes out to play and ultimately making peace with the sometimes regrettable hazy memories. It’s as much a drinker’s inner monologue as it is a public display of Joness’ sonic maturation. While relatively new to Cincinnati, she was heard on several albums last year and this EP marks her coming into her own and finding the balance between her own artistic sheep and wolf.
Joness was recently a guest on the Future Moguls podcast where she explained that the EP’s title is a symbolic play on the phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing.’
“Our sheep is that persona that we want people to think of us as, but we all have a wolf within us that we fight so hard to not let other people see that part of us,” she said. “Either because we haven’t come to terms with that darkness, or we’re not okay with how it makes us feel.”
The first track, “Waldo,” starts the party off. Joness raps over a fizzy beat with an energy that mimics the initial buzz. “Waldo” fades into “Composition 4,” which is where Joness gets to put her vocals on display. The boppy hip hop vibe from earlier drowns under an oncoming wave of R&B, from where Joness really thrives. Her inner drunk monologue is still having a good time, but “Composition 4” gets a little more introspectively dark.
“That’s kind of the context behind the EP,” Joness said on Future Moguls. “We all have an inner good or inner bad.”
The EP’s drama peaks at “Enterlube,” with dramatic bass-heavy production and Joness singing and rapping softy, almost eerily, over an ominous beat. Her speech becomes mumbled and her lyrics get distracted – also marking the peak of intoxication.
Sheep ends on a positive note with “Sweat,” featuring Cincy artist Muwosi. Joness again flexes her rhythmic flow and raps rays of sunshine, signifying the storm from the middle of the EP has passed.
As an artist who’s currently central to the Cincinnati scene, Joness’ long-awaited EP does not disappoint. She recently performed Sheep alongside an all-female set list at the No Cool Kids Allowed ‘Queens’ show. Vibe out to her latest offering and don’t be afraid to find your own inner wolf and sheep.