TellemJoness and Shalom share ‘Modern Nostalgia’ three-pack

Modern Nostalgia
Modern Nostalgia
Artwork by Noah Catalan

When TellemJoness and Shalom first linked up to record “Fade Away,” they never knew it would lead to a project. The two Cincinnati natives – Joness, a local hip hop staple, and Shalom, a budding star – had been fans of each other’s for a while, and the chemistry in their intertwined voices was just too good to pass up. 

“’Fade Away’ was just gonna be a collaboration. I would do a verse or whatever, maybe be on the hook. So, we did that and Shalom was like, ‘Joness, do you think you could hop on this other song too?’ And ‘Divine Council’ happened,” Joness says. “So, we were like, ‘We should release this as a project.’”

A few recording sessions later in Joness’ home studio, and the pair had created Modern Nostalgia – an atmospheric three-pack including “Fade Away,” “God Like,” and “Divine Council.”

It’s also Shalom’s debut project. “It’s been a long time coming,” Shalom reflects. The duo first joined forces officially in 2019 on Papa Gora’s single, “Mayday.” Working on building his own catalogue, Shalom approached Joness about featuring her on a song while at Cincinnati’s Elementz

“I’ve always been a fan of Joness,” he tells Audiofemme. “I met her at a poetry slam called Speak… and being exposed to those creatives in the city motivated me to do something of my own.”

TellemJoness added, “I’ve known him for years as a poet and an activist in the community – so, a very kindred spirit, but he’s nice with some flows, too.”

“I think we both resonate with the sonic vibe of the project because we’re both poets,” she continued. “I know my power is in my words; my relationship with words and how I use them and string them together. And that’s important to him as well. So, the content, the things that we talk about in the three songs – it’s heavy.”

The emcees discuss religion, spirituality, and provide commentary on society as a whole, though you’ll have to listen to the project a few times through to truly get the deeper meanings; it’s easy to be swept up in the dreaminess of Joness’ and Shalom’s vocals. 

“The things we talk about in ‘Fade Away,’ ‘God Like,’ and ‘Divine Council,’ they’re all – for lack of a better word – trendy things,” says Joness. “Like, people talk about their spiritual journeys, exalting women – as we should be, because we do so much but get credit for so little – and getting rid of negativity, keeping positive auras. But where we’re coming from on these tracks are not necessarily trendy places – they come from a place of healing for us. We kind of flipped these trends on their head and presented them in a different way.”

Photo by: The Content Girl 

“All of the messages that we have intertwined in the songs, it was important for us to shine a light on those things and speak honestly,” Shalom adds. “And we wanted to make sure our sound was fluid, which I think came pretty natural.”

The artists’ conscientious bars are underscored by celestial production, courtesy of Pxvce. The effort was also engineered by Joness and mixed and mastered by GrandAce. With their first collaborative project out, Joness and Shalom are now working on their solo endeavors – though they’re open to working together again in the future. 

“I think we kind of set a standard with this,” Shalom says. “We could create a Modern Nostalgia Part 2. So, we’ll see what happens.” 

Joness is currently readying her debut studio album P.O.L.R., which was delayed last year due to the pandemic. “Now that [Modern Nostalgia] is out, I’m even more inspired,” she says. “I’m so grateful for Shalom. He’s an example of if he wants to do something, he’s gonna go do it.”

Follow TellemJoness on Instagram for ongoing updates.

JayBee Lamahj Brings The PHONK to Bittersweet LP Nostalgie Supreme

JayBee Lamahj serves up the bittersweet taste of nostalgia on his third studio album, Nostalgie Supreme. Using dreamlike and jazz-tinged production – courtesy of his PHONK bandmates Amari Emàn, Roberto, and others – the rapper thoughtfully and effectively captures his past, while offering a hopeful, triumphant gaze into his future.

“From this project, I want people to take away just an appreciation of their life,” Lamahj says over the phone. “Also, in regard to what’s been going on in the world right now, just an accountability and respect for life and our relationships.”

From the album’s invigorating opener, “WAKE UP,” to the reflective anchor track, “All Growed Up,” Lamahj explores themes of self-growth, love, and childhood. After listening, he says he hopes fans will be inspired to reconnect with their “inner child” and rediscover “the things that brought them happiness when they were small.”

“I want people to be proud of how far they’ve come and be proud of how far they’re willing to go [to get to] where they wanna be,” he adds. “I want people to hopefully feel happy about where they’re heading, because I do. That’s kind of what this album is celebrating; it’s just the growth that comes with life, the loss that comes with life, and the love that comes with life.”

Lamahj’s self-growth, childhood, and future were clearly on his mind two years ago, when he and Emàn began recording Nostalgie Supreme. However, the album’s themes mean even more to him today, as next month the rapper and his partner will welcome their first child together.

“In the midst of [making] this album, me and my lady lost a child, so there’s a little bit of talk about that [on the record],” he says. “There’s also lines like, ‘Nostalgia got me missing things I probably won’t feel ’til I have a mini-me.’ That’s the opening line of the outro [song], and I recorded that last summer. And here we are now; my album’s dropping like a month before my first-born. So, it’s cool to see my words catch up to me.”

JayBee Lamahj
Photo by Mandy Di Salvo

Besides Emàn and Roberto, Nostalgie Supreme also features several other local talents, including Joness and NTRL WNDRS on the breezy “Braids In Da Summa,” Perez on “Deep End,” F.A.M.E. and Phonz on “Angels,” The PHONK on the “BluuMile Interlude,” and Paris and F.A.M.E. on “3Ls.”

“There’s a lot of special people on the album,” Lamahj noted. 

Earlier this month, Lamahj also released his music video for album cut “Can’t Tell.” Directed by Cincinnati-based NTNK Productions, the clip finds the rapper starring as a funky substitute teacher. 

Nostalgie Supreme follows Lamahj’s 2017 debut, Yllwbrkrd, and his sophomore effort, 2018’s Phonk Phoever. In the meantime, Lamahj kept fans fed this year with his Nostalgie Prelude Deluxe Edition – an offering of loosies that he made during the Nostalgie Supreme recording sessions. 

“It’s a taste of what was being made in the process,” he explains. “You know, we created a lot of music, besides just the album.”

Now that Nostalgie Supreme is here, Lamahj can’t wait to perform it. The rapper and his band, The PHONK, were able to play the album all the way through at Nostalgia Wine over the weekend, marking the group’s first in-person performance since February.

“I’ve been dying to get back out there!” he exclaims. “I’ve been missing performing. As soon as we’re able to perform again, we’re gonna be out there like six days a week.” 

Follow JayBee Lamahj and The PHONK on Instagram for ongoing updates.

Joness Discusses Upcoming Debut P.O.L.R.

Joness / P.O.L.R.

Joness / P.O.L.R.

Cincinnati’s Joness is gearing up to release her debut studio album, P.O.L.R. The record’s title stands for Path Of Least Resistance and is expected out this fall.

“It’s really touching on the idea of polarity,” the Cincy-based singer/rapper tells Audiofemme. “There’s the saying that opposites attract, and when you think of magnets, something on the south pole is attracted to something on the north pole, which means that each of those ends has something that the other needs.”

Like the invisible draw between magnets, Joness says her album is about embracing life’s own guiding forces, instead of relying on her predisposition toward calculated decision-making.

“Over the past couple of years, I have been going through some things, personally, where I’ve been very resistant to change and the things that are calling me,” she continues. “This album is me [saying], let’s try something different. Let’s try to just let things flow and see what I become attracted to and what gravitates toward me. It touches on love lost, newfound love gained, and various areas of growth that I have seen, and me adopting this new way of existing.”

While she plots P.O.L.R.’s forthcoming rollout, Joness plans to drop new music consistently throughout the next few months. Most recently, she delivered her single “Play.”

P.O.L.R. will follow Joness’ six-track Sheep EP, which she dropped last year. Song-by-song, the project mimicked the stages of intoxication, amounting to a powerful story about the throes of addiction.

“At that time, I was pretty deep in my addiction,” Joness says of recording Sheep. “So that started off as one thing and ended up as a form of therapy; I kind of needed to put that out there.”

While Sheep found Joness in the midst of the struggles she rapped about, P.O.L.R. offers an opportunity for her to reflect on her own – and others’ – experiences.  So far, P.O.L.R. is set to feature production from Internet Boy, Devin Burgess, and more, and will find the artist flexing her vocal range, as well as delivering skillful raps.

“All of my music is therapeutic; it’s one of my favorite forms of release,” she says of Sheep and P.O.L.R. “But I think the magnitude that Sheep held within me is not as heavy [as P.O.L.R.]. With P.O.L.R., I can take the hindsight view… There’s still some songs on there where I’m kinda still working on this, kinda still healing through that, but for the most part, I’ve already come out of it.”

PLAYING CINCY: Joness Releases Intoxicating New EP Sheep

Joness / Sheep

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.”

Joness / Sheep
Joness / Photo by Kodak K.

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.

PLAYING CINCY: Hip Hop Showcase Brings Out Cincinnati Talents

hip hop

Dayo Flow at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati rounded up some of the city’s top-rated hip hop acts. The evening showcased headliners Dayo Gold and Eb&Flow, singer Joness, Kelby Savage, Devin Burgess and more.

hip hop
Freestyling underway at Dayo Flow. Photos by Victoria Moorwood.

The show started out with some playful freestyling, where rappers and artists in the crowd were welcomed on stage. Kelby Savage started off the individual performances. His most recent production appeared on Big18foot’s Hogwash, which came out earlier this year.

K. Savage, hip hop
Kelby Savage at Dayo Flow.

R&B singer Joness opened up her acoustic set talking and joking with the crowd. Her debut EP, Rule Number 9, came out in 2017 and will be followed up Thursday by her forthcoming album, Sheep: An Extended Play, produced by Joey Thomas.

Joness/ hip hop
Joness performing at Urban Artifact.

Emcees Dayo Gold and Eb&Flow and producer/ rapper Devin Burgess ended the night on a high. Eb&Flow’s 6-song EP, Sympathetic.Audience.Control, came out last month. He and Dayo Gold collaborated on “Dayo Flow” in 2017.

hip hop
Dayo Gold, Eb&Flow.

Dayo Gold released two singles, “Twang” and “Came Up” late last year, while Devin Burgess, clearly out of retirement, bopped some singles off his 2018 album, Trash.