Yes, it’s January, and New Year’s is all about looking forward instead of looking back, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t open 2015 by drawing attention to the extremely dedicated work Paris Jones did in 2014.
The LA emcee dropped one EP per month last calendar year, an endeavor he undertook in order to “control [his] creativity instead of letting [his] creativity control [him],” and it all culminated in “December,” which Jones released via DJbooth.net on New Year’s Eve. The Booth also hosted the 11 other EPs the atmospheric rapper/producer managed to drop last year, and his polished LP “SHAKERS” will be premiering January 26 via Gumroad.
After 12 monthly teasers, Jones’ fans are more than ready to see how he sounds when he focuses on a singular project – even though “December” surely isn’t his most gripping entry.
“December” is mostly a toast to the year that was. “Thank You” is all in the name, as PJ goes through his liner notes to thank everyone involved in the Sufjan-esque effort. “Dream Songs” and “Sweet Nothings” are the only traditional rap songs to speak of – and both are fluid and flowing examples of Jones’ signature “free-form hip-hop” style.
“Shooting Stars,” which features Chris Sims and Erin (Erin?), is mostly instrumental, with some soothing vocals filling in the ethereal expanse of the track. It’s a serene ending to 365 days of hustle for Jones. “Farewell Negro Spiritual” wraps up the EP with a calming decrescendo. There’s an air of release – as if Jones is relaxing into an armchair after a long day’s work. If you were along for the journey, you melt into the outro with him. If you haven’t, you can relive each release as PJ’s vocals etherize towards the final note of his busy year.
It feels so refreshing to let go of 2014 (by all accounts a dumpster of a year) and begin 2015 with peace. But don’t count on Jones to slow down. The 12 EPs were merely a beginning, and hopefully we’ll hear a much more refined vision on “SHAKERS” this month.