Since the release of Rap Album One in 2013 via the iconic Stones Throw label, the California emcee and producer has amassed a cult following through his impressive wordplay, musical versatility and a potent mix of wit and humility.
A clear descendant of Aesop Rock’s introspective take on verbal mastery, Jonwayne has clung to music since a young age as a means of coping with life’s endless supply of curveballs and insecurities. As much as a troubled soul makes for a captivating artist, the production of that art and the struggles that breed it often become a cyclical beast that can swallow an artist whole if they don’t properly care for themselves.
For some time, that was the reality Jonwayne lived. In an open letter posted to his Facebook in December of last year, the artist detailed his struggles with alcoholism as a means of coping with his issues and chronicled the hardships of his road to sobriety.
In the end, it was music that was there for Jonwayne through it all—the loss of friends, the struggle of addiction, the harsh reality of relearning to live without the aid of an external crutch, and in that presence he regained inspiration.
Today (January 19), Jonwayne released “Out Of Sight,” the first single off his freshly announced Rap Album Two, due out February 17.
“Out Of Sight” is an intimate affair, oozing with the sort of earnest brilliance that can only be attained once on the other side of extreme turmoil. Jonwayne is painfully self-aware and honest on the track, and according to a tweet from the rapper, Rap Album Two is as much a personal exorcism as it is a musical offering to his hungry fans.
There’s a universal thread to Jonwayne’s recent struggles and his realization of music as his ultimate therapy that makes “Out of Sight” resonate on such a deep level. I’m confident I’m not the only one that’s sat crying in their car to the tune of that one track that just hits you, and anytime I’m able to escape my daily hardships for an hour while I write a piece like this is a blessing I don’t take lightly.
You’re probably reading this because you care about music on a level deeper than rhythms and chords. You’ve undoubtedly had that moment where music picked you up from your deepest depths and coddled you to a more bearable headspace.
That’s the true power of music, and it’s artists like Jonwayne with offerings like "Out Of Sight" that so elegantly remind us of that power.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Twitter