Ryshon Jones is hip-hop artist out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His interest in music started early, as he picked up on all the music his parents played while he was a child. From DMX to New Edition, Ryshon used to sing along to whatever he could. He started recording freestyles onto cassette tapes before assembling a mini studio in his bedroom. His storytelling and the vulnerability in his music has gained him press from VICE, Billboard, Ebony Magazine and many more publications. He’s currently working on a film and album, both called You’re Safe Now, which is set to be released in May 2017.
(Photo credit: Ryan Creighton)
It’s January 25, 2015 and I decide to hit up my high school crush — who is actually the reason I started writing songs about girls — because I’ve just found out that I’ve been added to the lineup of the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Flordia, at Soho Studios. The fest also features School Boy Q, Travis Scott and A$AP Ferg — just to name a few — and my ex-crush has the hookup at American Airlines, where she’s a flight attendant. Although our relationship didn’t work out — I wanted a girlfriend, she wanted to take my virginity — we had stayed in touch and she had told me to let her know if I ever needed a deal.
Although she’s excited for me at first, we somehow get into an argument over some miscommunication — she’s kind of an impulsive hothead. Her last words to me that day are, “FUCK OFF AND LOSE MY NUMBER!” If I had five dollars for every time she’s told me that since I’ve known her, I’d have enough to buy her some patience. Luckily, I have another friend who works at American Airlines, so later that day the flight is booked.
Being in another place for a music-related purpose is always a humbling time for me.
In my mind, this show is going to be the BEST EXPERIENCE EVER or just another performance. I have no one to travel to Miami with, so I end up going alone and sleeping on the floor in my friend Justin’s hotel room. He’s there to see the show. The floor is hard as fuck, but it’s convenient and saves me a lot of money.
Being in another place for a music-related purpose is always a humbling time for me; however, this time around is a little different. I’ve been dealing with a shift in my life mentally/emotionally and I’m also grappling with a recent breakup — as well as pressure from myself to complete my album. Not to mention dealing with issues with the people who’ve been helping me along the way with my music. I’m trying to figure out if these issues are real or if I’m taking things too personally. I do know that I feel alone and it’s been on and off for a while. I also kind of want to give up music in general. I’m starting to feel like there’s no real place for me here. I’m over industry parties; I don’t have it in me to be fake just to be cool with writers from popular blogs. I’m over people not fully understanding my lyrics. I’m over caring about lyrics when it seems that’s the last thing people actually care about now. To be honest, my tendency to want to quit is about as temperamental as Miami weather — so I’m probably where I need to be.
Just as the gates open for the show, a big rainstorm hits.
It’s February 28 and the day of the show has arrived. I take an Adderall because, knowing me, I’ll get social anxiety being alone at a big show and I want an edge. I find out that I’m performing on the outside stage headlined by Travis Scott and I have a decent set time. Just as the gates open for the show, a big rainstorm hits. Thousands of people scatter to find a place to hide and wait for the rain to stop. We all think, “Oh, OK, this is typical. It’ll stop in a few minutes.” The rain never stops, though, so they cancel the outside stage and I think to myself, “GOD, you’re such a comedian, bro.” Of course I get added to this show, only to come all the way out here to miss my chance. All my life I’ve dealt with fighting off pessimistic people, my parents for example. They aren’t bad parents; they just care about me and they don’t understand the risks I take pursuing music. I think subconsciously all of my rifts with them taught me to be prepared for the worst thing to happen in exciting situations.
At this point, I make my way inside to where the main stage is and decide to get drunk and enjoy watching the show — and possibly hook up with a girl before I leave the city. Just as I make these plans, Justin comes to me and says, “Yo, they just added you to the main stage. Where’s your music?” I hand him my flash drive and immediately text everyone I can think of to tell them what’s happening. I make my way backstage to a foggy room and I see School Boy Q, Action Bronson, Alchemist and too many others to name. I’m told I’m splitting thirty minutes with another artist, which is fine until that artist decides to take twenty-three minutes instead of fifteen. I’m not sure if he’s being a dick or if he has no clue, but all I know is I now have to make the best of this seven minutes.
It’s such a big crowd that it’s hard to make eye contact with anyone. The music starts and I notice the DJ is playing the wrong song. It’s an unreleased/untitled song I threw on my flash drive. This track has a two-minute intro, so now my seven minutes turns into five. It sucks because just as the audience is starting to feel me, I have to get offstage. Curren$y’s set is up next.
It was great to be in front of that many people, though, and some come up to me while I’m wandering around the venue and tell me, “Good shit, man.” Among the few people who come up to me is this ONE girl I specifically remember tweeting my music to for some time now. She tells me to come back to her hotel before I leave. One thing leads to another and I end up there.
I haven’t performed since that show, and I’m sure that sounds crazy.
We talk for a while and then sex becomes a topic and she tells me, “I’m on my period.” I reply, “Oh nah, then nothing is happening.” She replies, “A period doesn’t stop nothing but a sentence,” and here I am again calling God a comedian. I decide to leave and head back to where I’m staying. I end up just sitting on the bench outside Justin’s hotel and take a moment to myself. It has to be about 2 a.m. I actually doze off a bit on the bench and don’t go upstairs until about 6 a.m.
As I sat there, though, I was thinking about the show and life in general and trying to get a feel for where my mind was. I’m a very spiritual person, and I think me coming to Miami was God’s way of letting me get a taste of what I envision when I’m in my room rehearsing my songs — to let me know that this shit is possible, but that I need to step my work up.
I haven’t performed since that show, and I’m sure that sounds crazy. I’ve been hard at work on my new album, You’re Safe Now, challenging myself to make better songs and to have a great stage show. Who’s to say if I was even 100% ready back then to play a full set at that festival? What I do know is that challenges make the achievements better.
I also forgot to mention that my flight back to Philly got delayed for a day due to a storm. I ended up staying in the hotel lobby for a whole twenty-four hours until they kicked me out. The things you face while paying your dues, lol. They say it’s all about the journey.