Indy’s own Oreo Jones is an artist that hadn’t really caught my ear in the past, but that’s not because he isn’t a talented rapper. I have a tendency to overlook a lot of local hip hop because of the scene’s lack presence on the national stage, but Oreo’s debut LP Betty has the potential to change all of that. “Frankie”, “Needy”, and “Joseph Kittinger Wings” are probably the three best, straightforward rap songs on Betty, yet they don’t sound anything alike, a testament to Jones’ ability to shift his style and his flow at will. “Joseph Kittinger Wings” is a particular favorite because of the obscure name-drop in the track’s title (see Wikipedia) and the fact that Oreo raps like a long, lost member of De La Soul.
Oreo Jones has been hit with the “party rap” label in the past, but it sounds like a label he’s attempting to shed. The album’s varied production might be a little too quirky for my taste at times, but Oreo Jones’ artistic focus is clear. “Rotate” is the last song on Betty, but it feels like the album’s emotional core with its revealing, introspective verses. My favorite song on Betty though is Jones’ self-produced banger “Burnt Circle”. The track’s buzzing reverb and hard hitting drums fit Oreo’s booming delivery perfectly and make you wonder why he didn’t make the track longer and why he doesn’t make more of his own beats. The deluxe version of Betty comes with 4 bonus tracks including the amazing “The Rifle”, a heartbreaking song about a boyfriend of Jones’ mother. Betty is easily Oreo Jones’ most ambitious project to this point and should expose him to a much larger audience. Stream and download the album below and get familiar with one of the best young musicians that Indianapolis has to offer.
Written by John Bugbee
The stars appear to be aligning for Indianapolis rapper Oreo Jones. Fresh off his selection as Indy’s best rapper in NUVO’s Best of Indy poll, today Jones released the debut single from his forthcoming LP Betty, due to drop via local label Rad Summer on September 4. Always a skillful MC, Jones’ rhymes often underscore his acerbic wit and wry sense of humor. “Needy” takes care of business first and jokes second, hitting listeners with a more serious, no nonsense approach. This makes sense given Jones’ confession via Twitter that the track was inked following the theft of his lap top, an earth shattering blow to any DIY artist.
The video, shot at DOPE Couture, features Jones performing alongside Freddie Bunz and DJ Action Jackson for an intimate crowd that includes fellow Rad Summer labelmate Andy D. The track’s producer J. Brookinz looks content, head-bobbing and half-smiling, as he watches the song unfold in live time. If “Needy” is any indication of Betty‘s strength as a whole, consider my breath officially bated.
Written by Rob Peoni