Rich Jones is a connoisseur of kicking it. The Chicago hip-hop artist came to local prominence about a decade ago with soulful, traditional rap, often singing his hooks. Over the years since, he’s kept his roots firmly planted in Chicago hip-hop while morphing into a widely loved balladeer. Jones has the air of a motivational speaker in his hazy, well-traveled verses, and he’s an epicurean too—a roving foodie who makes music on his adventures. His projects have a bon vivant quality about them, even when they lean sad and pensive.
In October 2022, Jones was on holiday in the Pacific Northwest when he teamed up with Thaddeus Gincig, aka Goldenbeets, a Portland producer and wine-and-mood enthusiast whose tracks combine pretty samples with drums that honor J Dilla and allow plenty of space for intentional lyrics. (His 2021 album Sommelier is instrumental gold.) The duo’s new collaborative EP, It Is Decidedly So, is the product of what Goldenbeets described on Twitter as “kicking it and having a great time with a friend.” And indeed the record is chill and joyous. “Slurricane” has a staccato snare, twinkling piano, and a sweet sampled vocal melody that together create a fluffy backdrop for Jones’s thoughtful crooning. Chicago treasure GreenSllime upgrades the stony microdosed track “Hasheesh” with a shot of humor and a hilarious hook. “The Sting” closes the EP with maturity and self-love, as Jones declares, “I waited three decades and change to finally be OK with me.” Jones’s gifts are abundant and he knows it. And his music, like any great merlot, gets better with age.
Rich Jones & Goldenbeets’s It Is Decidedly So is available through Bandcamp.
Rich Jones opens for Skech185 at the Empty Bottle on Thu 3/9.