Posted by J. Block | Posted in Justin's Archive | Posted on 28-01-2014
Tags: Interviews, New Music, The Honeymoon Suite, TMNJ, Topaz Jones
Outside of his apartment below Union Square, the sound of jackhammers, construction vehicles, and men at work rumbles on. But to call it an apartment wouldn’t feel right—it’s as close to a compound as one can attain on a student’s budget in Manhattan. With multiple levels connected by spiraling staircases, the compound houses Topaz Jones, along with other talented creatives—singers, producers, filmmakers—from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
Within, the sounds of men at work don’t rumble, but explode out of speakers, off the walls, and come to life. As the first track from Topaz’s latest album, The Honeymoon Suite, comes through the speakers, it’s clear that the Topaz Jones the world knows—the kid flowing over classic Thelonious Martin beats—is gone for now. By the last track, an incohesive but impressive splatter of prevailing popular sounds and rhythms has come out of Topaz’s work—nothing that anyone concerned with a more progressive take on hip-hop isn’t comfortable with. The Honeymoon Suite is as 2014 as a 2014 hip-hop can be with 2013 barely in the rearview mirror.
Within The Honeymoon Suite exists the paradox of wanting to show all the cards in terms of sonic range, but still remaining personally guarded for the benefit of future albums. Feelings about his parent’s divorce—a subject Topaz hadn’t touched on until now—came out on the melancholic “Nothing Lasts Forever,” but the album isn’t purely autobiographical. From a critical perspective, there are different takes in direction battling against each other to the detriment of the album as a whole, but not the individual tracks—each song represents another door, or “suite” to enter through and become immersed in. The Honeymoon Suite settles as more like a collection of songs rather than a true album, in the sense that albums are packaged and sequenced with a resolute—sometimes singular—thematic and sonic purpose in mind. Yet The Honeymoon Suite never attempted to fulfill that expectation in the first place.
After the album’s outro came to a close, Topaz sat down for a lengthy conversation to explain his beginnings, his growth over these past two years, and the approach and vision to his art.
Hit the jump to read on.