Jonah Cruzz can be described as Atlanta’s very own diamond in the rough, a ”rough” that comes in the form of a very influential stronghold on today’s musical culture. At a time where “mumble rap” and “trap” beats have become the forefront of Rap/hip-hop, Jonah is a true lyricist, whereby if you trace his rap ancestry back, you’ll arrive at the musical collective, ‘Dungeon Family’, a group that consisted of Atlanta’s musical heavyweights, such as ‘OutKast’.
Deconstructing Cruzz’s sound, you can hear a trace of Andre 3000’s smooth story telling, bouncy southern beats, all with an LA backdrop. The Los Angeles feel you hear with Cruzz’s sound emanates from his love of Dr. Dre, Tupac, and his affinity towards the City of Angels in general.
We sometimes hear some funny stories on how rappers find their own rapper names – Atlanta born, Childish Gambino got his rap name from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator. So where did ‘Jonah Cruzz’ emanate from? You can solve that enigma with the help of Cruzz’s friends. Cruzz’s name was a nickname bestowed onto him by friends in school as his character and demeanor came across as “so chilled” it was like he was “cruising”.
There is nothing “cruising” about his rap game though, as he recently released ‘Just to Get by’ – his third studio project under the ‘Ordinari Music Group’. We, Tenth Consortium got a chance to speak to Jonah and find out more about what makes this diamond shine bright in a place where there are other competing shining lights.
The Atlanta rapper described himself as a “Monday through Friday rapper”, giving the people the music they needed – subconsciously and consciously – when the partying stops and life gets real.
His last project, ‘Cruzz Control’ had a braggadocios mainstream feel to it. It’s definitely a fun album, which I recommend you listen to, although, Jonah himself felt as though this project stepped away from his roots and who he really was and wanted to stand for as a rapper.
Cruzz views all his projects as “albums”, as to maintain a high level of quality. It’s refreshing to hear a rapper be so candid when it comes to their creations. Either way, ‘Cruzz Control’ showed his versatility and ability to rhyme on varying sounds.
At his core Jonah is a conscious individual who wants his music to touch people, and also empower himself, as well as those around him into prosperity. His motif as a rapper is what really cements his philanthropist personality, as he wants to be remembered for his music helping his community and people outside of that.
He spent this last year working on ‘Just to Get By’, crafting the sound – with help from producers such as Ralph Da Ruler, Earl Black, Stribb, 5PiECE & SLWJMZ, and more – giving it that rich, Soul Jazz infused melody.
A stand out track on ‘Just to Get By’ is, ‘Letter to my Father’, as it delves into the struggles of Jonah’s youth, which was influenced by the role – or lack of – his father played in his life. The honest and introspective track brings you into the circumstances that birthed Jonah, the rapper in an extremely personal way.
When asked which current artists he would like to collaborate with in the future, he mentioned the likes of Isaiah Rashard, SZA, J. Cole, Joey Bada$$, and Schoolboy Q.
In an upheaval world that is plaguing us right now, ‘Just to Get By’ is a solid body of work that is needed for our souls, our society, and our culture. Don’t ignore your peripheral, let Jonah’s diamond capture your eye and expect more story telling, vocal variations and unconventional sounds to be rooted deeply into his future projects. Whoops, I mean albums.