Earlier last week Nation of Billions got the chance to catch up with man of the moment Kent Jones. We met the ‘Don’t Mind’ star relaxing in East London enjoying some Nandos whilst sipping on some “spicy lemonade” (lemon and ginger from Pret). We spoke about Gospel music, being signed by DJ Khaled, working with Timbaland and rare Giuseppe sneakers. Major cloth talk!
As well as having a hit single right now with ‘Don’t Mind’, Kent has also made beats for Curren$y, The Game and Lil Wayne often in collaboration with Cool & Dre, the production duo who took him under their wing from the age of 18 and then introduced him to their “brother” Khaled two years ago. Kent Jones is signed to Khaled’s We The Best Music in partnership with Kool & Dre’s Epidemic imprint. “We made history together and it was a natural progression“, he says on signing the deal.
Having grown up in Memphis, Tennessee and Florida, Kent grew up surrounded by Gospel music. He explains, “Musically I’m implanting it into my sound. I’m not chasing a sound but right now I’m hearing a lot of people use gospel music, that’s home for me.” I explain that RnB music coming from the US has often had a strong Gospel influence, “now it’s gospel with rap music. The whole Kanye album, the whole Chance The Rapper album. That’s my home (Gospel music), no one can do me better than me.”
Despite working on production with the legendary producer Timbaland in conjunction with Khaled a couple of years ago, Kent explains, “What we and the team been doing recently is so mind blowing I won’t go back to a record unless I can revamp it for 2016.” Kent continues with full Khaled style rhetoric, “We don’t like to fight the wave. We’re not afraid to make hit records, focus on hit records and put them out.”
Although signed to We The best, known predominately for huge hip-hop club bangers, Kent is a trained Jazz pianist. He lists Oscar Peterson Red garland, Robert Glasper & Tommy Flannigan as some of the Jazz greats who influenced his sound. “Count Bass E, I like him cos he was very simple and he wasn’t minimal. Duke Ellington’s another one I’d pay the last dollar from my wallet to see him perform. Thelonious Monk is a beast. I almost teared up thinking bout him.”
I notice Kent is wearing some very shiny, expensive looking trainers. He explains, “these are the last pair in the world, but when I bought these I lost my mind. I bought the grey pair and a pair that looks like Michael Jackson’s glove. I’ve got some versaces and bellenciagas but giuseppes I bin killing. Next I wanna start messing with Margiella a lil bit.”
When asked what’s next he explains he’s on Fat Joe’s new record and there’s a new video for the remix of ‘Don’t Mind’ featuring Pitbull and Lil Wayne on the way. “Khaled and I got some stuff coming out, go get the major key album Friday . Don’t ever play yourself!”