Jonson started building his musical universe by playing piano as a toddler, finding the music of J Dilla in fifth grade and self-releasing singles by age 16. He first appeared as Quickly, Quickly in 2017, exhibiting a smooth, hypnotic sound that fuses elements of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B. He’s a student of the Stones Throw catalog (his favorite is Madlib’s Quasimoto) and remains rhythm-driven at heart, but on this new album he trusts his instincts with a new palette of organic instrumentation and verse-chorus structure.
The Long and Short of It is a summary of transition, self-validation, and a great leap forward in the 20-year-old artist’s life, we’re told. He plays nearly all the instruments across record, which means everything from drums to keys and guitar, and of course electronics. The result is a sound that straddles jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and psych-pop.
Alongside the announcement, he has shared “Everything Is Different (To Me),” which features a catchy guitar loop, a classic hip-hop drum break, and a swell of strings. It was one of the first songs he wrote upon moving back to Portland from Los Angeles.
“I remember walking downstairs where my studio is and on the stairs on the way down I just thought of the phrase ‘everything is different to me,” he tells XLR8R. “I had no idea what it meant or why it popped into my head but I think I was just like, ‘Ok, that’s cool. There could maybe be something there.’” The song ended up being one of the most introspective cuts on the record, dealing with a lot of his personal struggles with anxiety, vices, and just a general lack of motivation to better himself. Ironically, he made the song unusually quickly and it turned out to be one of his favorite songs he’s ever made.
The Long and Short of It is Jonson’s first album since 2018’s Paths on Radio Juicy.
01. Phases ft. Sharrif Simmons
02. Come Visit Me
05. Leave It
06. I Am Close to the River
08. A Conversation
09. Everything Is Different (To Me)
11. Otto’s Dance