Flow Jones Jr. talks collaboration, conceptualising “God’s Pen = God’s Plan” and more

Flow Jones Jr. is one of the more mercurial artists we have in the current generation of artists. His unique cadence and writing style has garnered him comparisons with some of the most notable names in the US, but there is so much more to the artist. Beneath the jovial cadences lies a figure that is determined and driven to make his ascension to the top of the rap game. 


In a sit-down interview, we got to unpack the thinking and musical processes that Flow Jones Jr. went through in creating his album, “God’s Plan = God’s Pen”. Without further adu, this is Flow Jones Jr.

You have one of the most unique cadences in the game making you an easily recognisable figure. Who were your inspirations coming up? 

I would say that my various influences came in stages. When I was in high school, I was inspired by the likes of Lil Wayne, but as time went on, I began to find inspiration from the new wave of artists that were rising to prominence at the time. I am talking about artists like Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti. On the other hand, I consider myself a Kwaito head and I hold Bricks in high regard. 

Before we go into the album, can you tell us a bit about the cover art and the creative thinking behind it? 


The way the cover art came about was the same way the name came about. I remember there was a day where myself, Sliqe and Ason were in studio and we were making fun of how pastors preach in church. Out of that, we ended up writing down the line ‘god’s pen = god’s plan”. Initially, the name was a joke but as time went by, the name started to carry significance. 


How has your sound developed over the years? 


I would say that my music right now is a lot more calm. Back then, my music would be hard hitting 808’s and although that hasn’t changed much, my lyrical content has. Back then, I was rapping about motivation and eliminating distractions like women etc… but now, I would say that I have opened up my lyrical content to cover more than just that. On another note, I am making an effort to make music that is more palatable to South African audience.


What song kickstarted the project and which song would you say made the album feel complete?


I would say that the project felt complete when I made the song “D-Town(Bibo)”. Our plan was to introduce what we call ‘Shawty music’ and Kwaito into the fold. The song that started the whole project was “Mawubuye”. Initially, “Pramis, Swuh” wasn’t going to make it onto the project but since I had already started promoting the song so much as a single, I decided to include it on the project. 


You say that every song on the project was intentional and every song you recorded made it onto the album. Can you tell me a bit about what that means? 


This was the most difficult project to record because of the recording process. I had to be intentional with everything about the project. Every beat was tailor made for the message I was trying to convey and I had a hand in how each beat came to life. I also made a song in vernac for the first time because that is what the public wants to hear now.  


How did you go about choosing the single for the project? 


“Pramis, Swuh” was unintentionally a single for the project because I had pushed it so hard and people loved the song. The second single of the project was a challenge because I had strong feelings about “Mawubuye” while the rest of the team was leaning towards having ”D-Town(Bibo)” as the second single. Eventually, I went with my gut and went ahead with “Mawubuye”.

What are you views on collaborating with artists?

When it comes to the music-making process, I am used to creating in isolation. Even when I did collabs, I would send my verse back and forth with the artist in question. That all changed when I started locking in with other producers like Sliqe and Mashbeatz. They opened my eyes to the positives that come with collaborating with others. For example, the first time I had seen a guitarist in a session was with Sliqe. Those sort of interactions and experiences are new to me. 


What is the biggest creative lesson that you have learnt in collaborating with other artists?


The biggest lesson I have learnt is to not overthink things. I am a chronic overthinker, and it translates into my music. When I used to write, I would try to come up with complex double entendres when all the audience wants is simple bars to vibe to. They don’t want you to rap too much.  


What would you say is the essence of “God’s Pen = Gods Plan”? 

Although it started off as a joke, the title of the project has great significance to me because there were so many great things happening to me at the time. I mean… “God’s Pen = God’s Plan” was the first time I had a producer (other than myself) making beats and I was starting to get more bookings. It might seem like it was always meant to be but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout my career, I had multiple opportunities to shut it down and get a job but I stayed on the path and it’s all coming together. 


In closing, if there is one thing you want people to take away from “God’s Pen = God’s Plan”, what would it be? 

I would say that people should have the courage to step out of their comfort zones. Try something new and even if you fail, stand up, and start again.

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