Jon Hope is hip-hop’s great hope. In his more than 15 years as an actor, writer and MC, the all-around creative genius has grown into one of the most distinctive talents to emerge in recent memory. He has created music that sounds so startlingly fresh by melding ghetto gospel with his own nerdy ethos, he has pioneered a new form of hip-hop that’s profoundly introspective, fun and utterly... more
Jon Hope is hip-hop’s great hope. In his more than 15 years as an actor, writer and MC, the all-around creative genius has grown into one of the most distinctive talents to emerge in recent memory. He has created music that sounds so startlingly fresh by melding ghetto gospel with his own nerdy ethos, he has pioneered a new form of hip-hop that’s profoundly introspective, fun and utterly unique. Hope’s emphasis on realistic, poetic storytelling that is both sophisticated and raw, has won him critical success. He’s been profiled in esteemed print and digital publications such as Billboard, XXL, The Source, MTVU and Rolling Stone.
Hope was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country and whose motto is Hope, to West African parents. His mother, a nurse, is from Sierra Leone and his dad is from Liberia, a man he never met but is believed to be a Liberian diplomat. Hope was raised alongside his two siblings in the Arbor Glen housing complex on the city’s north side. As a child, he participated in neighborhood cyphers and wrote about his life in the projects, in addition to mimicking the rap styles and mannerisms of his favorite lyricists. However it wasn’t until he was pursuing a degree in Urban Sociology from Rhode Island College that his passion for hip-hop was re-ignited. In 2008, Hope embarked on “The Audacity” tour, a 14-date college circuit inspired by President Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” novel. The tour not only grew his fan base exponentially, but he also landed spot dates on legendary rap artist Nas’ “Jones Experience” tour with DJ Green Lantern.
Hope got another big break in 2010 when he was summoned to bring his talents to Atlanta by the managers of the infamous Treesound Studios, which he readily accepted. In between working in the studio, Hope also sharpened his acting skills by studying with actress and acting coach Terri Vaughn with his hard work paying off through an appearance in the Tyler Perry movie Madea’s Witness Protection and speaking roles in 2 independent films. While his acting career was flourishing, his music career was floundering. Feeling defeated and despondent, Hope returned east where his artistic pursuits came to a temporary halt. He spent the next 24 months regrouping and earning a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Motivated to move past his circumstances, Hope stepped outside his comfort zone and spent 3 weeks traveling to 5 different countries in Europe, even recording new music in London.
The results of his collective experiences birthed the long-awaited mixtape Mondubu, which further proved Hope as a soulful maturing talent and creative force within the genre of hip-hop. Continuing the excitement, the man behind the fascinating Jon Hope persona is revealed on the upcoming album, A Guy Named Harry, Hope’s birth name (Harrison Grigsby). While the visionary himself carefully curated the entire project, there are two standout tracks that fuel social and intellectual awareness. Hope penned the profoundly personal single “Camp St. & Comstock,” which deals directly with the generational feud between the east and south sides of Providence over a classic boom-bap beat produced by Grammy-winner Drum Gahd. On the vibrant “Ain’t Nobody,” we find the lyrical poet completely coming into his own, flowing candidly over hyper 808 bass lines about believing in yourself and staying the course of your journey.
In addition to his burgeoning career in music, Hope authored the book, “How I Landed In France,” which chronicles his mental and spiritual transformation over the past 2 years. A true musical visionary who embraces diverse influences that range from Sara Bareilles to Scarface, Hope has mastered the art of putting his ever-deepening autobiographical rhymes to adventurous beats. The uncompromising MC has built a solid brand reputation on quality control, showcasing multiple styles of delivery and pushing the culture forward in a bold, innovative direction. While many of his contemporaries might feel the pressure to obtain meteoric success, Hope, every blogger’s favorite rising MC, is secure in the very substance of what the latter part of his moniker represents.less