Let’s talk about Kent, baby
Kent Jones is a producer/rapper/singer from Tallahassee, Florida, who gained international notoriety after the success of his hit single “Don’t Mind” – A track which has taken the internet by storm and has racked up 62.4 million worldwide streams on Spotify.
Before the breakout success of “Don’t Mind”, the only way you might have heard of Kent Jones was if you were one of those losers who likes reading album writing credits. Specifically, the credits for The Game’s The Documentary 2, where he produced one track.
Well, I am one of those losers who read the liner notes for that album and I still didn’t know about Kent Jones.
Why does everyone love “Don’t Mind” so much?
Because it is a great pop rap track. Built around a catchy chorus that interpolates Barry White’s “Practice What You Preach”; Jones recites his best international chat up lines – ‘hello, how are you?’
Like classic rap tracks “99 Problems” [Ice-T version] and Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Don’t Mind” is basically a long list of girls Kent Jones is shagging across the world.
These factors combined for the song to peak at #9 in the UK Singles Chart, where it received Silver certification. In America “Don’t Mind”, peaked at #8 and has gone Platinum.
The track was also nominated at the MTV VMA Awards for the Song of the Summer award, but lost to Fifth Harmony’s “All in My Head (Flex)”.
So, why is “Don’t Mind” so popular?
The song wasn’t successful initially when it was first released. It served as lead single from Jones’ debut mixtape, Tours. That was July 2015, meaning it was released almost one year prior to its huge success.
This was a sleeper hit akin to Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”, which was also released a full year before it took over the summer of 2015.
Kent Jones is signed to DJ Khaled’s We the Best Music Group, a label featuring perennial flunkies Vado and Movado. Khaled has ascended his original role as Fat Joe’s sidekick to become a well-known record mogul and Snapchat celebrity.
DJ Khaled is a man who doesn’t produce or rap, but has released nine studio albums, with minimal music contribution from himself. Nobody really knows what Khaled does in the studio, but to quote the man himself, “These guys can’t do what I do, I’m the best that ever did it.”
Regardless, Khaled’s backing certainly helped Kent Jones’s exposure, although his presence might not be beneficial from a music standpoint.
What are the other Kent Jones songs like?
One-dimensional. Tours isn’t bad for a debut mixtape, which are typically the projects you would expect to hear an artist experimenting with their sound. Some notable artists have blown up within the rap scene from their first project, like Kid Cudi and The Weeknd.
It is extremely unusual for a project like Tours to spawn a major international hit like “Don’t Mind”.
Tours is primarily produced by Kent Jones and there are some good trap beats present. However his rapping and singing leave much to be desired. Let this stale Live Lounge performance of his own song serve to show the weaknesses of Kent Jones, the performer.
What’s wrong with Kent Jones as a performer?
He has nothing to say. Every song on Tours is about how Kent Jones’s sex life, specifically how abundant it is. And not even in an interesting way. Plenty of great rappers like 2 Live Crew have made their careers on songs about sex, but they made it interesting. Tours feels like I Just Had Sex: The Album.
“the reaction to [Don’t Mind] has been crazy, especially in terms of girls. The way they react to me now, it’s really scary! All these women – it’s the most frightening thing since the idea of Donald Trump becoming president.” – Kent Jones
The whole point of Tours is for Kent Jones to tell us that he has sex with girls.
Here are my favourite awkward Kent Jones punchlines
“Water can’t break unless it’s by a pregnant woman” – 365
“I told her let me bone / She said I’m humorous” – Tours
“FYI I’ll be free ’round 2 or 3 / And two things you gotta be, new or lean” – Don’t Play Yourself
“I need a bitch with big lips / My dick don’t like small talk” – Tours
So he’s like Fetty Wap?
Fetty Wap is another a rapper who delivers his rhymes in a melodic fashion, primarily about ladies. Both artists share a similar background, being catapulted from obscurity into the limelight very suddenly.
Fetty Wap was the Kent Jones of 2015.
However, Fetty’s music, while similar, is more complex and varied than Kent Jones; who mainly portrays women as objects to pleasure him. Fetty Wap has songs like “Again”, a follow up to “Trap Queen” where he tries to win his lady back after a breakup.
Fetty Wap is also responsible for the best hip-hop Christmas song this side of “Christmas on Hollis”.
”Fetty Wap is damn near Santa Claus!…I don’t know anything Fetty Wap loves more than his kids. His whole Instagram is him pushing his kids on the swings and people are in the comments talking shit. The fuck? You don’t like Fetty Wap? Word? I can get why you wouldn’t like “Trap Queen,” probably…You’ve just heard it too much. But you don’t wanna hear “My Way?” Wow. I’m gonna start calling people woman-bashers who don’t like “My Way.” You must not love women, bro.” – Vince Staples
More than anything, Kent Jones doesn’t have the talent of Fetty Wap to make compelling music that has variety. And if you don’t like Fetty Wap, you don’t like women, bro.
Is there a risk Kent Jones is a one hit wonder?
Many people thought that Fetty Wap would be a one-hit wonder like O.T. Genasis who’s own viral hit “Coco” secured him a Platinum plaque. Genasis has since struggled to follow up this success. His follow up single “Ricky” flopped and he was dropped from his label.
Fetty Wap followed up the success of “Trap Queen” with two more hits, “679” and “My Way”; both went at least Platinum in the United States. Fetty Wap, the album shortly followed September 2015 and also went Platinum, securing Fetty’s escape from one hit wonder status. Although, he could still be a one album wonder.
Kent Jones needs a successful follow up single or strong album to avoid the dreaded one hit wonder status. Jones is a trained jazz pianist and is a talented producer. The concern is his lack of energy and charisma as a performer. I am certain his music skills will ensure success behind the scenes at least.
As Jones hasn’t released a project in over a year, it would be safe to assume a major label debut album is in the works. Perhaps he will release a mixtape like Desiigner to warm people up. The Desiigner effort has produced some more buzz due to that weird “Timmy Turner” song.
Jones needs a similar hit to follow up “Don’t Mind”, but it is a tough act to follow. It took Drake four albums before he got his first number one single, it isn’t easy.
If Kent Jones keeps coming with the awkward hooks and passionless verses like “365” from the NBA 2K16 soundtrack, there is every chance his stay in the mainstream will be brief.
I think we have time for one more DJ Khaled meme