I’ve never met Sean “Oreo” Jones face to face, but I’ve known of this local rapscallion (pun intended) for quite some time through my hipper friends. Splitting his childhood between rural Warsaw, Indiana, and the moderately mean streets of Indianapolis, Oreo Jones is a multi-layered sandwich of a man. He’s such a complex chameleon that I actually associated him with two of his most popular facades, the blatantly blazed host of the cooking show parody, Let’s Do Lunch, and his bombastic blonde-wigged party animal persona known simply as Black Fabio. Much to my delight, this kindred character sat down at his computer and thoughtfully responded to a few of my well formed and then not-so-well formed questions about the man, the myth, and the mayhem surrounding the recent release of his full-length album Betty, on his label Rad Summer. By the end of our exchange, he was signing his e-mail “love, OJ.” It was an honor.
I listened to your new album Betty while I cleaned my apartment this morning and found myself breaking moves I haven’t pulled out since middle school dances. This white shame brings me to my first question. What is “Indy rap” all about? Tell me it’s not just rap white folks listen to.
I’m almost 100 percent positive that people of all ethnicities listen to hip-hop here in the city. I’m assuming that’s what you meant? There’s a collective of different emcees and artists around here with different stories to tell. That’s happening everywhere in the world through different scenes. It’s exciting times here in Indianapolis, though. The city is thriving, artist are evolving.
Vice just debuted your new video for “No Coast” featuring local lady rocker J-hex. Congratulations. Did you two collaborate on this jam from the beginning, or was her vocal accompaniment an obvious drunken night afterthought conspired between two local legends?
During the course of writing, Betty and I tried to think of a unique artist to feature on the album. Even when she was with We Are Hex, I always told her that she needed to get on a record. 90lbs., an amazing childhood friend/producer here in Indy, gave me this retarded ass beat. We recorded this song a million times. Gear got stolen, session files lost, but we kept fuckin’ with it. Her energy and the way she records is fucking amazing. She is fearless when approaching a beat or different ways to portray an idea. I’ve worked with people outside of hip-hop before and it’s tough, just because everyone has their own conception of the genre. Some people approach it with a shitty Weird Al, corny, gangbang, blunt smoking, party façade. Others take it seriously and understand the poetry and the soul behind hip-hop. Jilly is an amazing person and it shows through her artistically. We did drink a swimming pool worth of alcohol during the course of making “No Coast,” though.
“No Coast.” Is that a Midwest thing?
Sure, it was an idea spawned from living in the Midwest. We have our own perception of life here. Restless souls trying to let their voice be heard. 90 gave us an inspirational track to work with, so we just interpreted this as a song championing for the culture of being an artist in the heartland.
Speaking of coasts, I spent some time researching East Coast vs. West Coast via message boards, looking for trash talking and a better idea of what each side stands by. The following is the best overall example of what I found:
GDK94:East coast rap is way better, but there are some West coast rappers that i like too.
KidYankee764:East – but West is good too.
Will this hip-hop hara-kiri never end? Jokes aside, where does a no coast rapper stand on such no-longer relevant issues?
The internet is stupid for this very reason. Trolls that are fuckin’ off on message boards, living vicariously through the life of a rapper. The east coast/west coast war concept seems prehistoric to me now. I was a little kid during the climax of it all and I can’t really recall anyone currently making a huge deal about it anymore. Music is crazy, different phases evolve through time.
To reference Cordon Bleu, what side would best compliment a universal ham and cheese sandwich?
I like carbs and I’ve been fuckin’ with pesto lately. A good pesto pasta salad or maybe some honey dijon kettle chips. I will be a fat kid till the day they put me in the grave. It’s therapeutic n’ shit. I used to stick my finger in the country crock container on the diner table when I was a toddler. Don’t pretend some of you people didn’t do that.
Indianapolis has been good to you. Do you intend to stay strong from your home base or take your Middle America mayhem elsewhere?
I’ve been asked that question a lot. I used to think about it all the time. I wanted to move to a bigger city and take on a bigger challenge, but I really do love it here. It’s still a helluva challenge, yet so far everyone has been so supportive and inspirational to me since I’ve moved to the Nap in 05’. It honestly gets better every year that I’ve lived in Indy. It also gets harder to think about dippin’ out. I wont say that I wouldn’t duck out for an opportunity, but I can tell you that I will always call this place home.
What things are you feeling these days?
I’ve been into writing a lot of poetry lately. I’ve been writing a lot of things down that don’t rhyme. A buddy of mine and I are working on a zine/book. It’s a collaborative compilation of thoughts, stories, and poems. I got back into reading. I just finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the first time. I’m trying to read Despair by Vladimir Nabokov, it’s kinda heavy though. I’ve been into wavy ass 5 panel hats. Button up shirts. Flying Lotus’ “Until the Quiet Comes.” Rock n’ roll from Burger Records. Bolo ties. Ohh, and babes on Instagram.
Let’s end on a personal note. Are you in love? Do rappers fall in love?
Are you askin’ if I’m a sensitive thug? I’ve been in love before, I think I’m still in love. I dunno. I’m not a therapist or love doctor or something, but I do know what it feels like when your heart is invincible, and I also know how it feels when its been blown up in a microwave. It’s an amazing thing, you should try it sometime. It’ll make everything taste different, I promise.