Gregory Jerome is quick to
clarify that he’s not a typical rapper — instead a positive,
thought-provoking hip-hop artist. He also feels that may be why, since
returning to Oklahoma City five years ago after a stint in Nashville,
his music has been ignored by the mainstream.

“It’s not trendy music,” Jerome said. “It’s
just like the radio. The radio doesn’t get on the positive note of
hip-hop, the positive messages of the people, so they go with what they
see as more marketable. I’m not the typical performer that you see just
targeting one group of people. I kind of like to spread it out.”

a fan base solely on his music, Jerome has garnered an inthe-know cult
around him, much like hip-hop had to in the early ’80s. That makes sense
to him, however, as his first exposure to the genre came from his older
brother, an old-school DJ who made a living on the wheels of steel.

captured me was the first time I heard Kurtis Blow,” Jerome reminisced.
“That was pretty much my introduction to hip-hop. My brother used to
spin all these different records, and that’s where a lot of my hip-hop
inspirations started. It became a way for me to cope with emotions and
to have an outlet to express those emotions, whether in my personal life
or dealing with social or political change, whatever the case may be.
It’s a place where I could transcend my thoughts of the world.”

Like old-school hip-hop performers, Jerome said he writes about the world around him, from the various cultures he comes in
contact with in OKC to the people he meets in the various organizations
he works for. It’s this realism that he believes differentiates his
music from others’ in the scene.

able to relate to individuals who have endured or are currently going
through or persevered through the beautiful struggle,” Jerome said. “To
be in a position where I am at, to give hope through lyrics and songs
that people can relate to is a wonderful thing. Because real people
can’t relate to Bentleys and Mercedes and diamond rings and chains. It’s
a more realistic approach.”

said he is “thrilled” to bring his positive angle on hip-hop to the
masses as part of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s annual Opening
Night event, sharing the stage with local acts such as Paperscissor,
Adam & Kizzie, Susan Herndon and Edgar Cruz. With such a packed
bill, Jerome said he is doing everything in his power to craft a live
show audiences in the metro haven’t seen before.

doing cross-genres of music, and I intertwine hip-hop with it. We’re
doing some Pink Floyd, and we’re gonna throw some hip-hop on top of it —
some Beatles, some Elton John, and just mix it up with hip-hop. It’s
going to be something that the city really hasn’t ever been exposed to.
All I can say is expect the unexpected.”

Louis Fowler

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