New York City
Hip Hop Monologues: Inside the Life & Mind of Jim Jones, first debuted in November 2008 as a first of its kind, two-day theatrical album listening of sorts, set to stage using music from Jones’ forthcoming Columbia Records debut album Pray IV Reign (in stores March 24th) as the platform. Its two day showing was exclusive to an audience of celebrities and media, music and entertainment industry insiders. Due to the overwhelming buzz and reviews of this private theatrical event, Hip Hop Monologues is returning to stage and opening to the public for the first time at the overwhelming demand of Jim Jones fans, theatre enthusiasts and critics alike.
Accompanied by a live band conducted by Om’Mas Kieth of SA-RA and an ensemble of professional actors, Jim performs songs from his new album in the context of a scripted story. The plot is straight-forward and peripherally autobiographical: rapper Jim Jones, having garnered worldwide fame, returns to Harlem to interact with characters from his past: a preacher, his son’s mother, a police detective, jealous enemies, even Jim himself as a younger man. After almost getting killed in an impromptu dice game, Jim is counseled by an old school elder on how to endure the stresses of being famous and the great responsibility of teaching the next generation. Later Jim finds himself having to make the decision of his life by either taking his elder’s wise advice or returning to his street ways and risk losing it all. Several roles will be portrayed by contributors to Pray IV Reign.
The play, produced, written, and directed by J. Kyle Manzay, interweaves many elements including multimedia and an intricate backdrop among other things into what J. Kyle terms a “surreal representation of 110th Street in Harlem”– complete sensory stimuli.