If you know who Mike Jones is, then you’re probably familiar with the way he likes his cars–Tippin’ on four fours, wrapped in four Vogues (“Still Tippin’”). “Cars are just the personality of their owners,” says Mike Jones, minutes after coming off the stage on a sticky 90 degree Friday night in an all-star arena show at Jones Beach—New York City’s offsite festival HQ in Long Island.
If that’s true, then Jones and his black Dodge Charger have something in common. While Jones recently took delivery of a brand-spanking new 2005 DUB Edition Dodge Charger R/T, their shared traits run deeper than a rendezvous in the driver’s seat.
On the tour bus back to his Manhattan hotel, Jones is focused on putting his best foot forward for interview purposes. In reality, it’s that kind of lazy, moist August night when its no fun to think about anything profound after sweating it out on stage for 14,000 fans along with 50 Cent, Ciara and Lil’ Jon.
But Jones’ takes his time, answering questions with a deep, resonate Texas bass drawl that makes it easy to forget that it is Friday night in New York City, and there are a thousand more exciting things for a number one Houston recording artist to do than wax about his craft and his cars. But, like the Charger, which grinds 340 hp-strong, Hemi V-8 juice on the R/T, Jones is tough. He’s a round-the-clock entrepreneur with a record label, a budding film career, a line of clothing and hot-selling cell phone ring tones to show for it. “I’m living the American dream,” he explains. “That’s why I’m not sleeping. I’m trying to do business. I work hard, ain’t no sleepin’.”
Beginning with his Web site www.whomikejones.com, all the way to his fourth album Who Is Mike Jones? (Warner/Asylum, 2005), his solid promotional strategy helped him to rise from the underground in true “do-it-yourself” terms. In case, you missed his hit “Back Then,” you can call (281) 330-8004 to get the lowdown, a number he famously gives out to clear up any miscommunication about his upcoming shows. He’s nabbed a better rate plan after squaring away a $250,000 cell phone bill—enough to buy nine Chargers.
Jones, 24, approaches his craft a lot like Dodge’s marketing team wants you to feel about driving the new Charger—with down to earth accessibility. It is Dodge heritage without a bunch of fussy frills and loads of power.
“I ain’t got to have a fancy car,” Jones scoffs. While he’s got five cars, which is four more cars than average folk, it’s worth noting that all are well below the sticker price of an exotic.
“It’s not that serious to get the cars, I can use that money for other things. I’m never home to drive.” Jones dispels the common perception of young rappers and their desires. “Once I put another artist on, then I’ll have a fancy car out when I’m able to relax and drive it,” he says. “I love Bentleys, Ferraris and Hummers.”
All this success thanks to a good work ethic he learned early on in his life. “I got it from my grandmother,” he says. “She passed away. I dedicated my album to my grandmother. She gave me the motivation.”
It’s because of her that he’s got mad respect for elders. When he was starting off, he told her about his efforts to promote himself to club DJ. She replied with the infamous query, “Who? Mike Jones!” Track 15, in fact, is titled “Grandma.”