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The ultimate flex: Sarasota rapper reps former team in new song

Prose and Kohn: Ryan Kohn.

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A fluttering synth line that sounds as if sent from Mars creeps into the airwaves.

After a few seconds, a male voice uses ad libs to announce his arrival. Then the beat drops, and the voice states its purpose.

“Hey BJ Ivey, this for you. Got maroon in me. Changed the whole game, I’m ‘bout to bring the feds with me. Play this here before the game, gon’ make ‘em dance with me. Any team that think they nice, let the Rams get ‘em.”

It’s the hard-hitting chorus of “Rams Get Em,” a new piece by Sarasota rapper Jermo Jones, aka Jeremy Jones, who played basketball and football at Riverview High before graduating in 2012. The song is dedicated to the 2017-2018 Rams basketball team. Jones gives shout-outs to individual players such as sophomore Malachi Wideman and junior Tyrus Jackson, and the aforementioned Ivey, who coached Jones on the hardwood.

Riverview High sophomore Malachi Wideman is the first player to get a shoutout in
Riverview High sophomore Malachi Wideman is the first player to get a shoutout in "Rams Get Em" by Jermo Jones.

Based on what I know of the Sarasota Observer audience, this is likely the first you’re hearing of Jones’ rap career, but he has a nice following for himself on Soundcloud, a music streaming/sharing service especially popular in the hip-hop community. In fact, part of the reason “Rams Get Em” exists is Jones’ previous sports-rap combinations.

Jones has friends connected to Venice High, and those friends asked him to make a few songs about the Indians football team. He did, and the program liked them so much, they now use them, and them alone, as warm-up music. When I happened to hear those songs on a recent assignment covering a game at Venice for a sister paper, I called them "the ultimate flex," or brag, on Twitter. (Follow me, by the way.)

The song Jones wrote for Venice before this season — “GreenGang Pt. 3” — predicted the Indians would win the Class 7A state championship. 

They did.

The song took on a life of its own as the season progressed. Players quoted lyrics from it in social media posts. “GreenGang” became a rallying cry. As a result, the song accumulated more than 18,200 plays on Soundcloud.

Ivey and assistant coach Troy Robbins noticed.

“I told him (Jones) that we needed something,” Ivey said. “He said, ‘I got you,’ and he did. He put down a great song for our basketball team.”

Riverview High junior Tyrus Jackson gets an early shoutout in Jermo Jones' new song,
Riverview High junior Tyrus Jackson gets an early shoutout in Jermo Jones' new song, "Rams Get Em."

It took Jones about a week to find the right beat, he said. Once he did, the rest of the song came together in one night. Once Jones starts writing, the words come flowing. My personal opinion: The song slays. Not only does it get you in an athletic mindset, but it gives the players something to show their future families and friends when reminiscing about the glory days.

Ivey said his players were jazzed to hear their own names in the song, as anyone would be. Jackson even advertised a snippet of the song in a recent Snapchat post, Jones said. Here’s the amazing thing, though: Ivey, the 2017 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year, is such a brilliant mind, he used some of the song’s lyrics as a learning tool.

In the song, Jones, a 1,000-point scorer who helped take the Rams to the Class 8A Elite Eight in 2011-2012, raps about having to play lock-down defense against bigger opponents despite his size (“6-foot-nothing,” as he says). Ivey said Jones was indeed tenacious on the defensive end, and showed his current team video of him in action as an example of proper play.

Jones started rapping seriously about three years ago, he said. In his high school days, he would perform freestyles with his friends as a joke. One day, he came to a realization: He wasn’t too bad, he said. The verses he was spitting in the moment were better than ones other rappers had written ahead of time.

He devoted more time to his art. Now, Jones has 55 songs on Soundcloud. His ultimate goal is to be an ambassador of the 941 area.

“I want to put myself in position to give back to where I’m from,” Jones said. “That’s my overall goal. I also want to prove it’s OK to step outside the box, to have people question you.”

On Dec. 20, “Rams Get Em” made its debut in the Riverview warm-up music rotation. The song doesn’t make any declarative statements about the team’s prospects, but it does lay down a path to follow.

“Practice hard, get ready to roll. Final Four, then reach the goal. Hold your head, ‘cause I promise this gon’ be a long road.”

Jones would know, after all.


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