Having stepped away from the game for a year, Only Okay picked up right where he left off with his Four Joints EP. Whether exultantly announcing his return on "Personal" or switching up his flow on the closing "Four Joints," Only Okay's versatility and endless energy ensure a little something for everyone.
At its essence, Detroit's Only Okay makes music for the people. The creative brainchild of rapper and songwriter Griffin Shiminski, Only Okay has constantly held himself to a simple yet powerful standard; his music must say something. Even though Only Okay readily admits that his art may not always be super deep, at the end of the day, he stays true to his vision and makes music that his fans can always take something away from. This creates an underlying theme that listeners will quickly see underlines all of his music; there's always a story to be told or a perspective to express.
When it comes to "Four Joints's" EP theme, Ok's vision was simple; set a base for himself and his audience and remind us of what he's capable of. Only Okay productions are set apart by his constant devotion to forging a connection with fans and new listeners through his expression of perspective and social commentary. So it is no surprise that, at its core, the titular "Four Joints" was inspired by Ok's desire to speak out on what he identifies as injustice.
Recognizing that marijuana is now widely legal and available in the States, Only Okays "Four Joints" was inspired by the fact that despite shifting views and money legally made through marijuana, many remain unfairly incarcerated for possession and other minor causes. Lines like "The four joints I smoked in a day is a life in prison" or "I don't see how their weed is any different from mine" illustrate Ok's keen self-awareness and willingness to call out the double standard. Although he calls himself Only Ok, it's clear that the music is lightyears better than his humble name might suggest.
Although he may have stepped away for a while, it's clear that Only Okay's lyrical and musical abilities are as strong as ever. Light one up and enjoy the "Four Joints" EP, now available for streaming.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Only Okay. We enjoyed the EP, and it’s cool that a big part of who you are as an artist is paying attention to what’s happening in our society and commenting on it. You’ve been gone for a while! How does it feel to be back, and what inspired you to pick up where you left off?
I feel excited and relieved to be back, but mostly I feel prepared. I haven't put out a song since around Halloween in 2021, but I haven't stopped creating since December of last year; I feel the time is right for everyone to hear what I have been up to. I look forward to showing how I have elevated where I was, musically and personally, when I left off.
You mentioned that one of your major inspirations is Jay-Z, specifically because of his lyricism and ability to educate through his music. How important was his music to your formation as an artist?
The first Jay-Z song I ever heard when I was younger was 99 Problems, and that song is a perfect example of something catchy but with a deeper meaning if you listen to the lyrics. He doesn't write lyrics down, everything is on the spot, and that has taught me, as an artist, you always have to be ready and able to do your thing at a high level at any given time- his confidence and longevity in the rap game are both things I look up to. My music has a heavier East coast influence on beat selection, and I attribute that to artists like Jay-Z.
What was your favorite song from “Four Joints,” and what was its inspiration?
My favorite song on "Four Joints" is the title track, Four Joints. I came up with the concept for the song about a year and a half ago- the first half of the song is an upbeat and fun vibe, while the second half is the reality of it all. I smoke every day, but I felt like I couldn't consciously put out a smoking song or a song about weed without showing where I stand with a serious song about it first. I am hoping that our country can re-evaluate and release non-violent drug offenders when it comes to marijuana, and I wanted to get that message out there.
A huge part of who you are as an artist is making music your listeners can resonate with or take something away from. What did you want fans to take away from your “Four Joints” EP?
I want people to know that this EP showcases my abilities now and what I can do musically and that I am ready to take this thing seriously. You can count on me to use their voice when it comes to speaking up, and I am not afraid to touch on big topics or issues. I also hope people can hear that I let myself have fun with my music; that is why I started. I say it a couple of times in a few songs on the project, but the Four Joints EP is just the announcement.
We’re curious, what's next for Only Okay? Are there any issues out there right now that you think will inspire you to make new music?
I have a 24-song project dropping on November 29th, which is most of what I have been working on this past year. I have been working six days a week and going to Pearl Sound Studios on the 7th day, and I am so excited for everyone to hear all of the hard work that went into making this album. I consider these songs the 24 most important things I've learned so far in my life, and they are explained by touching on social, political, and personal issues. I want to make mental healthcare services more quickly and widely accessible- the lack thereof inspires me to start doing something about it by talking about my own experiences.