LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - Miles Jones teaches economics and government courses at Clearview High School in Lorain. Lorain is his hometown which brings extra relevance to the work he’s doing with young women and men.
“I’m teaching them (and) building relationships. It’s like sometimes I’m talking to my past classmates or my old friends, because they remind me so much of them,” Jones said.
The last two years have been quite the journey. Jones got married and welcomed a baby girl into the world. He also was working on his rap album ‘Room 105’. Jones’ stage name is Benjamin Bill.
“A lot of that content that you’ll hear in ‘Room 105’ is going to be based on a lot of the things I’ve learned,” Jones said. “Whether it was in Cleveland or growing up in Lorain... some of the struggles of living in the inner city to love and positivity. ‘Room 105’ originally dates back to my last school. That was the number of my classroom. As I’ve been getting older, I’ve matured a lot. I’m not the same guy I was when I was rapping at age 19... growing through myself individually but also my students helping me grow.”
Jones recorded the album at the Top of the World Studios in Parma Heights. ‘Room 105’ is 11 tracks with nine songs.
-Two Lorain City Schools’ students (K’Zhan “Bossman” Brown and his sister Tori)
-Two former high school students (Renegade Metri and Rob Nor)
-Four members from Jones’ high school (Lorain Admiral King High School)
-Michael Luis (on ‘I Know’)
Jones’ voice, both in the classroom and when he’s singing, is commanding. Cleveland 19 cameras spent about an hour in the classroom with Jones in late February. That day, Jones was leading his version of “Economics Jeopardy” to help students prepare for an upcoming test.
One of his students, Grace Kirk, said no one falls asleep in class.
“Having him first period it’s a wakeup,” Kirk said. “Having Mr. Jones as a teacher, he doesn’t really separate the two. He incorporates who he is into being a teacher, so it’s really cool to have a rapper as a teacher.”
Jones said draws musical inspiration from a variety of people and genres.
"Today in the industry, I would definitely say J. Cole is my biggest influence," Jones said. "When you listen to 'Room 105' you're going to find that a lot of the songs that I created with other artists resembles a lot of J. Cole's early stuff. Where he's talking about society. Where he's talking about what's real."
"Love" is a word Jones doesn’t shy away from either.
"I was blessed to grow up in a household where there was all the love I needed," Jones said. “But I know a lot of these students don't get. So, for me when they step in my room, I want this to be their comfort zone."
Jones’ album will be released April 4. It will be available through several sources including Apple Music and Spotify.
Those who attend Clearview High School's talent show the night of March 31 will see Benjamin Bill perform.
Jones said he's grateful for all the support he's received.
“They know my background, and they’re willing to help me live my dream.”