Calling rapper Jon Connor a workaholic would be like dubbing Lindsay Lohan merely a casual drug user. The Flint, Michigan-born lyricist’s non-stop output speaks to his relentless drive, one that’s earned him a loyal following of underground hip-hop heads. Yet he looks to exhibit his hitmaking versatility in 2013, seeks to scrub clean the backpacker label with which he’s been brandished. He’ll have ample opportunity. He’s been teasing fans with his upcoming album, Unconscious State, which will feature Danny Brown, Royce Da 5’9” and Tito Brown cameos. Then, he and Connecticut rapper Chris Webby are releasing their Unsung Heroes LP over the summer, followed by another Conner album in the fall, a collaborative project with storied producer Ski Beatz. The bubbling MC took a timeout from recording to sit down at VIBE’s Manhattan office and preview his upcoming projects, detail his obsession with Cyndi Lauper and share stories of flipping the bird to dead-end job managers. So much for work ethic...
VIBE: At this point in your career, what do you think is the perception of you as a rapper?
Jon Connor: “Jon Connor, the kid from Flint, he’s a spitter. He can rhyme.” A lot of times people that can make a lyrical song or rhyme with intricate rhyme schemes, it puts them in a box, like, you can’t make a song. I’m a music dude before before I’m a hip hop dude. I grew up with my father being a musician and my mother playing 70’s soul in the house, me listening to techno, alternative 90’s, pop rock, 80’s soft rock. I grew up loving Cyndi Lauper; I love Seal. I focused on being a lyricist my first couple years in the game because I wanted that respect; I take the craft seriously. Now I’m focusing on having fun, making good records, making money, and pleasing my fans. I studied every facet of the game.
Tell us about your collaborative album with Chris Webby, Unsung Heroes?
Unsung Heroes is going to surprise people because me and Webby got reputations for being spitters or only talking about certain things. I just feel there’s no record I can’t do. Don’t put me in a box. I know Chris feels the same way. On that project, I really do think it’s going to surprise people as far as and how big the records are that we got on there.
Next: A preview of Unconcious State >>>