DXnext: Jon Connor
Nas' favorite new artist explains why he's "cut from that same cloth” as Eminem and why work comes before partying with Plaxico Burress.
There are only a handful of emcees in HipHopDX’s history that have received their own exclusive interview on the site before they were profiled in DX’s famed feature series for new artists, DXnext. And one such stand-out spitter is none other than Flint, Michigan’s own, Jon Connor.
With skills so sharp they demanded coverage as soon as ears heard his “Epic” breakthrough to the blogs, Jon Connor as Vinnie Chase: Season One, the Terminator-inspired rapper/producer has since been making noise for himself so loud one can’t help but pay attention to the prophesized leader of the resistance against artificial artists as he brings Salvation to the game.
The 25-year-old’s ascension to “Next” status has been supported by high powered co-signs ranging from Nas (seen in the video for “Epic”) to Michigan State alum Plaxico Burress. But even with the big names backing him, the chosen one knows he still has a lot to prove to earn that same support from the masses, and so his mission to save us all begins here with Jon Connor’s long-overdue DXnext induction.
The Long Road To Stardom From Fli City: “It takes time to build and grow. I could easily make what’s out right now and copycat what everybody else is doing, but when you making your own lane that takes time and it takes a building process.”
“I’m coming from a city where really we haven’t had nobody represent like that. So, when you doing something like that, when you … putting the [first] footprints in the sand for something that’s never been done before it take a little longer.”
“I love grindin’. If it ain’t hard, it ain’t worth doing. If it ain’t a challenge, it ain’t worth doing. If it comes to you overnight, then nine times out of 10 it ain’t real.”
Rejecting The “Raw Spitter” Label: “I’m not just limited to raw spittin’. We been in talks with major labels, and you kinda gotta show them what you capable of doing. And I’m gonna show the world that I’m capable of doing everything.”
“If it’s raw spittin’, I’ma do that. That’s the stage that we in right now. Coming in the game I wanna show the people that I am a true emcee, but at the end of the day, above all else, I’m a musician, I’m a producer, I’m an all-around artist.”
“Never will I be boxed in to just being a spitter. I can spit. And I’m gonna do that well. And then after that I’ma branch off and do everything and anything, whether it’s Pop, commercial, mainstream, raw spittin’, underground, don’t matter. I can play the court at any position.”
An Epic Collaboration With Esco: “We trying to make that happen. The homie, he working on his [Life Is Good] joint right now. I’m working on my joint. [But] that’s always an option. It’s always love, and it’s always respect between me and the big homie Nas.”
Not Leaning On Big-Name Collabos For Salvation: “I wanted to keep everything in-house. Even though the project was produced entirely by my man Reef – nothing but love, salute to my man Reef – I wanna establish myself as a brand. I wanna establish [my label], All Varsity Music. I wanna establish the artists that I work with, my homies that’s coming up with me who are very talented. And I feel like we on-par with anything and everything else that’s out there.”
“So this Salvation EP is pretty much me establishing myself. I don’t want to have to lean on features as a crutch. I have no problem with doing features, but it’s like coming into the game, and me still being a new artist, I don’t want people to look at Salvation and say, ‘Well it’s only this because such-and-such is on there.’ Nah, I wanna make my name mean as much as the people that I would go and get features [from].”
A Whole Album Of Heatrocks Like “The Heist”: “That could become a reality sooner than people think. [Elite and I] talked a little bit about it. I don’t wanna jump the gun on it, but we were texting back and forth about it.”
From Breed To Em To Connor: “The line [from “American Psycho Freestyle” ] was, ‘This Michigan emcee breed Eminem.’ MC Breed was our pioneer artist from Flint, Michigan. He had a song called ‘Ain’t No Future [In Yo Frontin’],’ which actually I did a cover of [on Salvation] just to pay respect and pay homage to him. He passed away a couple years ago. He was the first one to really put Flint on the map … along with The Dayton Family.”
“Anytime I can just pay respect to the cats that paved the way for me I’m gon’ do that. So that’s what that line was, saying that this is Michigan: MC Breed and Eminem. I’m cut from that same cloth. I come from Flint like MC Breed; I come from Michigan like Eminem, where we just breed real spitters and we breed top of the line artists. So that was me paying my respects and just paying homage to Eminem and MC Breed, because those are two Michigan artists that had a big impact on me.”
Plaxico Hosting Jon Connor as Vinnie Chase: Season Two : “I’ma holla at him; I’ma see what’s up, man. I spoke to bro the day he got out, ‘cause my big bro, [co-CEO of All Varsity] Mateen [Cleaves], went and holla’d at him. They did it up: Miami, feeling good, partying. I was kinda uptight about it, ‘cause I’m in the studio while they off partying. [Laughs] But work has always gotta be done. I don’t get to take vacations and breaks and shit.”