Midwest rapper Jon Connor may still be a relative newcomer to the rap scene, but his militia-style movement at last week’s SXSW festival still has people talking, as his army of supporters mobbed their way through the busy streets of Austin, Texas.
Connor, who is slowly building a buzz with his many freestyles and Blueprint inspired project, The Blue Album, told SOHH his talent and raw hunger pushes him to go further than the average rap rookie.
“I’m from Flint, Michigan, man. It’s a little big city and we don’t just get opportunities like this coming towards us, so when you got an event like SXSW and you got every record company coming and every big artist, it’s like what do you do to stand out? You come with your crew, you come hungry. You drive 26 hours. You don’t take no breaks. You do it. We drove those 26 hours because we are music. Alotta people do music and we won’t stop until we got that number one spot.” (SOHH)
The Michigan rapper said that watching legendary crews promote their brand inspired him to create one of the most memorable street movements at SXSW 2012.
“I’mma tell you straight up: All I ever wanted to do was be in the music business. So when I used to see Roc-A-Fella in ’96 – ’97, when I used to see Cash Money, Ruff Ryders, all of them had the street teams and promotions that did it how it was supposed to be done. I don’t want the number one spot unless I’ve worked for it. That means we gonna be out here ’til our feet bleedin’ because that’s how bad we want it. The songs to hear to get to know Jon Connor are “Epic” and there’s so many freestyles that I’ve put out, you just gotta go get the whole album. Go get Season 2, go get The Blue Album.” (SOHH)
Earlier this year Connor reflected on his first rap battle, explaining that he began taking rap seriously at a very early age.
“I was in the fifth grade, and one of my friends at the time would always rap on the bus. When he would freestyle, he would pass the “mic” to me and I would always stop the whole session ’cause I couldn’t rap. There was one day when I knew that he was going to pass the mic to me, so I practiced a good two bars to spit. The day came and they passed me the mic, I spit those two bars and the bus when crazy. After that reaction, I started taking rap seriously. That’s why I go so hard when I write my rhymes. The same high I got from the way my classmates reacted when they heard me spit on the bus is the same high I get from being on stage now.” (All Hip Hop)
Fellow up-and-coming MC and Hot 97’s 2012 battle rap champ B. Martin also discussed his battling experience with SOHH and revealed that a pre-show phone call from one Queens spitter helped boost his confidence.
“It feels surreal. Everything been happening so fast as far as the competition, I performed at SOB’s opening up for Mobb Deep, so then I go on vacation in the f*ckin’ Dominican Republic and perform out there. On my layover to SXSW I get a f*ckin’ call from Prodigy, and he’s tellin’ me, ‘Yo I’m feeling your style.’ So to have that, just gave me that extra level of confidence and another level of appreciation for the Mobb and everything. The way I look at my career now is one step at a time. You gotta accomplish one goal at a time and that’s what I did in Texas and from here I move on, going to the next thing.” (SOHH)
Check out Jon Connor’s “You Don’t Know” freestyle from his Blue Album mixtape, hosted and executive produced by DJ Green Lantern.