If you have ever met St. Louis native and Lampmode Recording artist J'son, you would know that he is one very passionate guy. Whether its having hour long debates about doctrine or relaying instructions at his own video shoot, J'son throws every ounce of himself into what hes doing. Who is Json? Maybe youve heard him on one of Flames four albums. Maybe youve heard him on '13 letters' or any of the other Reach Records projects. His listeners have been fortunate benefactors of this creative zeal on his past albums 'The Seasoning' and 'Life on Life,' and now with his forthcoming third album he is ready to push the envelope even further. I recently sat down with J'son during a video shoot to talk about his new label and the upcoming album.
Rapzilla: Right now Im here with J'son on the set of his Goon video shoot.
Rapzilla: How you feeling, man?
J'son: Im feeling good, man. Im excited. Man, Im just blown away by the Lord and His work. Im mad excited.
Rapzilla: So how did you hook up with the producer of the video, Veronica [Kirkland]?
J'son: Veronica hit me up and was like, 'Yo, I love your music Can I shoot a video for your Life on Life album?' And I was like, well, you know what, my new album bout to be coming up. Why dont we just shoot a video for that? You know what Im saying? And she was like, 'bet.' At the time, this song [Goon] wasnt even done, but I knew I wanted this song to be the single. So we got the song banged out and she was like, 'Man, lets get it done,' you know what Im saying?
Rapzilla: And can you tell us a little bit about the song?
J'son: Yeah. The song is called Goon. Its myself, Thi'sl and AD3 on the track. And a goon is just a dude in the hood - dudes who hustle, dudes who tote burners, just hood dudes thats what a goon is. So the whole song is saying, you not a goon. God didnt make you to be a goon; God didnt make you to be in the hood; God didnt make you to waste your life just selling dope. You know what Im saying? Like, you not that. But the concept of the verses is like, yo, I know that because I was a goon. I was in the hood shooting burners; I was in the hood selling dope; I was in the hood posted everyday. And I realized that God didnt make me to be that, you know what Im saying? And now Im yelling at every dude thats there like, He didnt make you to do that.
Rapzilla: Amen to that. Sounds like a powerful message and just even seeing all these people who are part of that lifestyle getting this song beaten into their heads cause its playing all day long. I definitely think thats gonna have a real impact up here, man.
J'son: I think its dope. Im not from Chicago [but] I wanted it to be in the hood. Veronicas from Chicago, so thats why we shot the video here. But Im like, I wanna be in the hood. I want the hood where dudes really selling dope, where dudes really posted at. So I think its won the protection of the Lord, the grace of the Lord, that these dudes out here, like these dudes goons for real. They let us post in their hood, shoot this video - these dudes, they was willing to be organized for a short time for us. Thats the Lords grace. And while doing so they hearing the song, we chopping it up with dudes, I mean so thats our heart, you know what Im saying, thats what I wanna do. We talk about reaching the streets, but we gotta be there with them dudes. And I can just see them dudes, they cant believe we here. Like the first couple dudes we walked up to, they was like, 'Dag dawg, cats dont come down here doing this,' you know what Im saying? So me and Thi'sl was able to chop it up with them like, yo, this our heart, you know what Im saying?
Rapzilla: Amen to that man. Just shifting gears real quick I just wanted to applaud you cause you are mad involved in this video shoot! I was like man they need to give Json co-director credit on this man. (laughter)
J'son: Amen dog, thats my personality. Im just like an out front, outgoing dude so it could be tying shoe strings and Ill be like, 'Tie it like this!' Its just my personality yo.
Rapzilla: Ah, thats whats up, man. So do you think here is a future for you in video directing?
J'son: Naw, I dont got the patience for it. (Laughter) I dont got the patience, like I couldnt sit and just do it, you know what Im saying?
Rapzilla: Thats whats up, man. And you been rolling with Lampmode for a little bit now. So how is that relationship been so far?
J'son: Its been banging man. [DJ] Essence is an amazing dude, dog, like dude loves the Lord, dude is just a good dude man, I cant front. Its been beautiful working with Essence, getting to know him a lot more. And even shai [linne] man and so its just been dope man the Lord is just a beast, so its been real good.
Rapzilla: So have they played a big part in the making of the upcoming album?
J'son: Yeah, I mean in terms of artistically, is that what you mean?
Rapzilla: Yeah, like artistically and just kinda like business wise also.
J'son: Definitely! Business wise everything has been handled by them. Artistically, I took a different approach with this album not just with them but just as a whole. Everybody has been filtering through [the music] Like what do you think about this? Like, help me make this into a good album. So I send it to certain dudes, dudes dissect it, a lot of stuff gets scrapped, a lot of stuff gets used. And thats kinda been the process and yeah they have helped with that process.
Rapzilla: Thats whats up and I know youre pressed for time, but what can people expect from this album?
J'son: I worked real hard man, on flow. Like just riding beats, making good music. Like fitting with the tracks that I chose. Thats number one. Number two, artistically I was just real picky about my production so you gonna get a range of stuff like dudes probably wouldve never expected me to do. You know what Im saying? So thats been a big part of it. Like I just wanted to pick beats I liked. Number three is I picked music based off the emotion that it made me feel. So I wanted the album to get different emotional feels and I wanted different beats to provoke those different emotional feels. Last but not least, the album is two fold in that its evangelistic unlike Life on Life, but its also geared toward the believer, so you gonna kinda get both sides of that. You gonna kinda get a peek into my life. But more so, you just gonna hear me addressing dudes who came from the environment I came from.
Rapzilla: And the album is dropping when?
J'son: The album drops July the 20th [itll] be in stores everywhere, so we pushing hard man.
Rapzilla: July 20th. And because we talked about it a little yesterday, can we get the title of the album?
J'son: Title of the album, is 'City Lights.' Thats the title of the album. And the whole concept behind it is kinda three fold. Number one, God calls us to be a light in our city. Thats number one. Every believer, no matter where you are, no matter where you from are called to be a light in that area in that city. Number two, when light is not present in a place, its gonna be dark and we talking spiritually dark. So thats with songs that talk about the hood come from. Like yo its dark here. And number three, time will come when Christ, the ultimate Light; He will be the Light as it says in Revelation and we wont have to be city lights anymore. We wont have to evangelize, there wont be anymore dark. He will be the ultimate Light.
Rapzilla: That is deep!
J'son: That is the overall idea of the album, but theres not really a concept to the project. Just every song is conveying that heart.
Rapzilla: Praise God for that and thank you very much for your time.
J'son: No problem man, appreciate it.
You can follow J'son on Twitter @Json116