Interview – J’son: Ex Goon To City Lights

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 he’s doing. Who is Json? Maybe you’ve heard him on one of Flame’s four albums. Maybe you’ve 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 I’m here with J’son on the set of his “Goon” video shoot.

J’son: Yessir!

Rapzilla: How you feeling, man?

J’son: I’m feeling good, man. I’m excited. Man, I’m just blown away by the Lord and His work. I’m 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 don’t we just shoot a video for that? You know what I’m saying? And she was like, ‘bet.’ At the time, this song [“Goon”] wasn’t 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, let’s get it done,’ you know what I’m saying?

Rapzilla: And can you tell us a little bit about the song?

J’son: Yeah. The song is called “Goon.” It’s 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 – that’s what a ‘goon’ is. So the whole song is saying, you not a goon. God didn’t make you to be a goon; God didn’t make you to be in the hood; God didn’t make you to waste your life just selling dope. You know what I’m 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 didn’t make me to be that, you know what I’m saying? And now I’m yelling at every dude that’s there like, He didn’t 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 it’s playing all day long. I definitely think that’s gonna have a real impact up here, man.

J’son: I think it’s dope. I’m not from Chicago [but] I wanted it to be in the hood. Veronica’s from Chicago, so that’s why we shot the video here. But I’m like, I wanna be in the hood. I want the hood where dudes really selling dope, where dudes really posted at. So I think it’s 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. That’s the Lord’s grace. And while doing so they hearing the song, we chopping it up with dudes, I mean so that’s our heart, you know what I’m saying, that’s 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 can’t believe we here. Like the first couple dudes we walked up to, they was like, ‘Dag dawg, cats don’t come down here doing this,’ you know what I’m saying? So me and Thi’sl was able to chop it up with them like, yo, this our heart, you know what I’m 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 J’son co-director credit on this man.’ (laughter)

J’son: Amen dog, that’s my personality. I’m just like an out front, outgoing dude so it could be tying shoe strings and I’ll be like, ‘Tie it like this!’ It’s just my personality yo.

Rapzilla: Ah, that’s what’s up, man. So do you think here is a future for you in video directing?

J’son: Naw, I don’t got the patience for it. (Laughter) I don’t got the patience, like I couldn’t sit and just do it, you know what I’m saying?


Rapzilla: That’s what’s up, man. And you been rolling with Lampmode for a little bit now. So how is that relationship been so far?

J’son: It’s been banging man. [DJ] Essence is an amazing dude, dog, like dude loves the Lord, dude is just a good dude man, I can’t front. It’s been beautiful working with Essence, getting to know him a lot more. And even shai [linne] man and so it’s just been dope man the Lord is just a beast, so it’s 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 that’s kinda been the process and yeah they have helped with that process.

Rapzilla: That’s what’s up and I know you’re 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. That’s number one. Number two, artistically I was just real picky about my production so you gonna get a range of stuff like dudes probably would’ve never expected me to do. You know what I’m saying? So that’s 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 it’s evangelistic unlike “Life on Life,” but it’s 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 [it’ll] 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.’ That’s 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. That’s 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, it’s gonna be dark and we talking spiritually dark. So that’s with songs that talk about the hood come from. Like yo it’s 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 won’t have to be city lights anymore. We won’t have to evangelize, there won’t be anymore dark. He will be the ultimate Light.

Rapzilla: That is deep!

J’son: That is the overall idea of the album, but there’s 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

Chad Horton

Written by Chad Horton

Chad Horton has been in the music business since 2000 with a focus on digital distribution, streaming, playlisting, and social media marketing. Chad is currently a Partnership Producer at working with clients such as Blizzard Entertainment, Google Pixel, and more. Chad also owns and operates Originally from Northern California, Chad became a San Diego resident in 2004 where he currently resides with his wife and children.

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