Jonwayne – “Minerals & Gems”

Here’s another fun one!

Jonwayne (no relation to the actor…well, maybe?) is an L.A.-based producer and rapper who has caught attention and praise in the underground for his work, beginning with his 2011 instrumental debut record Bowser, and later with his rap records like 2013’s Rap Album One. His sound is rather unconventional, with sparse beats, unconventional samples, and sometimes hostile sounds. Odd and off-kilter, but they keep you on your toes. It’s a great match for his lyrics, which are frank, full of punchlines, boasts, and in-jokes. Jon hasn’t been in the game long, but he shows plenty of promise.

Which is why he titled his latest EP Jonwayne is Retired. Leaving it ambiguous he’s already gotten a few fans to wonder if he’s left the game entirely, but nah, he’s just messing with you. The EP is short but sweet, with some standout tracks and peculiar moments, even a notable guest in Anderson .Paak, but it’s this little gem right here which caused me to pay more attention to what he has to offer. “Minerals & Gems” for me scratches an itch which sorely needs to be scratched in 2016: Demented battle rap. On this one, over a lethargic beat that moves in fits and starts Jon goes off, delivering great brags and boasts and jokes and endlessly dope quotables. This listen is fun, weird, and awesome, all at the same time, and pretty memorable with some of the lines Jon hits ya with. My favorite verse goes like:

It’s popping like the opera when I get this head
But when I get this bread, call me the phantom of the pasta!
Kafka-esque, your wallet look like it’s doin’ the Atkins
My mind’s spread like tough actin’ Tinactin
You gotta drop the mic when you talk about back then
This isn’t back then, no country for whack men
Don’t let me justify my terrible action…

Ha! No country for whack men, indeed. Now that’s one to remember. Hell, even the moment at the end where his buddy in the studio hauls off and gets pissed at him never fails to bring a smile to my face!