Souche interviews rising NoVA artist JHN$N
Souche: JHN$N! Pleasure to finally sit down with you, please introduce yourself to everyone!
JHN$N: I appreciate y’all having me. i’m JHN$N, I’m a recording artist, beatmaker, engineer and designer. I just love art forreal.
Souche: Prior to your debut under JHN$N you released 4 projects, what made you change your identity?
JHN$N: I felt as though I grew as a person, and matured musically into my true self.
Souche: Where are you from? (Explain your city)
JHN$N: I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, but moved to Loudoun County, Va when I was 9. Loudoun is typical Suburbia, not a city at all. At first I used to think it was weird and corny around here but as I grew up I realized I should make the best out of it, and came to find out its a really dope place as I matured. Overall it’s a chill place, alot of trees and good weed so it’s love!!
Souche: You first stood out to us by your name.. how is it pronounce & how did you come about making up your name?
JHN$N: My name is pronounced “Johnson”, and it came about simply because it’s my last name. I used to go by Cookie Huxtable when I was first in the game, but felt as though I grew out of that name so I changed it to Johnson Huxtable. Then shortened it to JHN$N.
Souche: What made you want to get in to making music?/how long have you been making music?
JHN$N: Just growing up listening to DMX, Ice Cube, Nas, Jay-Z and all that 90’s shit riding around in my Pop’s Jeep growing up. Him, my brother, and I freestyling to beats he had on tape. I’ve pretty much always written/rapped since I can remember, its always been something I’ve been exposed to I guess. But I started seriously recording music about 5 years ago now.
Souche: You recently came back from SXSW, did you get to perform? how was the experience?
JHN$N: Yeah I performed at Legally Loud 4 hosted by The Source Magazine and Starting Five, it was a crazy experience, so lit. I learned alot about the game and about what I want to do as a performing artist. Shoutout Sprat, Starting Five, Buzzy Baker and The Source. I also went with my brother HANNIBAL, to hype man his performance at a amazing event thrown by The Rarehouse, shout out CKENT and everybody fucking with the Rarehouse movement. Go peep some of HANNIBALS music on SC, he’s also from VA.
Souche: What do you think needs to be done for Virginia to finally get the respect we deserve musically?
JHN$N: Honestly I think what you guys are doing with Virginia Got Now is exactly what we have needed for YEARS. I think as y’all movement continues to grow, and connect the talented artists in VA , as it has been doing, we will all start to eat forreal. Thanks for doing what youre doing. At this point its just a matter of time in my opinion. But I do think us artists can do a better job branching out to each other and collaborating our efforts to put the state where it needs to be faster.
Souche: We’re seeing a breakout year in the VA scene for your area (nova), what are your thoughts on the movement?
JHN$N: Man, I honestly have so much love for everyone doing art coming out of VA. I think it’s been a long time coming, but all of our hard work is finally being recognized on a grander scale. I think it’s beautiful.
Souche: You speak mostly unfiltered and raw in your music. Where does that transparency come from?
JHN$N: Just life, like I said I grew up in a rougher, more straightforward environment, where people are 100% real with you all the time. I’ve always been told that I conduct myself in that manner, and it definitely comes through in my music because my music is from the heart.
Souche: Anyone can tell on first notice your Virginia box logo & throwing up the VA sign. Why is it so important to you to emphasize and rep where you’re from?
JHN$N: That’s the first line from my clothing line Don’t Change. Limited, I feel it’s important to rep where I’m from simply because Virginia has shaped me into who I am, whether I like it or not. I think it’s important for everyone to rep where their from hard, and put on for those of us that haven’t made a name yet.
Souche: You’ve got a few tracks on your soundcloud & have been hinting at more. Updates on upcoming work?
JHN$N: Definitely, I always have music in the vaults, I make a new song or two everyday. As far as new work, i have a project coming out soon entitled “bedroom studio sessions”, it’s inspired by the culture, the 90’s inspired aspect of it. Its gonna be a project more based around the artistry of hiphop, responsible writing, bars, and no wave riding, just music from the soul. That Nokia rap shit, Motorola tones . Hahah i might change the name to one of those so don’t steal my shit!!
Souche: Some of your favorite lyrics?
JHN$N: “The world is yours”-Nasir Jones
Souche: Inspiration behind your debut No Rest? Over 2,000 combined plays and good reception
JHN$N: Really that song just came out of nowhere, I was trying to expand my sound at the time from the boombap style I used to exclusively do, I was working at a really easy job as I a cook so I’d be cool showing up to work off like 3 hours of sleep, so for about a year I was always up all night just working on new sounds and beats and art in general. That lifestyle/work ethic inspired the lyrics.