Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
Record label: Stones Throw
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, West Coast Rap, Left-Field Hip-Hop
Previously known as an underground hip-hop beatmaker, Rap Album One is the aptly titled effort where Southern California artist Jonwayne introduces himself as an MC. The cover artwork is apt as well, as the bloke is entirely crackers, spitting out bizarre non-sequiturs that often string together to form vivid pictures, like when "The Come Up, Pt. 2" puts the listener in a high school home room with a young, frustrated, above-it-all Jonwayne, and then at his after-school gig at the video game store.
Rap Album One is 23-year-old LA-based rapper Jonwayne’s long-awaited “debut” Rap release on Stones Throw records—aptly titled after an incredibly productive five years in the music industry spawning three cassette format mixtapes, two full-length instrumental albums, and a handful of self-released EPs, demos, and digital mixtapes. First gaining notoriety on the LA experimental beat scene as a producer, the seemingly introverted Wayne has unveiled more of himself with each successive project, and for many, Rap Album One will be a formal introduction to Wayne’s beats, rhymes, and life. Speaking to the success of Wayne and Stones Throw’s history of physical releases (cassettes and vinyl), it only makes sense that Rap Album One is reminiscent of the days of more interactive music listening.
MC Jonwayne first gained recognition through the groundbreaking Low End Theory nights in Los Angeles as a producer. Through a series of mixtapes and other releases, such as his Cassette series and the sinister piano-laced heat rock "Ode to Mortality"(curiously omitted here), he established himself as a capable MC. Jonwayne's flow is verbose, cerebral and free-associative by nature; toss in the gruff delivery, and the MF Doom comparisons are inevitable.
There are many ways of loving hip-hop, but there's one in particular that most fans go through at some point that involves thinking really hard. Listen the right way, and the music turns into this fantastic puzzle, or maybe an equation that works out just so: Hook the beat up, convert it into hip-hop form, write a rhyme, etc. There's a specific kind of hip-hop that tends to fit this mindset best, in which the lyrics are geared in equal parts toward head and record scratching, the beats put you in a zone, and the only possible reaction is turn to your (perhaps equally stoned) friend and say "that's dope.
In the 2003 movie American Splendor, Paul Giamatti’s character Harvey discusses the merits of the movie Revenge of the Nerds with Judah Friedlander’s character Toby. Harvey is curious as to what movie could be worth driving 260 miles for, to which Toby replies by giving an explanation of the movie’s uplifting nerds vs jocks moral. Harvey quickly follows: “So what you’re saying is, you identify with those nerds?” Toby replies: “Yes I consider myself a nerd”, with the exact vocal intonation and delivery you’d expect from a character made to represent everything that is cliché, with a pinch of truth, about the American ideal of the nerd.
Jonwayne Rap Album One (Stones Throw) L.A.'s Jonwayne has a background in electronic music, which makes sense when you consider the richness of the Angeleno beat scene. Over the last few years, he's been focusing on rap, nurturing the hypnotic gruffness of his voice and curating a variety of serious, art-school beats. Rap Album One, his debut effort, plays like a warm weed-dream.