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Jon Connor, The People’s Rapper

Just two months ago, Jon Connor put his lyrical spin on Jay-Z’s classic instrumentals for The Blue Album. Now, the Detroit native is back with The People’s Rapper, a tape featuring reinventions of gems from Eminem’s catalog. Similar to The Blue Album, Connor terminates every beat with his own flare. At times, though, his bars are overshadowed by the timeless lyrics that made the beats famous in the first place. Despite his failure to completely fill the shoes of the legends he’s chasing, Connor does justice to Em on The People’s Rapper, showcasing his unique style while paying homage to the rhymes that inspired it.

“This good rap, I know you ain’t heard this shit in a while/You needed that real shit, I hope you’re listening now,” Connor spits on “Til I Collapse,” using a variation of the flow Eminem used in 2002 for the Eminem Show standout. He goes on to dismantle “Just Don’t Give a Fuck,” with rhymes as clever as Em’s in his prime. The Flint, MI native even manages to evoke similar emotions as the original on “Lose Yourself,” without the drama of a motion picture.

The Slim Shady-reincarnate’s don’t give a fuck attitude is on display throughout the tape, as he uses allusions to old Shady rhymes to tell his own story. On “Cleaning Out My Closet,” Connor utilizes Em’s flow to channel his own struggle. Yet, despite Connor’s tough blue-collar journey, at times, it pales in comparison to Marshall Mathers’ absurd story. The struggles of an upcoming rapper are many, but Connor’s narrative seems a bit more customary when matched up with the demons Em releases on the original version.

Other times, he is able to overcome the shadow of the original tracks and create refreshingly original concepts. On “Stan,” Connor flips roles with Em and plays the obsessive fan writing a fan letter to his idols 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. “I used to scream the words to ‘Juicy’ ’til my voice went hoarse,” raps Connor. “Now my momma smile when she see my face in The Source.”

Overall, Connor’s message is clear: I’m ready to play with the big boys. With constant references to slights and his memories of being overlooked, it is clear that he is growing impatient with his current spot in the game. “I want labels bashful like, ‘How we get this guy get away?’” he boasts on “Til I Collapse.” “Like, imagine all the muthafuckas that passed on Jay/Or the labels that heard ‘Jesus Walks’ and passed on ’Ye/I bet they still kickin’ theyself in they ass, to this day.” He plans to make them feel the same way. The trouble with taking a legend’s beats is that you will inevitably be compared to them. And while Jon Connor definitely holds his own, in the future, when he branches out and continues developing his own sound instead of leaning on the legacies of others, his value as an emerging artist will become even more evident. —Calvin Stovall

  • Me

    this is a great tape and shows his skills but how the hell does it get the same review as wack rappers with nothing to say like french ace hood tyga etc

    you need to sort your reviews out

    and this is coming from someone who used to buy xxl back in the day up untill 2004 then i stopped

  • http://facebook.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    oooouieee, this sh*t chunkkkky

  • droooo

    nigga needs to set his head straight. this dude should be taking ill beats from whack rappers and make himself look good. verse for verse, the best niggas in the game, let alone this guy is worse than eminem. dude has bodied every beat he’s spit on (aside from maybe touchdown) and this nigga’s spitting on marshall’s best songs. that shit dont make you look good. props for not being absolute shit but you dont spit lines over a beat that’s already been ripped

    • Pacer

      ^^^ The Fuck? Talk english please.

      Good tape. Got its point across & definitely shows the skills that Connor certainly posseses. Too many people are sleeping on Jon Connor….!!

      • droooo

        for white people: this fellow needs to rethink his style. he should be using great beats from bad rappers, this would make him look good. verse for verse, the best people who are rapping are worse than eminem, let alone this newcomer. eminem has written an amazing verse for any beat he’s rapped over (perhaps he was not so great on the song touchdown by t.i.) this man is rapping over the beats to eminem’s best songs. that does not make him look good. he deserves credit for not doing the beats so much injustice, but he shouldn’t be rapping over a beat that someone has already made a great song with

        • Pacer

          Its a mixtape man. You think he’s going to drop all his own beats on a free mixtape? Not likely. Whats the point of doing a verse over a “bad rappers good beat”. People will just think its shit any way cause of the history of the track.
          Connor has plenty of good verses & flows over most of these tracks. You might have noticed if you sat down & listened!

  • 810Born

    Not Detroit born…Jon Connor is from Flint