“Articulate. Outspoken. Father. Husband. Emcee. Meet John Crown.”
Ever since I ran across this little ditty over at the good Deacon’s pulpit, I’ve been dying to “Meet John Crown.” Maybe it’s the Tacoma ties…maybe it’s the pure ease of his delivery…or, maybe it’s just lines like this: “They go to the lab, smoke some weed and write a hook/but I got more to say than them, I need to write a book.” Whatever it is, one listen to this viral snippet, and I was sure I wanted to hear more.
Lucky for me – and for you – “more” just became available today. John Crown’s Before I Wake You Up is a six-song EP serving as a proper introduction to this emcee from the 253. Over a year in the making, with a break from the game in between, this offering is a glass of cold water to the face of those that keep hitting “snooze.” Of course, Crown accepts there will always be Rip Van Winkles - “Used to the sleepers/so now I ignore them snoring,” - but it won’t be from lack of effort on his part.
Every single track is filled with “rewinders,” (but don’t stop and go back in the middle of a cut, just put it on repeat and you’ll be able to hear what you missed as you find yourself listening over and over again). With throwback storytelling skills, verbal dexterity, plus an unbridled – and apparently re-energized (see: “The Love”) – passion for the art, this “King of the Common Man” lyrically beats you into submission across a slew of big beats.
Local South-Sounders DJ Semaj, Enstrumental, TrussOne and Xplicit provide the soundtrack to this journey, and they do it very well. Here’s the thing about that: if I didn’t tell you these guys were local, you’d never know…or, maybe you would – after all, the Northwest is a veritable producer hotbed!! Plenty of brass, bass, strings and samples prove the perfect backdrop for Crown’s debut effort.
On the real, Before I Wake You Up is more than a T-Town gem – this EP should be welcomed everywhere. Everywhere they work hard (“How you ‘posed to dream when you can’t even sleep? / Wake up, wake up / Now it’s time to go to work / and you find it difficult ‘cause they don’t pay you what you worth”); everywhere they value honest, well-told life-stories; shit, everywhere they listen to music, Crown should be a topic of discussion after this one.
So go ‘head then: stop hittin’ “snooze” and meet John Crown…you’ll be glad you did. Besides, you don’t want to be the cat who’s still sleepin’ in early 2011, sayin’ “Who’s John Crown?” when Coffee and Beats hits – do you?!? It’s rhetorical, dick.
P.S. – Follow him on twitter. Fucking Comical. What you got against Ochocinco, John?