In a place where the music scene is dominated with Central and South American influence, upcoming Miami based rapper Jon M.A is making waves for raw hip hop. Having just dropped his mixtape dubbed ‘Barry Saunders x Ned Flanders,’ Stimulate Your Soul decided it was time to introduce Jon M.A to the rest of the world. We discuss why his recent release portrays two-sides to his personality, why the music scene in Miami suffers from saturation and what you can expect from his recent mixtape. Margaret Tra writes.
How did you begin rapping?
I always enjoyed hip hop, but growing up in Miami, we were heavily influenced by down South artists. I remember when I was in high school in the middle of the last decade, Lil' Wayne was everything, and the screw movement in Texas was hitting us down here too. But I was never inspired to rap from that music. I messed around and would freestyle at times, but never seriously. When I graduated high school, I had kind of a hip hop renaissance. I became addicted to 90's classics and modern classics like Lupe Fiasco's ‘Food and Liquor' and Common's 'Be,' which weren't exactly in rotation down here.
From that inspiration I started to take the craft more seriously, and people around me saw raw ability, so I kept going.
Tell us about your next project?
I just dropped my debut mixtape 'Barry Sanders X Ned Flanders' on 6th November. It's a mixtape’s mixtape. I have a little bit of everything in there, from classic instrumentals, to original production to some alternative beat selection. I wanted to showcase other sides to me than traditional hip hop, which is the foundation of the project regardless. As far as the name, I'm a big Simpsons and Barry Sanders fan, but when it comes down to it, it's not about the good and bad, or positive and negative personal 'alter ego' type of thing. Its two equally fascinating portrayals of myself.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Andre 3000. I would want to be challenged. I would want to be forced to bring out the best in myself, and if I was on a track with that man, I'd have no choice. He's a master of the craft, not just as a rapper, but his ability to craft a verse creatively in terms of structure. So not only would you have to bring the bars, but you better deliver them correct as well.
Who inspires you?
A short list includes Erykah Badu and Mahatma Ghandi, but people in my everyday life inspire me more. A dude I rap alongside with in the Cool Peeple crew, Fred. E Andre, is in touch spiritually in ways I don't
comprehend sometimes. People in my everyday life who have the courage to chase their dreams, or overcome obstacles in a positive way are enough inspiration.
How do you feel about Eminem’s come back?
He's always going to be a freak in terms of rap skill. Undeniable wordplay and wit. He's always going to have that going for him. Overall, he's still ‘Em.’
What's the music scene like in Miami?
It’s remarkably distinct. Let's break us down musically. We're a city in the South with a lot of Central and South American influence, Island and Latin cultures, and it's a mecca for electronic party music. If I
had to isolate hip hop, I would say Miami and all of South Florida has a lot to offer, but also suffers from some over saturation. We have to stick together and unite more. The city could use more collaboration
from the pockets of movements everywhere. Our potential is enormous. I love being here.
What Stimulates Your Soul?
Science Fiction, specifically philosophical novels Stimulates my soul. My favourite book ever is: 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn, and is a must read by our entire race. I like kissing too. Latino people are very passionate, and kissing with a compatible woman is a dope connection. Sample-based ambient music is
another thing. The list could really go on for a long time.
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