I arranged for the interview with John through is manager and when he told me that he was going to be in North  Hills (the valley if people aren’t familiar with Los Angeles) I was a bit taken back.

When you think of a rapper you usually think of urban surroundings. The city, highrises… not the valley. We had planned to get a beer at a local bar off the 101 freeway at 11 in the morning, but the bar was closed so we ended going to a Starbucks next door. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I had never talked to a rapper in my life but I knew I really liked his music and what he was trying to do with it.

John is immediately warm and welcoming, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I think you automatically sense that he has a great sense of humor and has so many interesting stories to tell. He reminded me of what a Jazz musician would be like, very cool, collected, and at ease with his surroundings. He is really an entertainer at heart and wants to involve you in his stories. He has amazing stories too, like going to the Good Life Cafe and rapping with big names from the Pharcyde, Jurrasic 5, Will.i.am. It was really interesting getting his take on rap today and how the industry has changed for the better or worse.

You sometimes go into these interviews with a lot of perceptions and expectations of what these people will be like and it never fails that every person I have interviewed has been completly different than what you expect. Maybe you go in expecting a rapper to live a certain lifestyle and have certain interests and you find out John loves playing with his little daughter, going to the mall with his wife, and reads Charles Bukowski.

To get a better idea what John’s offbeat personality is like here is a poem by Charles Bukowski, someone he was influenced by in his youth:

Love & Fame & Death

it sits outside my window now
like and old woman going to market;
it sits and watches me,
it sweats nevously
through wire and fog and dog-bark
until suddenly
I slam the screen with a newspaper
like slapping at a fly
and you could hear the scream
over this plain city,
and then it left.

the way to end a poem
like this
is to become suddenly

Read the full interview with John here.