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Style - Kicks and Gear / Jan 16, 2013 / 12:45 pm

Rising Hip-Hop Star Jon Connor On His Style: “I’m Going to Blake Griffin Your Ass. I’m Going to Sh*t on You.”

Jon Connor

Sometimes the hardest workers go unnoticed. While some rappers lust for the plush accessories to signal their success, others crave the more admirable things. It isn’t the latest cars or gaudy jewelry that fuels Jon Connor‘s drive. His guile alongside his poignant wordplay are his marquee attributes in this competitive rap world. He isn’t as cocky as other rappers. He doesn’t twist his fingers symbolizing any gang affiliations. He doesn’t delve in the latest dance craze in hopes of garnering attention. He just destroys tracks. Point blank. Producers alley-oop beats over to Connor – and like he eloquently said during this interview – he Blake Griffins the living crap out of those tracks.

Repping Flint, Michigan, Jon Connor is on the precipice of success. He’s received co-signs from many notable artists such as Nas, Busta Rhymes and Game for his talent. He’s backed by his big brother – former Michigan State great Mateen Cleaves. He’s respected by his peers for being the voracious wordsmith that he is. Yet, Connor still has more under his sleeves for 2013 as he has two mixtapes on the way.

In this interview with Dime, he talks about his relationship with Mateen Cleaves, hopes of being a XXL Freshman, his goals for 2013 and more.

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Dime: 2012 was a big year for you. You were probably one of the hardest working artists that year coming out with four to five mixtapes. What’s the blueprint for Jon Connor this year in 2013?
Jon Connor: Yes man. Thank you. I appreciate that. You know what? My mentality a lot of times is to hustle, grind and forget about it. I just act like it didn’t happen. You know, I dropped a bunch of music in 2012, but that was 2012, you know what I’m saying? My intentions are to move forward. Whatever I did last year is to do that, but 10 times. I can’t just get hung up on what I did. I do believe that probably nobody did outwork me last year. I just plan on upping the ante this year for myself. I look at myself like whatever I did, I want to go 10 times harder. I want to take it to another level. If it was five projects last year, this year it’s going to be 10. I’m going to have fun doing it and keep giving the people what they love from me. That’s my way of giving back to the people and showing the fans I do love what I do.

Dime: I was just on your Facebook Page and I see that you’re definitely prepping for that XXL Freshman Class spot. Why do you feel you deserve to be a XXL Freshman for the Class of 2013?
JC: First and foremost man, for the people at XXL I love them and I thank them. They always support me in everything I do. Anytime I put something up, they always post it. They’ve been very supportive of everything I’ve done. But the thing is I don’t expect nothing. I work because I love what I do. I’m passionate about what I do. The thing is I don’t have expectations. You know, I didn’t work as hard as I did last year specifically for that. It’s because I love what I do. But, if can find somebody who worked as hard as me or harder than me, I’d love to meet them. (Laughs) I do feel that I work hard. The freshman class thing I do think that’s something that all new artists have on their mind. We do live in a day and age where it’s all about exposure, co-signs, and getting the awareness. That would be a beautiful thing to be on that cover. That would be gangsta because of course it would take the awareness to another level. But, I’m going to let the people make their decision and with that being said, show me somebody who worked harder than me, and I’ll shake their hand. (Laughs)

Dime: We touched on this before Con, and I remember you having the co-signs in Nas, Game and Busta. Do you feel even though you have the work ethic and the co-signs, that your skills are still being undermined?
JC: You know what? I don’t know. Like being the “People’s Rapper,” anything that the people thought about, I’ve thought about. I don’t know. I guess the way I’m doing it is kind of different from a lot of artists. Like these days, almost every new artist has a huge co-sign. When I say co-sign, I mean like they have their arm around them like “You should listen to his person.” I look at it like sometimes it’s whack that we live in a time period that’s like that. You know what I’m saying? Like somebody probably won’t even click on an artist’s name on a blog because a bigger artist hasn’t co-signed him. That’s really jammed in everybody’s head that you should listen to that person. The way I’m doing mine is sort of like the old fashioned way. Even with the co-signs that I have – which I’m very thankful for – at the same time, it wasn’t like I was at even radio interview with Nas or I was on TV with Busta. I still look at the way I’m doing it as the old fashioned way because I’m building my name on my own merit. I don’t know but I do believe that everybody’s time comes. It’s just an awareness thing. I do think in 2013, there’s a lot of things you guys are going to see with the moves I’m going to make.

Dime: What many may not know is your close-knit relationship with Michigan State legend Mateen Cleaves. Talk about how that relationship came about.
JC: Yeah that’s my big brother. My relationship with Mo Cleaves started six years ago. I was performing at a little bar in Flint. There was probably like 20 people in there but I was performing like there was 30,000 or something. That’s the way he always tells the story. I was going hard like I was at the Grammy’s or something. I remember that night when he saw me; it was funny because he had my CD for a year prior to that but he never ran across me or whatever. When we finally met, he was like, “Man! You’re Jon Connor?” I’m like “Yeah.” He was like, “Dog, I’ve been looking for you for like a year.” He appreciated and respected my craft before he even met me. When he met me, he was like, “I know great when I see great. I know the it when I see it. You know what, I’m going to do what I need to do to get you where you need to be.” He said, “You need to be on TV. You need to be around your peers.” I appreciate him saying that because he was somebody who mastered his skill and was great at what he did. It was like an amazing feeling especially being from Flint and what he’s done with the Flintstones with him, Mo Peterson, Charlie Bell and Antonio Smith. They were like our folk heroes. So for him to have a fine bond with me and telling me I deserve to be in better places in life, he never went back on his word. To this day, he’s still my brother and my partner alongside my other bro, Young Sav. It was like he ain’t ever went back on my brother. That’s my big brother, my mentor.

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  • core Bean

    Honestly, I hate rap music, but after trying a few of his tracks, I have to thank Dime for the tip. Connor definitely has something good going on. Thanx.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.a.lamarre Carl Anthony Lamarre

    He’s definitely a gem.