KUMD Album Review: Jonwayne

Mar 15, 2017

Credit Jonwayne

Jonwayne | Rap Album Two

Jon Wayne is a rapper from California who kicked himself off the football team and into the theater group at his high school. Stepping off the sports field and into one filled with words and expression was his first into becoming Jonwayne. Sharing the same stage name as the actor is actually a homage to his ancestor from the American Revolutionary War: General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.

A quick flash of this burly, white guy wouldn’t give off the air of a hip hop artist, but Jonwayne is a wordsmith who fully accepts the challenge of existing outside the rap persona stereotype. Taking a step back from performing, Rap Album Two follows the psyche of Jonwayne’s self-care journey through the vices produced by a dangerous mixture of loneliness and apathy.

“LIVE From The F*** You” starts off with a conversation between himself and a person in the crowd backstage. A random guy from the crowd starts questioning his legitimacy as a rapper, while at the same time trying to get Jonwayne to perform a song for his girlfriend. The aftermath? A left handed compliment neatly wrapped in verses, "I appreciate your love and support, but keep it moving before I ruin me for you. One love and all that, I just humored you now let me get back.”

Jonwayne’s lucid ability to spit life into the words he writes without putting up any kind of front is hard to find, especially in a genre whose cornerstone as of late has been flashy quips and boasts dipped in fake gold. “Out of Sight” bares it all out on the line, a pensive flow of Jonwayne’s darkest demons come to light in the forms of alcoholism, sobering up and his unhealthy instinct to self-destruct. He oozes out the unstable layers that make up the world inside his head.

“Afraid of us” is Jonwayne’s formal apology and expressed gratitude to the friends and family who picked him out from under a bottle and back behind a pen. “Yo, look at these people counting on me when I can't even count on myself. Look at these homies, so sure of me when I'm not so sure of myself. I need help, but I'm too damn proud to stop the progress now. I need to slow down but I need a good friend to come and tell me how”

Rap Album Two reads like a memoir Jonwayne wrote about his old self. The genuine thoughts and feelings come pouring out song after song, leaving listeners to remember that this audio journal doubles as a rap album too.