Jonwayne came onto the Los Angeles music scene by way of the east Los Angeles club Low End Theory circa 2008-09, then emerging as the epicentre of a new generation of hip-hop beat makers: Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Nosaj Thing, Kutmah, Daedelus. Fresh out of high school, Jonwayne jumped in with homemade rap mixtapes and immersed himself in the scene. “It felt like a golden age,” he says, “it was very inspiring.”
He first became known as a producer, releasing the instrumental albumBowser (2011) – but it was his over-sized skill on the mic that caught the attention of Stones Throw’s Peanut Butter Wolf, who signed him to record an album as an MC.
As Jon set to work on his debut rap project, he let his presence be known with a series of tapes: Cassette, Cassette 2 and Cassette 3. Each was unplanned, the releases prompted by Jon’s prolific output. And by this time even lawyers for the tobacco conglomerate Phillip Morris took notice of Jonwayne, serving him with a cease & desist notice for a cassette that looked like a pack of Marlboros.
Jon Wayne is the MC/producer’s birth name. The Hollywood cowboy, John Wayne (real name Marion Morrison) took his famous screen name from Jonwayne’s great-great-great-great-great uncle, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, a player in the American Revolutionary War. True story. Now Jonwayne’s taking back the name – what goes around comes around.
Photo by Renee Stamatis
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