You have probably heard the track Fire by Lon Jon. You’ve probably heard She’s So Beautiful, Slow Down (featuring SA rapper HHP), Gibberish (featuring Tumi) Bangin’ On ‘Em, Grown and Sexy (featuring Amina), Fire, December, his new record Drinking and Driving maybe? The beat was a remake of Justin Bieber’s All That Matters. Still have no idea what I’m talking about?
She’s So Beautiful
Hip Hopreneur Buddha Blaze was the one who connected Lon Jon to Tumi when he had come to record Coke Studio Africa. He was still the same guy to link LJ up with HHP when he came to perform at Nairobi Rapsody after walking all the way from South Africa for his initiative, Daraja Walk which was meant to bridge the gap between African countries and people.
Grown and Sexy
Drinking and Driving
Well, maybe if I mention a couple of covers he’s done you’ll understand what and who I’m talking about. Go Get It was his cover to T.I’s banger with the same name. Run The City was the remake of South African rapper AKA’s Run Jozi.
Go Get It
Run The City
AKA’s second album, Levels, had Run Jozi on it and it go so much hype so Lon Jon decided that it would be a good idea to do the remake just to show that the 254 has something to offer as well.
Throughout the record you can hear him send shout outs to rappers throughout Africa starting from East Africa, of course!
Remember when Khaligraph had his top 7 Kenyan rappers list which he posted on his Instagram page? Yeah, Lon Jon was number seven on that list. Khali called him underrated and because of how loyal his fans are, this became a conversation on Twitter for such a long time! I agreed with Khali, Lon Jon really is underrated.
If you still have no idea what records these are and you call yourself a lover of Kenyan music and especially Hip Hop, my friend, I got news for you. You need some help. Don’t worry though, that’s why this article is here. I’m going to try and save you (oh, you better be saved by the end of this article).
Born John Friendrich (that’s Afrikaans), Lon Jon was born in Kenya but raised in South Africa whose style is influenced by artists such as Mode 9, Jay Z and Fabolous just to mention but a few. He’s a diverse rapper, as seen from tracks above (I really hope you’ve clicked on those videos and actually watched them).
He started writing lyrics and freestyling while in high school in Jo’burg. He performed in different high schools in Mzanzi with two different rap crews. When he came back to Nairobi in 2008, he did a song with Kantai, Made, that was definitely the beginning of his rap journey in the 254.
Lon Jon has released tracks that have been played both on TV and radio here in the 254 and Africa as a whole. He says that he does get people telling him his music doesn’t sound Kenyan and some have even discouraged him from making music because it’s not for the “Kenyan market”. Yes, his style does sound a little international but isn’t that a good thing?
Why do we want to box people into what we think should be “local”? If someone is futuristic enough to make products that have all the potential to sell internationally, I say, let them be!
Does he feel the need to defend his style? Nope. Not really. He says that he’s in a comfortable space. He doesn’t feel the need to anymore. His goal is to make music and to sell it to people who appreciate the effort he puts into it.
About being underrated, Lon Jon says that he doesn’t feel that way anymore. The music is picking up; he’s getting recognition and the “I-know-you-from-somewhere” look and the shows are coming in too.
He is working on album called High Tide, which is the reason he discontinued his vlog 7 Seas Tuesday. The vlog will be back because his aim with it was to let his fans know who he is and get to understand him better while still trying to get new fans.
Meanwhile he’s released a new record called Be Alright, whose message is; no matter your background, trails and tribulations, everything is alright at the end of it all.
We have no official release date for the project and still have no idea if his recent tracks from December, Drinking and Driving and now Be Alright will be on it.
If anything comes up, you’ll be the first to know. I think I’ve won you over to Team Lon Jon by now.