Let’s be honest: hip hop surely isn’t dead but it’s been on fucking life support for quite some time while strands of it’s DNA have been altered & different mutations have occurred over the past 30+ years. When I come across an emcee who can keep my interest for more than their hit single, I’m genuinely surprised.
I discovered Jon Wayne when his first cassette dropped on Stones Throw a couple years ago - luckily I copped it before it was pulled from the online store due to a cease & desist notice from William Morris’ lawyers because of the album art. Now he’s three tapes deep with the label and he’s only progressed.
Like most rappers, Jon explains why he is better than his contemporaries using clever metaphors and witty remarks all the while he refrains from being cheeky. At the same time he’s extremely open about who has influenced him, opening the tape with a Bukowski sample and giving shouts to Jeru the Damaja, Dilla, Madlib, and probably his biggest influence, DOOM. On the cassette’s final track, he goes so far as to rap over a Madvillainy’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” and confesses that “DOOM set the bar so high, it’s got the munchies.”
Jon’s not in a hurry to spit his rhymes either. His laid back demeanor and choice of solid beats makes Cassette 3 easily digestible. The only time he starts to speed things up a bit, he jokingly demands to catch his breath. He also doesn’t bother with choruses and catchy hooks for the most part and avoids corny skits that seem to plague hip hop. Do people even still do that type of shit?
A small host of A+ indie emcees appear on the cassette and they definitely add to the recipe making it all the more appetizing. Jeremiah Jae, Oliver the 2nd and Zeroh of the Black Jungle Squad collective all shine here, not to mention Captain Murphy aka beatmaster extraordinaire turned insanely skilled rapper, Flying Lotus.
Along with the non sequitur and seemingly random poetics a la DOOM and early Beck, Jon also takes time to explain quite frankly that his name is actually his given one as opposed to some clownish moniker. He reveals that the famed actor's name was really Marion Morrison hence the cassette's title and gives a brief history lesson on the subject. Though having his race brought into the calculation of his ability as an emcee has probably created less vexation than his namesake, he still makes a point to threaten that “The next person to give me the white handicap daps gets diced like the cheese that you be.”
There are still copies of Cassette 3 available from Stones Throw and just so you have a nice clean digital version, you can download from them as well for free.