Javon Johnson’s ‘Pre’

Before we dive into each track of Suprchnk/Javon Johnson’s PRE, we’re going to attempt to set the stage. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from both of these artists, but it’s not like they’ve gone silent or anything. In fact, quite the opposite. Johnson has relocated to Colorado Springs and has a year ahead of him to say the least. We’ve covered both of these dudes quite a bit, so you know they’re keeping anything but quiet.

PRE is absolutely a hip-hop album if you have to wrap it up in a genre bow, but it goes well beyond that. It’s gritty and kind of industrial mashed with a deep funk. Honestly, the delivery and style while musical is different, in attitude, presentation, awareness, and consciousness, it’s a not-so-distant relative of post-hardcore/industrial punk of the early 80s.

The rapid fire approach and length of the tracks is enough to warrant the comparison. We’re talking about a time when movements mattered, and the word on the street was the only thing you needed to convince you to buy an album. And, as to be expected, PRE comes with the effortless style Johnson has elevated after the move to Colorado, one that has made him stronger than ever lyrically, as well as Suprchnk bringing some of his most clinical work.

The EP, which clocks in at about six minutes, is told in three chapters – The Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige. In terms of production and clarity, “The Pledge” immediately establishes PRE as some of the finest work from either to date. Johnson’s confidence is so fluid, concise, and focused. You can tell he just knows. He even throws in E. Honda (Street Fighter) and John Wayne references in a way that pretty much no one else would think to connect the two.

“The Turn” opens with the line “I do this for my dead ancestors.” Johnson knows the burden that he carries, and he understands the history of what he’s carrying. And it makes him that much wiser and tougher through this journey. However, the history considered in this track is recent as well, as he looks at peers who, quite bluntly, are nowhere near his level or trajectory. With Suprchnk slicing and smoothing things out, the second track becomes a sculpture.

Closing track “The Prestige” delivers the line “Just wake up and walk it off” – words of wisdom that are projected outwardly as much as they could be inwardly as this new path continues to take shape. Johnson knows that he’s ahead of a lot of folks, and he’s thinking about an array of issues most haven’t considered adding to their cannon yet. While Suprchnk’s beats bob and weave through this atmosphere, everything is brought to a sudden halt. But we know there will be more – there always is.

PRE is available on Suprchnk’s bandcamp now.

26.03.2018 / By Joey Smith