Jay Z and the Barclays Center Do Not Truly Represent Hip Hop: Underground Star Jon Murdock Does
Underground Hip Hop artist and Jon Murdock joined The Lost Children of Babylon in 2009. He also works with The Foundation Army, and recently signed to Protect Ya Neck (a label under the Wu Tang Management) with the group Legion of Chaos. He is also a personal childhood friend of mine.
Murdock grew up in the streets of Phoenixville, a suburb 30 minutes outside North Philadelphia. Murdock has been active in Hip Hop since the Late 1990s along with fellow Foundation member’s Lex Starwind and Ricky Fritz. They released their first album, Call 9-11, in 2001 followed up by Ground Zero in 2003. Jon Finally got to record his own solo albums in 2003 and 2005, Dark City part 1 and Dark City part 2, which have been re-released digitally on iTunes through LOCB Productions. Other albums include City of Darkness, and The Book of Life. He is currently working on his final installment to the Dark City trilogy featuring the track "The War Is On."
I got to sit down this past week with Jon and ask him about hip-hop and its culture.
Dan Bristow: What got you to become an MC?
Jon Murdock: I was always interested in the art of the rhyme scheme. I’d hear artists do it and I said to myself “I want to be able to do that.” I wrote my first rhyme when I was 14 in 1994; it wasn’t anything good at all that I remember. It was something that had to be practiced for a long time to get better.
DB: Most people don't understand the culture that is hip-hop; can you explain what it means to you, and what it means to be part of the hip-hop culture?
JM: The culture has changed over the years and I’ve had many views on it but now what it is to me is strictly about making good music, beats and videos to give people a vision of what we are doing. A big chain doesn’t do anything for me it’s all about the craft and taking it to another level.
DB: Growing up right outside Philly and being so close to the birthplace of hip hop (New York) what artist inspired you the most then and now?
JM: Well the first artists were from Cali it was N.W.A I heard them and couldn’t believe that they were saying the things they were but I liked it. The artist who did it most wasn’t for his rapping it was for his beats and that it the Rza. In my book, he has the best beats and that’s who got me into making beats which is an everyday thing for me since 1998 until now.
DB: What makes the Lost Children of Babylon, who have been around for well over a decade, different from other groups out there today, what makes them stand out from the rest?
JM: LCOB has a great message that is very political and worldly that a lot of people like because they feel the same way. We aren’t the only group saying these things but what makes us different is all the individuals are just that we all have our individual style and view.
DB: what’s your opinion of the direction of hip-hop and the commercialization of the culture?
JM: Ahh the commercial hip hop question that we always talk about. Well I think most of these rappers are horrible at the craft of it they are far from mastering anything about it and are out for only money. Don’t get it wrong I love money also but I choose to make music that is has more substance. They have been talking about the club, women, cars and things of that nature since maybe 1999 I can’t understand why labels or MTV think that its good music these guys are passing but maybe that’s why most aren’t selling records.
DB: With the economy the way it is has the hip-hop scene changed, is it harder for young talent to get noticed?
JM: No, it’s easier. You can buy a few things to record at home upload it to YouTube and noticed by millions. No label no money just a mic a program to record and a computer the world takes it from there.
DB: With money tight for most people these days are recording sessions different, is it still studio recording or has it moved to a smaller scale?
JM: It all depends on what you’re looking for. With so many options for home recording it’s all about what you want to spend and how much time you want to spend to know what you’re doing to make pro sounding music. I took the time built a studio and work with it daily. I like making the music from the ground up. It didn’t come cheap and I’ve been building it piece by piece for years. You always have the opting of going to a pro and he will be around $50 to $80 an hour and you’re gonna have great sounding stuff. Lot of people chooses the cheap home route and you can tell because the stuff they make sounds horrible.
DB: Is there anything you want to tell any young kids out there that think being a hip hop artist is about money, girls and rims on your car?
JM: I like this question because I love all three but I don’t make my music about it. I think of music as an art and you have a blank page to start with you can take it anywhere you want and talk about whatever you want to paint the picture so why not do just that and be different. I also think of it like cinema which I love also because you can take it anywhere and I say to anyone getting into it please strive to be as great at it as possible and don’t follow the rest. Getting your own style and vision takes time, a lot of time but when you put it all in place and create something it’s all worth it. Then its gets harder people have to like your vision and that a whole other talk. Peace and thanks for taking your time to ask me these questions.
DB: Thank you so much for taking the time out to for PolicyMic and myself.