On his latest , and 5th project, entitled “12:34”, New York based creative, DJ Jonn Doe, takes eleven steps into a transcendental blend of hip-hop and R&B heaven. The artist’s singsong raps meander through slippery humid beats that slap and bang. As a gifted artist with a mellifluous delivery and smooth vocals, he’s equally skilled as both a rapper and a singer. He possesses panache, while maintaining intelligence. He can be simultaneously sly, humorous and deeply introspective. He’s a skilled storyteller who can capture all types of moods. And he’s a master at crafting albums that navigate both deep and entertaining subject matter without ever feeling strained. DJ Jonn Doe is all of these things and more on “12:34”, arguably the best album in his catalogue thus far.
A nineties kid, DJ Jonn Doe developed a love for music at a young age, mainly as an escape from the harsh realities of life and a broken home. He spent years building his brand and feeding his craft as a DJ, recording artist, and audio engineer. This allowed him to perform at shows with top tier artists such Joe Budden, Micket Fatz, Kid Ink, Mop and many others.
In-between, he has earned major respect from a dedicated fanbase and his peers, including many of hip-hop’s best and brightest. “12:34” is a well thought project that was completed over a period of 10 months. Opening the album with the one-two punch of lead single, “Name” and the mellifluous “The Waltz”, featuring childhood friend and collaborator, Patty John, demonstrates DJ Jonn Doe’s immersive versatility.
DJ Jonn Doe then immediately follows with the previously unreleased “Mood” produced by Aizbi – a thoughtful exploration, playing off skittering hi-hats warm key washes. “Aye Girl” sees the reappearance of Patty John, on a groove that bounces, as DJ Jonn Doe considers some intimate relationships moves. As a gifted storyteller, DJ Jonn Doe often finds inspiration in the mundane details of life, imbuing them with insight, humor and wisdom.
“What I Got On” ups the rhythmic ante, as the album shifts into overdrive. Both DJ Jonn Doe’s lyricism and singing ability hold steadfast moving forward, while the beats increment their intensity – from “Jet” ft. OdieMagee to “How You Feel” and “Still (How I Do It) ft. Legendary Diesel, the mesmerizing head-nodding grooves never let up.
Besides “Drama” is a smooth track that brings genuine flashes of impacting nuance, it’s an exercise in flawless sound mixing and editing. Featuring floating keyboard notes, a low bass and percussion that give the song a somber flavor. The momentum is kept constant on “Free Flow”, as DJ Jonn Doe rides the beat with his usual hypnotizing vocal, sitting right in its pocket.
The album closes with emotional, “Make Things Right”. Amidst heartbreaking guitars, DJ Jonn Doe regales the audience with a melancholic charm that makes the song absolutely infectious. DJ Jonn Doe really does have nuanced vocal chops, and he showcases them here.
All throughout “12:34”, DJ Jonn Doe straddles the line between confrontation and sincerity like no other. He is a constant presence in every track, showcasing his ability to get extra mileage out of his subject matter. Moreover, he has proven that he can build on his artistic status. There may not be many albums like “12:34” in 2020.