Focus Artist (ENG): White John
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
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Since 2019, Inglewood (South East L.A) native White John, A.K.A The White Gurb, A.K.A Mr. Fuck L.A.P.D, has been starting to build a strong reputation for himself within his local scene (which has been booming for the past five years, in particular through artists like Drakeo and his crew Stinc Team, 03 Greedo, and Shoreline Mafia to only name a few). This is partly due to his ease to quickly move from one powerful and catchy banger to the next, combined with his numerous collaborations with artists exclusively from the local scene- the likes of Yung Weej, BigRally, Bravo the Bagchaser (on the latter's excellent album "Born 2 Win") as well as Rucci. Indeed, these promising young talents are at the heart of this scene's renewal. Having been introduced to a certain extent by DJ Mustard's productions in the past, its resurgence is today masterfully brought forth by producers like RonRon, JoogSNZ and AceTheFace.
Author of a remarkable mixtape entitled "Cases Pending", released last year, the Inglewood native has marked his return early this year with a new project dubbed "Cases Still Pending", an additional reference to the artist's past contentions with the criminal justice system. This is for us an opportunity to briefly revisit the rapper's career and journey, from his first songs uploaded to Soundcloud to his latest release, a truly promising EP which turns into results the hopes put on the rapper, following the flow of bangers he unveiled between 2019 and 2020.
Soundlcoud saw the artist's first steps take place with the song "Out On Bail" (noticeably darker and more lyrical than the bangers that came next), followed by an appearance on the track "Slidin" by Young Weej, and by his first noticeable success, "Show Time".
In August 2019, he unveils the visuals for "Show Time", his first ever music video, a true success which now counts over 300.000 views. Here, White John manages to captivate us from the first bars through his laid-back and voluntarily out of step flow as well as with the deepness of his tone of voice. This emphasises his ego-trip, in line with the energetic and mesmerising production, courtesy of 420 Triesto (a producer alongside which White John is used to work, and who also appears on his latest project).
"Way before this rap shit they wanna be me"
In the following months, the artist goes viral with the release of "Road Runnin", his third solo song posted on Soundcloud.
Following the lead of his first short and effective tunes, Road Runnin is enthralling from the first few listens thanks to its melodious production, where powerful basses coupled with a few synth tones allow for the current L.A scene's characteristic atmosphere to be established.
Fresh from the success of these concise and mastered bangers, White John releases "Cases Pending" in February 2020- his first project we know of. The album is a succession of bangers true to the rapper's beginnings on Soundcloud, and comprises of course "Road Runnin" as well as interesting collaborations, namely "Whole Things" alongside Fenix Flexin and "ROTY" with Rucci. The eclecticism of the productions, the presence of bangers already known of the wider public as well as coherent features to say the least make it an accessible and effective project, prone to convince those having taken in L.A's new scene.
Some tracks which stand out include -among other things- catchy "Crazy", where the artist takes the liberty of singing on the chorus, aggressive "40 in the MCM" as well as surprising "Whisper", where his murmured flows contrast nicely with the edginess of the production. The outro is significantly more ethereal and concludes the project on a melancholic note which blends in perfectly with his more intimate tone, nevertheless retaining White John's bold and incisive ego-trip, which seems to be inseparable from his character.
In the weeks following the release of the project, White John unveils visuals for Whole Things and Crazy, respectively on No Jumper and WorldStarHipHop's YouTube channels. Both music videos now count over 200.000 views each, a fine accomplishment for an artist with so few songs under his belt.
Following this excellent project, White John increases his appearances alongside local rappers, in particular with Rally B and Lil Duece, and on "Austin Powers" from Lil Duece, a feature with BandGang Loonie Bands.
Furthermore, he also appears on his label/crew Mackk & Company's compilation entitled "Mackk &Co" released in Summer 2020, as well as on the single "Mackk&Co Halloween", released on the occasion of the holiday of the same name.
Mackk&Co and its artists, from left to right: Rucci, Lotto Rocket, Lil Duece, Mister, Bossmann and Ride4Blackk
All of White John's aforementioned appearances hugely contributed to creating a greater sense of anticipation for his second project, noticeably shorter than the first one as it comprises only 6 tracks for a total duration of 14 minutes.
Looking at production, AceTheFace (placements for 03Greedo, AFN Peso, Ralfy The Plug, Shoreline Mafia, ManMan Savage...), Beat Boy (03Greedo, Shoreline Mafia, Drakeo, Maxo Kream, Earl Sweatshirt...), Foth Dimen (among other things behind the massive "Let Me Know" by Mac P Dawg X Ohgeesy), 420 Tiesto (Rucci, Father from the crew Awful Records, All Smook, AzChike...) and Fortwoe can be found on the project, most of which the rapper had already collaborated with in the past. Indeed, they are amongst the most suited to establish the ever so distinctive West Coast atmosphere, combining both energetic and festive ambiances and drawing inspiration for the most part from Detroit and Oakland sounds.
From left to right : AceTheFace, Beat Boy, Foth Dimen, 420Tiesto et Fortwoe
The project begins with "Be Myself", a both festive and energetic banger where the Inglewood native looks back upon his accomplishments and his ironclad determination, an ideal song to introduce an EP prone to be on heavy rotation in L.A's most smoked up strip-clubs. Furthermore, the project begins with a line paying tribute to Awfo, associated with the Shoreline Mafia and who passed away last year.
Dead Homie follows, a noticeably calmer and colder track, where OMB Peezy's aggressivity-packed flow is perfectly combined with White John's laid back and broken down delivery. A music video was also recently released to accompany the song.
I Need Drugs' hazy and melancholic production contrasts nicely with the first part of the tape and corresponds perfectly to the topic covered here: our artist's drug consumption, both allaying his sorrows and instilling the necessary inspiration for his music, which carries the mark of the aforementioned recurring melancholy. I Need Love's sample from LL Cool J is perfectly in line with the artist's discourse, and lends a sense of nostalgia to the song. Although the artist had until then scarcely touched upon this emotion, this is well mastered and the artist manages not to appear as posturing or as giving the sense of a "fake depression", but rather places the emphasis on the feeling of melancholy which is reflected in the lyrics.
No phones and Switch On Me counterbalance this well, in particular with their more festive and aggressive productions. The balance is perfectly gauged thanks to the producers' work, and the two tracks follow the lead of the rapper's first songs published on Soundcloud, constituted of bouncy bangers dominated by powerful basses, married with high, apocalyptic-sounding synth tones. Ego-trip prevails on these tunes, where White John proclaims his integrity, in particular on Switch On Me's well-mastered chorus.
On Thug Life, 420 Tiesto delivers a cloudy production which lends a certain weight to White John's lyrics, in this case accompanied by Rucci and Big Sad 1900. Here, the rappers chronicle their day-to-day life in the streets and relate the resulting sorrows. Similarly than for the artist's first project, Cases Still Pending's outro wraps up the EP on a more introspective note.
As a result of the variety of talented beatmakers he called upon for Cases Still Pending, White John delivers a well-balanced second project, dominated by bangers halfway between Detroit and Bay Area sounds (similar to the tracks which drove his success in 2019 and 2020). In short, this is a truly promising EP for the young Inglewood-bred talent. Already the author of numerous locally successful bangers as well as of two effective and coherent projects, the rapper should rise to international fame in good time, especially if maintaining his current level of productivity and keeping on appearing on features. Also being aware of the fact that he is backed by the label Mackk & Company -which has the likes of Rucci or Lil Duece, amongst L.A's rising stars, signed to it- White John positions himself as one the artists from this scene to carefully look out for in the foreseeable future.