Recently, RYMEdesign blog and myself, Grey Matter, were invited by the Wil Loesel and the rest of the great people at Culture VI records (NY) to produce promotional artwork for new music off up-and-comer John Regan’s new album, as well as present the good hip-hop people of the web with an exclusive interview.
John Regan is an artist who actively projects the elements of hip-hop in his music and even further, through his very essence. According to Culture VI, his work ethic and networking skills are up to challenge anyone in his quest for musical dominance on college radio stations and blogs around the world. His collaborations are solid in hip-hop and places him in high hopes for fans with guests on his upcoming album ranging from Joell Ortiz, PackFM, & Skyzoo to Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9″ and more.
As a lyricist, family man and newly appointed President of the Culture VI label, this former graffiti artist is determined to follow the path he has set out for himself and accomplish whatever it is that crosses his motivated mind.
Speaking of mind, you can get into John Regan’s by reading the following interview. Don’t forget to peep the artwork for the new song “Paint The World” featuring PackFM.
So tell the people your name and where you’re coming from…
A couple of years ago you might have called me Poizun and caught me hanging on an exit 1 mile ahead sign while you’re driving. But now, my name is simple: John Regan. And to clear the air – no I am not related to the 40th president. I grew up in a suburban Baltimore neighborhood and now live a half of an EP ride away from downtown Baltimore. You follow me right…?
How long have you been involved in Hip-Hop, or music in general and how did you get involved in the first place?
I’ve been dealing with H.E.R. for quite some time – sometime before this century began. I’d hate to bore you with the old “rhyming in the lunch room cliché”, but there really isn’t a hallmark story tale here.
Who or what were the biggest influences on you while developing your style and who inspires you to write your rhymes nowadays?
Well I’m a mid-eighties baby, so traditionally Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Nas, et cetera, but I branched off to a lot of your old school Sam Cook, Etta James, & Sara Vaughn – you know, that golden age of music. I felt in order to understand today’s music, you had to learn what and where it was influenced by.
NOW – I’d have to say my manager Wil and my producer, YZ. The folks I mentioned above gave me my influence, but these guys TEACH me, its like Danielson times 2, lol.
YZ spent his career working with the world’s biggest artists – Mary J. bilge, Lil Wayne, Pattie LaBelle, Chucky Thompson, Fat Joe, Young Guru, Rich Harrington. And he doesn’t hand out beat CD’s. He’s actually WORKED with these artists. Most producer today never even met the artists they claimed to have “worked with”.
Lemme sum up YZ like this. Thanks to Wil, I have beat CDs from almost all my favorite producers – with a green light to record on whatever I like — and i STILL had YZ produce over half the album! That’s real shit right there. If i told you the producers who we recorded with that DIDN’T make the albums, you’d flip.
Oh and Wil? Pfft, he’s like the guy on the couch on Half-Baked, lol. Nah, he’s incredible. He’s like the most easy going guy, and a great, positive person to be around. Yet he yields results. He walks into meetings like he’s Suge Knight. He has a reputation of being an asshole – and don’t get me wrong…he definitely is! But it’s because he works his ass off and expects a lot in return. He pushes me, which I’m thankful for. He’s a results guy. Very genuine – you always know where you stand with him. You can’t even give him a title, he could just walk around with a name tag that says “Done”. Both of them, long-term thinkers. Together, the results are amazing.
So, tell us a little about this track “Paint The World”. What’s it about and how did it come together?
Ah, this is like my love song right there! Nah, like I said earlier, I use to be heavy into the graf world, so it was only right I touch on the topic. I had mentioned to Wil & YZ that I wanted to make the record, so they went into the studio, and when they came out, OMG – what they created was so, so…perfect. A hard hitting, Premo-influenced drum track that was so spot on and just truly amazing.
On the record, I talk about growing up in the graf world and then converting over to hip-hop, but still having that “thing” for the krylon. DJ Pain came thru and gave it that real hip-hop feel with the scratches. And the hook? Getting my dude PackFM to do the hook was fucking perfect!
“Paint The World” is going to be the first single we release off “Sorry I’m Late”. It’ll be available on iTunes August 3rd and the video will follow. We hope to turn that into a movement!
Tell us about Culture VI and what kind of work has been coming out of that camp…
Culture VI is like a fraternity. Just great musicians who can always count on each other. We’ve been around since 1999 – though Wil actually had his rap crew Culture VI way back in 1994. I’ve been working with them since i was 15! In 2004, we released the group’s debut album “Elite”. Being a part of that album was amazing – traveling back and forth to NYC, performing, recording in real studio’s like Chung King. A humbling experience. Then being involved in Wil’s album “ninety-four”, I got more in depth with the groundwork of the album, the relationship building, all the stuff that makes the music a product.
Both Albums are available now. On “Elite”, I appear on numerous songs, and “Ninety-Four” I partner up with Wil & Royce Da 5’9” on “Never Had A Clue”.
Are there any other projects that we should look out for soon?
Oh, yeah. Only the reason I’m sitting here with you now!. Were going to be releasing my debut album, “Sorry I’m Late” in October. Let me just say, the music on this album, the quality, it’s just truly amazing.
How about collabs? Are you working with anyone else that we should be paying attention to?
Man, let me tell you Grey Matter, the people that I got to work with on this album are just amazing. Marsha Ambrosius, Joell Ortiz, Skyzoo, Sha Stimuli, Nottz, Needlz – who did 3 tracks – 88-Keys, PackFM, Dub B, YZ, Jaiden, Meylin – I couldn’t have had a better team around me.
Anything you want to say to the fans or the hip-hop community in general?
If you’d like to reach out, I’m not very hard to find. For anything business related, you can hit my manager, Wil via twitter @CultureVI, or shoot him an e-mail at email@example.com. If you want to just say hi, you can find me on twitter at @Getatpoizun.
Any Shout Outs?
Nah, I don’t really run around with a pre-rehearsed list half crumbled up in my back pocket. I guess I’d like to thank all the folks I got to work with on the album, though. The experiences we had together throughout the process I will never forget. All the folks, including you Grey Matter, that give us up-and-coming artists the platform to speak and present what we create.