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Schizo-Rap and the Man Behind It

Updated on September 23, 2016
This is a painting by Seattle rapper, John Foss. His use of polyrhythms in music tends to  permeates every medium of his art. His artwork is available at Fine Art America.
This is a painting by Seattle rapper, John Foss. His use of polyrhythms in music tends to permeates every medium of his art. His artwork is available at Fine Art America. | Source

Interview with Jon Bin Laben

Today I got the pleasure of interviewing Seattle rapper and painter John Foss, who goes by his alter ego Jon Bin Laben when he's rapping. He's been the talk of the Pacific Northwest lately with his intricately interwoven beats and lyrics that slant every which way to create a sound he calls "schizo-rap." When I talked to his other fans, I discovered that the single most engaging thing about his music is that to the listener, it creates an experience as though they are walking around in his psyche. He has an intitutive talent of furbishing these sounds to sculpt a Doctor Seuss meets Tim Burton aesthetic, all just by listening to one of his songs. His lyrics are absurd and he uses his voice as an instrument to complement the ups and downs of his beats. If you don't believe me, scroll down and check out the link to his website. His music will definitely blow your mind. But how did it all start? I sat down with John today and asked him some questions to give us insight into his eccentric creations.

Who is Your Favorite Seattle Rapper?

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Monica: So tell me a little bit about what got you into creating the music you make these days. Who are your greatest influences?

John: I try not to let any single type of music I've heard influence me too much, actually. I like to go with my own intuition and feelings. So I don't necessarily listen to music to emanate it. Although I do enjoy listening to all types of music like Outcast, Blood Brothers, Cypress Hill, Deftones, Converge, and Shabazz Palaces, I pride myself in creating my own style.

Monica: That makes sense. Your music sounds different from anything I've ever heard before. How do you make your beats? How do you come up with your lyrics?

John: My lyrics are derived from somewhat of clang association at times, words that sound interesting together. And much of the lyrical content is from either experiences or certain phrases or quips that get caught in my mind. Sometimes the song grows as I'm working on it because I'll hear something funny and want to put that line in the song. I make my beats by sitting on the toilet using an iPhone 6 with the Garage Band App. I like messing around with keys and tones until something resonates with my ears.

Monica: What made you come up with the phrase schizo-rap?

John: I didn't. My girlfriend actually came up with it. I've also heard my music be called "Dr. Seuss on crack" and "circus rap". People I know tell me I make some "funky ass shit." But other than schizo-rap, I also refer to my music as "spazz-flow".

Monica: What is it about your music that makes it so catchy?

John: There are certain "earbugs" that are scattered throughout the songs.

Monica: What are "earbugs"?

John: They're little phrases or sounds that kind of stand out that do something orgasmic to your ear. It's a stuck sound.

Monica: What other genres do you combine with schizo-rap in your songs?

John: There are definitely elements of hip-pop, electronic, drum and bass, jazz and funk.

Monica: Where do you think the direction of Seattle hip-pop and rap is going?

John: Pretending for a second that Macklemore is some other city's artist, I'd say it's evolving towards more of a personal, avant-garde type of sound. Lyrics in hip-pop today are becoming broader and more metaphoric to resonate with all sorts of listeners.

Monica: What advice do you have to any up and coming rappers out there?

John: Have a day job. This is important because by having income, you can support yourself by buying musical equipment and exploring your own style. This way, you can indulge in your musical style without having to compromise the potential of your sound. By having a day job, you can evade the pressure of having to produce a hit at the cost of your own artistic merit.

Stay tuned for the release of Legit Moletitassking It, 2017.
Stay tuned for the release of Legit Moletitassking It, 2017.

Jon Bin Laben's Top Hits

Jon Bin Laben
Legit Moletittassking It
Jon Bin Laben
Something Fishy
Jon Bin Laben
King Lollipop's Wig Wam


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