I've had the pleasure of working with the prolific emcee known as Jon GodLee. His incredibly crafted lyricism and ability to quickly expand on any concept thrown in his direction commands and captures the attention of his audience. Though busy with a host of projects and personal endeavors, he took the time out for a brief chat with me regarding the independent music scene and musical philosophies that contribute to his talent and drive to succeed.
Achickwitbeatz: Who is Jon GodLee?
Jon GodLee: Jon GodLee is a Artist. From Drawings, & paintings, tattooing, a barber, a poet, & even a being student/professor of hip hop, a emcee, it's a art form the way I paint pictures & put these words together! My name Jon GodLee comes from my real name, Jon'ell G. It's a play off of that & the iconic John Gotti , with a lil twist to it. Like the balance of that hustler/gangster mentality , mixed with a spirituality side, a man of God, or God like...Godly(GodLee) Plus, when I was younger & people would hear me rap & freestyle & the would say "Godly!!!" So it always kinda stuck.
Born & raised in Kalamazoo,MI & a lover of all things Michigan! Just doing my job of making sure real michigan hip hop has a voice & putting on for the Midwest. 4or3ver7he4am is my brand, 4374life.com is the website!!
Achickwitbeatz: When did you discover you needed music to be a part of your life?
Jon GodLee: I first discovered when I needed real music to be a part of my life when I got injured playing football after my eighth grade season. I needed surgery on my hips & that put me down for about 6 months. During that period, my older brother Randell would bring me new music & CDs along with 'The Source' magazines & 'XXL Magazines' & I would study them, front to back, back to front, truly being a student of the hip hop game long before I ever spit a rhyme of my own. Learning about where real hip hop came from, the elements, the culture. Something inside me connected to all this real hip hop I was consuming. I took it all In & internalized it. I then knew it was somthing special about this art form. I had to be apart of it. I am a lover of all kinds of music, very cultured in different genres & whatnot, but hip hop has always had my heart.
Achickwitbeatz: What would you say is the best thing about being an independent artist?
Jon GodLee: One of the best things to me about being an indie artist is the fact that I get to make the kind of music I want to make! My freedom of creativity! Not trying to chase the radio, or sound like whatever is the hottest trend out. Not being told to make all these over formulated songs. Being able to think outside of the box, & people loving you for it. Not "selling out" so to speak.
Achickwitbeatz: What would you say is the most valuable lesson you've learned since you became an independent artist and launched 4or3ver7he4am?
Jon GodLee: One of the most valuable lessons I learned is family is everything. 4or3ver7he4am (pronounced ForEverTheFam, or 4374) is a group of like minded individuals, extended family members so to speak, with coming goals & creative ablilty. We try to treat each other like family, & just are genuine fans of the culture & want to see the art form prosper by bringing what we bring to the table. Check us out at 4374life.com !!! Shout out all my 4riends & 4amily members !! And special shout out to my engineer Foot! 4s Up!
Achickwitbeatz: What are 5 attributes/skills that would place an artist on your top 10 list?
Jon GodLee: 5 skills that would place a artist on my top 10 list would have to be delivery, authenticity, originality, creativity/lyricism & longevity, substance, gotta prove that you love this God given talent & art form! Not just an overnight sensation or one hit wonder!
Achickwitbeatz: Conversely, what are 5 attributes that would place an artist at the very bottom of your list?
Jon GodLee: 5 attributes that would place a artist at the bottom of my list, would be the exact opposite of the skills of my 5 skills that would place them on my top 10! Lol. Unoriginality,
uncreative/simple rhymes, trying to sound like everybody that's out, jumping on the latest bandwagon or trend. Following a fad, just to fit in, biting other people styles. Rapping because you think it's just some get rich quick scheme, only in it for the money. Any of these things will get you a first class ticket to the bottom of my list!
Achickwitbeatz: What can people expect from Jon GodLee?
Jon GodLee: You can expect to GodLee to give you GodLee each & everytime!! that real, creative, authentic, relatable, inspirational, hip hop. I try to let my music speak for itself, check me out at 4374life.com for some of my music, bio, & videos. I got a new mixtape, Book of Jon- 10:25 , & 'Diamonds Are 4or3ver'for FREE at 4374life.com !!! Working on my solo album entitled 'The Gods Must Be Krazy' come soon!
Achickwitbeatz: How can people connect with you and stay current with what you have in the works?
Jon GodLee: Follow me/get at me on twitter @JonG4374 & @4or3ver7he4amly
Contact & booking JonGodLee@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
& always catch me on 4374life.com for all the exclusives!! Thank y'all & God Bless!!
If you're an artist who would like to be interviewed by Achickwitbeatz or would like an album review for your recent project on Achickwitbeatz.com, submit your music for consideration.