Flush at the top of Jonwayne‘s new album, the resurgent rapper finds himself turning down an insistent fan (played by Vine personality, Nick Colletti) after being accosted for an on-the-spot performance. This moment, “LIVE From The Fuck You,” like many on Rap Album Two, is a bid for agency, a reclamation of the independent musician’s narrative. Ahead of the album’s release, JW dialed us up to discuss his new project and what he believed to be the perfect opportunity to command his own story.
“I’m taking who I am as an individual, as a person, and who I am as an artist, and converging them” the rapper and producer explained. For Wayne, Rap Album Two not only serves as his most comprehensive record to date, but the first time in his career that fans get the whole picture. In 2015, he walked away from music altogether, but returned with new purpose after some internal demon-slaying. He reflected on the hiatus warmly, a genuine break from a life that was wearing him thin and dissolving his connection to fans and music alike.
“This is the first thing that I’m putting out there that feels like an actual mission statement from me as an individual.
Heralded as one of underground hip-hop’s burliest and most brilliant wordsmiths (with an equally-impressive production touch) Wayne left a crater in his wake, slow-strolling towards the horizon like the spaghetti western hero from which his name is borrowed. Wayne had to dig deep into his own psyche, like any tortured soul seeking refuge in their art: “The importance is not to look inward and not to become closed off, but to just reach those around you and pull yourself out.”
And with his return, there’s no question as to who’s steering the ship. A healed spirit with humble brags and can’t-miss precision is about as dangerous as they get, but he’s not here to shoulder the burden alone. With contributions from The Internet‘s Patrick Paige and Jameel Bruner, as well as Sophie, Shango, Keifer, Daddy Kev and more, Rap Album Two is Jonwayne embracing the committee, mostly comprised friends and longtime admirers, and making something beautiful. “I’m weird. I want everything to sound perfect. I want everything to sound reference quality, like mainstream records, but at the same time, I want to do everything in one take. It’s not reasonable, but there it is. We have an album.”