Johnny Polygon’s charisma extrudes from his body like the dreads that fountain from his head. An authentic entertainer, emcee and songwriter, he’s at his best with an audience surrounding him. Sitting in a tiki-lounge clutching a mojito across from Santa Monica beach, Johnny is all wise cracks and smiles subsequent to indulging in three highballs of the Cuban treat. Most recently he’s gearing up for the release of his free download album, “…And then there’s me”which Johnny claims is “just better, longer, stronger. harder and thicker”. Tough talk considering URB magazine gave his last album “Group Hug” four out of five stars.
Currently L.A based, Johnny Polygon is jostling up both the East and West coasts beating out a name for himself. Cosigned by the notable producer DJ Green Lantern with an impressive performance with Nas (who Johnny P sang the chorus for on the song “Black President”) at President Obama’s inauguration, Polygon’s répertoire is looking quite well versed. Coming from humbling beginnings in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the raw age of 14, Polygon realized his innate musical talent early. He joined the local battle circuit and has been making the audience laugh from then onwards. A gifted raconteur, it’s an inconceivable task trying to keep a straight face when speaking with him, so there is no point it fighting it. The only thing you can do is listen and laugh as Johnny Polygon gets back on his bullshit.
CN: So you started off as a b-boy correct?
When did you realize that making music was the direction you wanted to head?
JP: Pretty much as soon as I saw rappers get more girls.
Oh yeah? That’s why I am doing this job, too.
JP: Yeah I know, I know your ulterior motive. I know what you are really here for.
So what was the battle circuit like in Tulsa, Oklahoma?
JP: It was a big confidence builder, there weren’t very many rappers that were very good. So the second I started I was one of the best rappers around. My confidence level went from I’m not sure I can do this, to I know I want to do this for the rest of my life.
What was the prevailing sound like in Tulsa? South or Midwest?
JP: I would definitely say it’s surface level sound is more like what is hot now. So right now it is a Midwest sound and when the south sound was cracking it was a little more south. The underground music which is really the Oklahoma sound, is the way I do it.
So your sound has been influenced by Tulsa?
JP: If is not influenced by then it’s definitely dedicated to (Tulsa).
How is it working with Green Lantern? Did it change your outlook on music or hustle?
JP: Working with Green has definitely enabled me to take my music to the next level, because I have more resources around me and unfortunately made me a little lazier, because of the artistic validation from someone. Before it was just me as this guy from Oklahoma trying to make it out here in L.A. making music. So once Green Lantern was like “Hey, you’re great you need a deal.” Then I was like “Yeah, I am kinda good at this.” That made me fall back a bit, but now I’m back, back on my bullshit.
How did the deal with Green Lantern come about?
JP: It was actually a music video competition that Green was judging. That my old manger entered my video called “Bag” in it. And Green saw it and called me was like “Hey, you need a deal.” And I was like “Yeah!” And I was actually homeless at the time. He was like “Alright well give me an address to send your deal to.” But I told him I was in between residences. So he just gave me the deal and we started making music from there.
For any artist who’s talent is desired there is always the question of how successful one wants to be. For you, how successful do you want to be? Do you want the flashing lights, screaming fans the engulfing paparazzi and the label you have to adhere to or a more lo- key production where you can make your own music without the headache?
JP: That’s a good question. If you asked me this few years ago, I would have said that I would want to lo key, no label telling me what to do, no pressure situation. But now that I am a grown ass man I know that that doesn’t actually exist, unless I am working at Kinkos or something. For me I want to be as big as I can possibly be and still be dope.
What was on your mind when you were at the inauguration ? Did you think everything is uphill from here? What was your thought process, exactly?
JP: Honestly, well you know, I was featured on a song with Nas, Black President and every time we performed it it was a completely outer body experience. I tried to stay in it and say “Okay this is real this happening right now”, but I never successful got there. Its like a hazy dream now. But that really kicked my grind into hard gear, because I saw how people reacted to Nas and how people reacted to me, you know what I mean, it was a very humbling experience to say the least.
How did the project with Nas come about?
JP: Green was making the “Yes We Can” mix-tape with Russell Simmons. We [Green & Polygon] made this beat to “Black President” and Green was like “Yo, you need to get on this hook.” and I was like “Okay, cool.” I didn’t know who the song was intended for I just hopped on the hook, and I got back here to California and then a few months later and I get a call “Yo, you are on Nas album” and I was like “What are you talking about?” and then I heard the song for the first time on the radio.
You have a hilarious channel on Youtube TV and now on KarmaloopTV. Have you ever entertained the idea of doing stand-up or maybe hosting a T.V. show?
JP: Umm, well you know I have been offered TV shows in the past, but it just didn’t really make sense because I’m not trying to present the world as a comedian, because I’m not comedian and there are comedians that are really funny and pursue it as a craft and have studied and are way funnier than me when they need to me. You know the Karmaloop thing just came up because I was doing video blogs on Youtube and Karmaloop was just like “Yo, you need a show, you can do whatever you want!”
Amanda Diva has stepped into the arena with VH1 appearances. Do you see yourself doing VH1 show?
JP: First of all, what up Amanda? Second of all, she’s a lot prettier than I am and she photographs much better, so I am going to leave the VH1 appearances to her.
Do you see yourself doing more music or video collabs with her?
JP: Me and Amanda have millions of songs together, we are pretty much the Sonny and Cher of hip hop or Chris brown and Rihanna, you know, I keep her in line.
JP: *Laughs* No, but we have a bunch of songs together and we’re starting a group called “The Okay Maybes” and make films and sex tapes and all the good stuff.
Oh that’s what up.
JP: That is what’s up.
If you could pick any inanimate object to describe your music what would it be?
JP: I would say my music is like a dildo, in the sense that chicks love it, it brings them immense amount of pleasure and a lot dudes are intimidated by it, except the really dope secure ones who are like “Go ahead and pleasure yourself.”
I think that should be your next album.
JP: * Laughs* I pretty much think that’s a metaphor to my entire music career.
So you have an album releasing, this summer is a free one. Called “…And then there’s me.”
JP: Available at Johnnypolygon.com and Karmaloop.Tv. all original music, all free and it will fuck your shit up.