John John took his love for music and transferred that into a career in battle rap where the 24-year-old rhymer has flourished as one of the top stars in the game.
After grinding his way through 106 & Park’s “Freestyle Friday” competition and URL’s “Proving Grounds”, John John reached the big stage in 2012 when he faced off against Hitman Holla at Summer Madness 2. Since then, JJDD has faced off against the culture’s best including The Saurus, Cortez, Charlie Clips, K-Shine, and Aye Verb.
One emcee he has yet to cross paths with in the ring is longtime rival Hollow Da Don. According to John John, he’s ready to take on Hollow in an “I Quit Match,” so that there can only be one “Da Don” in battle rap. During the 9th installment of AllHipHop.com’s “Profiles In Battle Rap,” John John Da Don also reveals his all time favorite battle, his Top 5 Rappers Dead or Alive, and more.
I’m originally from Yonkers, New York. I was born there and stayed there until 2005. Then I came to the north side of Atlanta.
Battle rapping in its new format, I’ve been doing since between 08-09. As far as battling period like on the street, I’ve been doing that as long as I’ve been rapping. I’ve always been competing. On camera, my first battle was around ‘08 or ‘09.
Style Known For (ie aggression, wordplay, punchlines, freestyle)
I got one of the best overall styles, because I do the set-ups, the storytelling, the personals, the jokes. I’m known for bars. I’m also known for taking another n***a’s s**t and flipping it against them – killing my opponents with their own style. But mainly bars.
S.W.A.G. Inc, those are my brothers. We call it a fraternity. We don’t call it a crew or clique. S.W.A.G. Inc is an acronym for a lot of things – “Stuntin With A lot of Guap”, “Speak Wise Amongst Geniuses,” “Sleeping With A lot of Girls” [laughs].
My main slogan is “Please don’t say the John if you ain’t saying it twice. And if you don’t add the Da Don you ain’t saying it right.” It’s about branding. You want them to know your name. Don’t ever f**k my name up.
Leagues Competed In
URL, King of the Dot, Gladiator School with Snoop for the BET Hip Hop Awards, MC War, Grind Time, Strictly Bars, 7 Cities Shark
Shruglife, AppreciHATED, Shrug or Die Vol 1. Recently, I just dropped Once Upon A Don. You can get all of them on johnjohndadon.com.
Favorite Battle (Participant)
If I had to pick one, I’m going to say the battle with Hitman Holla, because that’s the biggest one. That’s the fourth most viewed battle on URL.
Favorite Battle (Non-Participant)
Tsu Surf vs Big T
Your Battle Rap Mount Rushmore
Murda Mook, Dizaster, Charlie Clips, Me
One Mainstream Rapper You’d Like To Battle
I don’t think any of them are competition as far as battle rap. Give me Eminem. He’s a battle god in everybody’s eyes.
Name One Battler You Think Could Possibly Beat You On Their Absolute A Game
Someone who’s on their “A Game” I feel like is a problem is T-Rex.
Artists You’ve Worked With Musically
Jadakiss, Migos, Boosie, Problem, Bow Wow, Sonny Digital, Honorable C.N.O.T.E.
Your Battle Rap Hit List
Hollow Da Don, that’s it. He’s been running for so long people don’t really want to see that battle like they used to, but I still want to kick his ass. I don’t care what anybody wants to see. I want to kick his ass. It’s been too much s**t talking. It’s been too much comparing. I want to kick his ass.
It would be stupid if we battled for the [Da Don] name, because who are we to really claim that name. But what I would be willing to do is whoever loses that battle can’t battle no more, so there can only be one “Da Don” battling. You can go on and do whatever else it is you wanna do. It can only be one [in battle rap]. We can do that. Get the paperwork.
Top 5 Emcees DOA
No order – Hov, Kiss, Biggie, Pun, Drake
Do You Prefer To Participate In A Debatable Battle Or A Clear Victory?
I like to fight. I don’t want anything easy. I love debatable battles where you can go back and keep watching it. Those battles are timeless. When you watch them again, you don’t know who’s gonna win all over again.
With a clear body bag, when you go watch it again you know what you’re going to watch it for. You know this n***a is about to kill this n****a. So I’d rather a debatable classic all day, every day.
Where Do You See Battle Rap Going In The Future?
I see battle rap getting as big as wrestling and MMA did. I see it going that route like really being a sport. I feel like it’s gonna be so big of a sport it’s almost not going to be that much Hip Hop anymore. It’s either gonna be a sport or just entertaining like a show. It’s going to get real, real big. It’s gonna outgrow Hip Hop.
What other battle rappers would you like to see featured in AHH’s “Profiles In Battle Rap” series? Share your picks in the comments section below.