By: Todd Davis
Still at this point and time, Throwback is virtually a little known rapper hailing from the, now, dilapidated city of Youngstown, Ohio. Signed to Affluent Records earlier this year, the man born Jon Tepper literally just dropped his solo debut, Ballin Since Birth, on the most important day in this nations time: Election Day! Comparisons aside, all this super-talented emcee really needs is just to be given a chance -- So listen up
Whats up, Throwback? So tell me, how did you first get started rapping?
Well, it all started at a Halloween party in 2001. I saw a karaoke stand, and immediately performed some Sir Mix-A-Lot and Run-DMC. The people at the party loved it! And, the deejay thought I might have been black in a past life, (or, at least,) thats what she told me! *Laughs* It all really began for me when I was hit by a semi-truck last year, on April 5th, on my way to a Ludacris concert. I started thinking to myself that I can actually rap, and maybe I should pursue rap as a career. I guess you make a lot of life choices in a quick fashion when in near death situations.
So, thats really when you decided to take your craft more seriously?
Again, the whole accident put things into perspective. But, I really became serious after being involved in another, fatal, accident on May 31st of last year. I started thinking, Wow, I have some bad luck! I need to start pursuing my dreams before some Kanye-like accident happens to me.
Thats pretty crazy! You mentioned both Mix-A-Lot and Run-DMC -- Were those primarily your biggest musical influences growing-up?
Yes, and growing-up I listened to a wide variety of music. I have several strong musical influences; such as Jon Bon Jovi, Bret Michaels, Run DMC, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West.
What prompted you to sign with an independent label in Affluent, rather than a major outlet?
I started hitting several thousand plays on My Space, and was featured on a couple sites as the hottest independent artist submission of March. (CEO and President) Oscar (Sanchez) had contacted me, and one thing led to another. That same week, I was on a flight to New York City, and we liked what Oscar and the Affluent label had to offer.
Describe for me your overall vibe?
I create fun music -- Point blank, simple. When people hear my music or see me perform, they just want to dance and have fun. Thats what I aim for.
Throwback, where did that name derive from?
I received the name Throwback by my friends in middle school because of my large collection of throwback sports jerseys.
You also refer to yourself as The Jewish King -- Do you worry, at all, that labeling yourself this may bring some controversy/negativity to you and your career?
No, I dont think so, because people are always going to hate regardless of what you call yourself. I received more compliments than hate on the name, so I really dont think it will make or break my career. Again, I just want to make good music that people can relate and vibe to. No matter what my name (is), I will always make this music.
Ballin Since Birth is the title of your just-released debut -- Why did you decide to call your album this?
Ballin Since Birth means so many things to me. But, the reason for the title is because I have been ballin since birth, hypothetically speaking -- My parents would never spoil me and made me work hard for everything, so thats where my grandmother came in. She would make sure I lived lavish and comfortably since the day of my birth. After my parents made her stop spoiling me, I learned to make money on my own in order to make ends meet and live the ballin lifestyle that I love so much.
Actually, this is a revised album from an earlier version that was released locally, correct? So, whats different about the updated copy of Ballin Since Birth?
Yes. The updated version will have a combination of my old and new songs. The whole album (has been) re-mixed and re-mastered. We made a good project, great!
Who did you work with on the record?
I worked with many underrated producers, such as: the BeatCatererz, The Shah Bros, and Ozone of Toxiq Entertainment. I also worked with KaneBeatz, who is behind some of Birdman, Lil Wayne, Brisco, Flo Rida, and Trick Daddys tracks. I am very involved in the whole creative process, to the point where the engineer may become annoyed with me. Ill sit in the studio and (be a) spectator until its time for my input, and Ill have my list of changes on deck for the engineer. My biggest highlight on this album was working with Sadat X, of Brand Nubian, and seeing so many of my local people shine. Some tracks to look out for are Trouble, U In Da Club, Dreamin, Grabbin On My Necklace, and Get This Dough.
What long-term plans do you have for sticking around in this, now, pretty shaky music industry?
Put it this way, I have my foot in the door. As soon as we release the (new) single, Ill have already kicked down the door to the industry and worked my way in. My sheer motivation, dedication, and hustling mentality, has been, and will continue to be, the key to my success, or the key to the industrys door, if you will.
Is there anything else that youd like to do once you get your career fully launched?
Id like to start my own clothing line, and help fund the finding of a cure for Shy-Drager Syndrome [a rare, progressively degenerative disease of the autonomic nervous system].
With the absence of, really the only relevant white rapper, Eminem, Caucasian emcees have been, for the most part, obsolete -- Why do you feel that is? And, what actually sets you apart from someone such as an Eminem?
Truthfully, you can be any color, race, nationality or ethnicity and do whatever you want, but, in general, white emcees are obsolete because the world is still racist towards everyone. Its a terrible thing to say, but its the truth. Everybody has their niche to make them a little bit different and mine is just having fun again. Im bringing fun back! Im not an angry person, (and) I dont talk about violence and such. Thats what sets me apart from emcees like Eminem.
Looking forward, whats your next move?
Evolving my music, and expanding the Throwback Entertainment brand. We all know very well that as times change, music will change as well. With that being said, I will continue to evolve as an artist in order to stay on top of my game.
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