> cMusicWeb.com > Hip-Hop > Pigeon John > Pigeon Droppings

Looking for something new? Our latest news and articles are at inReview.net

[ by ben forrest ]


advertise here





Pigeon John's quirky personality, honed both as a member of hip-hop super crew L.A. Symphony and as a solo artist, is legendary. FEED magazine, a fledgling publication (but sadly one of the only holy hip-hop rags out there) describes him as a "royal jester," and that seems to come through in our interview. Asked about L.A. Symphony's messy contract situation with Squint Entertainment (the label ran into financial troubles and LAS is trying to get out of their contract), he says, "This feels like we are in court. You got any warmer questions?" Asked earlier if they will see any money if their long-awaited follow-up to 1999's Composition #1 if it is released by Squint's new parent company, Word Entertainment, he says, "Yes, we will, Mr. Lawyer." His new solo album, due in July, is titled Pigeon John is Dating Your Sister. The prosecution rests.

As for the contract, PJ says they will be released in April, and the group will, "Move forward strong and relentless. [The unreleased second album], Call It What You Want belongs to Word now, so it's up to them to put it out. Hopefully they will, because cause I think it'll do a lot for hip hop." A disc with 13 new songs is promised for the coming fall, though the group doesn't yet know if it will be released independently (as was their recent EP Baloney) or with a new label.

The time spent with L.A. Symphony in limbo, however, has allowed many of its members to pursue solo projects. Those projects, for the most part, haven't translated into big sales (pigeonjohn.com says John's 2002 album …is Clueless has sold only 17,000 copies to date, though the artist himself says it's closer to 10,000), but John insists that branching off is something that would have happened anyway. "We were all solo artist that came together to form LAS. It was a way to let [out] some stress while the legal things were meshing out."

Part of the reason for the low sales may be the fact that John's music is less accessible than some of holy hip-hop's heavy hitters. Where tobyMac taps into the popular-at-the-moment rap/metal market with his songs, and clean-cut acts like Souljahz cater to the preppie crowd, John's raps are more pure and faithful to the hip-hop art form. "If you don't make it easy for the listener," he says, "if you don't make it youth group friendly, you'll have a hard time selling. [It's] just like if you don't talk about girls, drugs and money in the [secular] market you're most likely not going to sell a lot either. Both markets are the same. [There are] just different rules. But I'm not abiding by any rules when it comes to writing [from] my heart. If it only touches 5,000, so be it. I'd rather that than 500,000 radio heads that only show up to your shows because they saw your video and like your outfit and cool hair."

It also doesn't help that CCM is largely a white, middle-class industry. That is no excuse to Pigeon, however, who doesn't pull any punches at more successful acts (tobyMac included, whom he says is "real and does his music from his heart"). "Race plays a part in every industry...CCM and [in the] general [market]. But that doesn't hold anybody who [is] trusting in God back. God is bigger than marketing themes and any other thing that arrives to strangle out pure life and calm walks." And, he adds, things are getting a lot better.

At any rate, John's music is aimed at a broad audience, with a focus similar to that of L.A. Symphony. "All people go through the same things," he says. "When you burn off all the MxPx patches and melt all the Air Force One shoes, we are all feeble hobbits lost in our own dark forests. Music can bring people together."
- Ben Forrest
August 2003
Articles written by the staff.
Maintained by WebMaster Dan Ficker.
Site Design by da Man
All Material © 1999-2005 Different Media LLC
Support cMusicWeb.com