Repping Flint, Michigan, Jon Connor seemingly appeared out of nowhere, building a name for himself from his Vinnie Chase mixtape series. Setting beats on fire with a crisp, super-lyrical delivery comparable to the likes of Royce Da 5’9, Canibus, or Big Pun, Connor instantly gained a fan following via the rap blogosphere. With Salvation, he attempts to move beyond the mixtape scene with his first official digital album release, now available on Itunes.
The main difference with Salvation and Connor’s early works is that he is less concerned with freestyle rhymes, and more focused on substance. Obviously not wanting to be pigeonholed as a “battle rapper”, this works for and against him. Fans that followed him due to his show-stealing verses up until this point may be disappointed to find that Connor is more or less saving that style for his mixtape releases.
Each song here is topical, as Connor laments the everyday struggle on tracks like “Salvation” and “We All In”, both of which find him meshing poignant rhymes with unwavering, abrasive delivery. It’s clear Jon has been through his share of drama with some scandalous females, as he warns on both “Don’t Fall In Love With A Bitch”, “Nice 2 Meet U”, and “Mind Games” for fellas to steer clear. Other tracks like “Minutes and Seconds” find the emcee looking at things introspectively. Taking things off the serious tip, as a bonus track he covers Flint, MI hero MC Breed’s “Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin”.
While Connor’s decision to stick to more relevant topics than besting his competition may have been a preemptive measure to silence critics, we can’t help but yearn for a couple of show-off songs to help round the album out. Another downfall of the LP is the production, which at times sounds a bit dated. It’s still grounded in quality, however eventually Connor will have to step up the production, in order for it to match his lyrical prowess.
All in all, Salvation is a solid, yet somewhat flawed, debut effort for Jon Connor. He’s a hungry artist that shows true potential, as proven with his mixtape track record, along with this LP. It’s only a matter of time before the major labels and rap magazine talent scouts endorse Connor, and push him into the limelight.
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