Thursday, March 27, 2014

“Working with Jovan - The Multiplex of Skill and Trade!” by O.S. Darko

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and others, I’d like to introduce you to a humble emcee, the one and only: Jovan Landry! Now, this young lady has many titles and many names. Jovan, Leslie-Monique, Ms. Landry, Jovi, J.O.V., The Triple Threat, etc. And titles such as Filmmaker/cinematographer, Photographer, Emcee (rapper), hair-locking tutorial tutor, blogger, vlogger, entrepreneur, and Artist. Yes! She does it all, and then some! But for now, we’ll call her, “Ms. Landry.”

Hi. My name is O.S. Darko. I, myself, am a rapper/producer. I’ve been producing music for about a dozen years, and rapping for about seven. And with the advancement of technology and social media, producers and rappers alike can connect faster and easier than the speed of “word of mouth.” But it’s kind of a funny story how I wound up working with Ms. Landry. I was looking for affordable studio monitors, and happened to hear about a pair that gives you exactly what you need on a budget. So I searched YouTube for overviews, seeing what people thought of them, and one of first results that popped up, was Ms. Landry reviewing them for her setup!

I’ll admit, my first thoughts were, “Now what does this young girl know about studio monitors?” I had to see this, chuckling as I clicked the video. And upon watching the review, I noticed a few things: (1.) She knew what she was talking about, (2.) she’s an artist like me, and (3.) she has a remarkable face… I was humbled. lol Truth be told, I’ve never seen anyone like her before. Maybe I need to get out more. But she’s very conspicuous-looking, with piercing eyes and the glasses to match, that’s what caught my attention. Also notable is her voice, attached to a slight speech impediment that compliments her delivery, a very familiar 90s style of rapping, which works very well with the songs she writes. So yeah, Ms. Landry hooked me onto my studio monitors, and also her music.

Considering how young she is, I’ve always wondered what influenced her to adopt the classic Hip Hop sound she has…? I mean, she could’ve chosen any technique of current day artists. But the fact she picked the boom-bap bass & drum sound to mold her craft after shows what type of head she has on her shoulders. She’s a 90s baby, such as myself, after all! But in short, I was intrigued by Ms. Landry from day one.

Now I’ve worked with many rappers before, but during that period, I was going through a withdrawal of negativity. Musically, I wanted to work with more positive subjects; spiritually, I was changing as a person (but that’s another story). I started becoming less of “a battle rapper”, and less competitive. So when I finally got the chance to peep Ms. Landry’s discography, I knew this would be the start of something beautiful, something new! So when she expressed her desire to perform more, write more, and rap more, if only she had more beats… that’s when I offered my services. She knew of me before from sharing comments on her videos, but we were strangers “musically.” Now came the introduction: Jovan? Meet O.S. Darko! Darko? Meet Jovan! And for a 7 month span, I sent her the beats, she sent me her criticism. ‘Ye or nay’ was the game we played, a game most people nowadays would’ve considered “hating”… not me, though.

Ms. Landry’s criticism showed me she’s more than meets the eye, and no amateur when it came to production. And I wouldn’t have expected anything less, because I was never one to send anyone scraps, but it was obvious my beats needed a tune up… hey, I got a bit rusty after a long hiatus. *shrugs* But she was patient with me, and I thank her for that. It was never a “nah son, you whack!” moment between us. It was always (but humbly), “back to the drawing board.” Working with Ms. Landry rebuffed my producing skills, learning to markup and backtrack, remix and remaster - techniques I knew, but had to recall after so long.

Learning her sound was also a challenge. For the first time in forever, I was taught how to be accommodating! One size does not “fit all”, and Ms. Landry’s very picky about symphonic attributes, which is good! Plus, she’s humble, and I can’t stress it enough! If more artist had her attitude, we’d all collaborate for the right reasons, and there would be no reason for friction in the game. Hip Hop (or just Rap) has this “divide and conquer” attitude, “separation of power” as they say. I’m not with that anymore, and I could go on, but I digress…

Sure, some may argue Ms. Landry don’t spit those “punch lines” (it‘s happened). But my reasoning is that it’s not about that. A positive artist with a message doesn’t need an aggressive approach. Now, it can be added for spice, and she can definitely take it there, but it’s not necessary. Jesus (yeah, I said it) kept his words simple, no psychobabble (yeah, I said it!). Ms. Landry’s style is straight to the point, nothing but truth and awareness without the nonsense, and that’s what I appreciate most about her rap ability. Plus her flow is classic, can’t beat the classics. lol

It’s hard to believe we’ve been collaborating for months now. Time surely flies. And it’s gonna be a bummer when it’s all over. lol But I can tell you since then she’s grown as an artist, and it’s… bodaciously awesome to know I had a little something to do with that. Just a little. And I used to say that I picked her to collaborate with, but I think it’s the other way around, now. She picked me, and she didn’t have to. Ms. Landry has a big enough camp to help her produce music, she would’ve progressed with or without me. But the fact she allowed my hand to work in the large percentage of her next project is a blessing. We’ve even shared ideas like crazy, which got me more familiar with her personality. I’ve never done that before with anyone. Even when I was making beats for other rappers back in the day! This is what collaborating should feel like.

And to add, not that it’s of any significance, this is me just being honest… but Ms. Landry reminds me of a playground playmate. Not one in particular I remember, just someone I’d laugh and joke with. As if we go back like ‘Elementary, jump rope, hide and go seek, pitty pat, red light | green lightred light | green light?’  (Chris Tucker quote, FTW!)

You know, pictures say a thousand words - and every last one of hers says so much! Sometimes I wonder if we would’ve been good childhood friends. Probably, probably not, who knows, but it’s some people you meet and you’re just glad they exist. That’s how I feel about Ms. Landry.

I haven’t had the honor of formally meeting Jovan Landry, and maybe I never will. But I can tell you she has a good heart and a sensible attitude, and that’s good enough for me. Hopefully though, I’ll see her in the new system, where we’ll all have the time, the means, and in no need of papers to travel, no leaps or boundaries - where we’ll all be citizens of “earth” again. One nation under God, right Rick Ross? Hah ha… Anyway, if you’re looking for a positive emcee to work with, look no further. Humble personalities should work with those of like manner. So, if that’s your underlying trait as an artist, she’s your gal, trust me! Plus the fact she’s able to shoot her own music videos is a tool most rappers wish they had! Triple Threat, indeed! You can learn a lot from Ms. Landry… I did. And I eagerly await the day Jovan and I jump on the same track together.

Jovan is a multiplex of skill and trade. She may be 1/3 Filmmaker, 1/3 Photographer, 1/3 Emcee, but to me, she’s much more than that. Jovan Landry is a diamond in the rough. And there’s no doubt in my mind that fact will still remain the same even without her skills. I thank Ms. Landry for her consent to write this article about her and my experience with working with her. So with that said, I’d like you all to give her a listen. I know I ain’t nobody of notoriety, but I promise, you won’t be disappointed… pas.

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