Interview: Dan Johns “Rebirth of a Dying Breed”


With a new Mixtape, Ep, and Album on the way!

On Point Magazine catches up with Dan Johns and gets the low on him , Mag-o and much more!

Plus it’s our first interview for 2008! (PLz leave feedback)

Click below to read the full interview!



Steelz: First of all i like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Dan Johns: It’s always a pleasure, you know that. I appreciate the opportunity to be heard.

Steelz: What was your thought process while recording this mixtape?

Dan Johns: Well, almost immediately after the release of “In The Face of Danger,” I began doing a lot of shows, and telling my story in various interviews. Those different things inspired me, and it was a natural reaction to get back in the studio. So, for me, it was all about just doing what I do best, and make the kind of music that I like to listen to: raw, gritty, direct hip hop music.

Steelz: Explain the mixtape’s title “Rebirth of a Dying Breed”

Dan Johns: The title of the mixtape is a call to arms for artists that are in the same vein as me, and everyone that was involved in this project. The demise of hip hop is being greatly exaggerated, due to the overexposure of certain sub-genres of rap music. It is more about showing the world that the “dying breed” of raw emcees is always going to bounce back. We’re always going to be the bearers of the torch.

Steelz: If i’m not mistaken wasn’t this mixtape..actually suppose to be a EP that you and Encore was working on?

Dan Johns: Yeah, Encornelius aka DJ Encore and I started out recording this project as an EP where he did all of the beats, and I did all of the rhymes. But, after a while, we had more songs than a typical EP would have, and my management situation changed as well (shout out to Jonathan Master). So, as a part of a bigger promotional push, we decided that it would be in the best interest of all involved to make this project into a free mixtape, to further spread the word about Dan Johns and the high caliber of music that’s coming from around my way.


Steelz: I still see Encore did alot of production on the mixtape. How would you describe the chemistry between you two for this project?

Dan Johns: Well, the chemistry between Encore and I is based on over 8 years of friendship, and working together musically. We can bicker about the beats that I choose, or bug out with a bottle of gin after a studio session, and at the end of the day the music still bangs. So, on this project we decided that instead of trying to cater to different markets, or make what some may consider to be ‘radio friendly’ joints, that we would both just black out and do what we wanted to do. The rhymes on “Rebirth of a Dying Breed” are a lot more edgy and gritty…

Steelz: Outside of Encore what other producers do you have on the mixtape?

Dan Johns: The song “Hopefully” (featuring Fat Rat Da Czar) was not only the first time that I did a joint with Fat, but it was the first time that I got a beat from M-Phazes. He came through big time on that one. Also, the mixtape’s DJ, DJ Forge laced me on “See The Edge,” K-Hill produced “Think Twice,” LR Hook produced “Scavengers of Hip Hop” (featuring iCON The Mic King) and The Returners produced “Top Rhymes.”

Steelz: I was reading on your site that you were letting your fans decide your new single/video. What made you take that aproach? Is the verdict in?

Dan Johns: Yeah man. There were a couple of reasons that we decided to let the fans choose the video. The obvious reason is because if you give the fans the option to choose the song, then that should hopefully minimize any criticism about which song was selected for the first video. Secondly, I love both songs that we had narrowed it down to, and could not put my heart into a decision for one over the other. It also didn’t hurt that giving fans a chance to vote helped with the buzz around the mixtape.


Steelz: I notice that you have a new did that come about?

Dan Johns: Yeah, it was actually a situation where I was contacted about appearing on a producer’s album (shouts to DJ Incise), and after I had wrapped up my contribution, we continued to build on how to continue to work together to accomplish more musically. We layed out a gameplan, put a timetable on when certain things needed to happen, and began to execute the plan. It is a big adjustment at times, since I’m used to having my hands in everything, but I’m learning to let go more, and let Jon work.

Steelz: Can we expect a new album from Dans Johns in 2008? Do you have any details yet?

Dan Johns: In 2008, you can expect a new album, and an EP that will precede the album. I’ve already started work on both, and you can expect to hear a lot from the major producers on past albums like MIDI Marc and Jah Freedom, and some new collaborators as well. The EP is still untitled, but there is a tentative title and concept for the album…but we’ll talk about that in future interviews.

Steelz: So what other goals do have set for yourself this year?

Dan Johns: I’m trying to do a couple of tours this year, hopefully with one taking me overseas for the first time. A handful of my peers come back from their tours with stories of fans asking when Dan Johns will be in Europe or Australia, and that’s some serious love. I need to go over there and show them that it’s appreciated.

Steelz: I also noticed that over the last couple months you relaunch Random Thoughts Magazine.
What part do you play in the Magazine?

Dan Johns: I’m the editor-in-chief of Random Thoughts Magazine. The focus of the mag is definitely more socially conscious, as our focus isn’t to be labeled as a music magazine. We want all members of the enlightened generation to read the magazine, contribute, and be a part of the movement. Our online community can be found at


Steelz: What’s your take on Carolinas Hiphop sence?

Dan Johns: It’s good to see people that I’ve been on the grind with for years finally getting their shine, and it’s good to see that the Carolinas are slowly getting more national respect. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and of course there are still crabs in the barrel trying to slow down progress.

Steelz: Outside of the you and the Mag-o….who do you Feel at this moment?

Dan Johns: All of the people on my mixtape: K-Hill, Supastition, Fat Rat Da Czar, Villanova, iCON The Mic King, Chaundon. I’m checking for Oddisee, Royce, so many different cats.

Steelz: How do u feel about all the slack that HipHop caught in 2007? Do you feel 2008 will be a
better year?

Dan Johns: In 2007, everyone was looking for someone to blame, and in many cases hiphop was a perfect scapegoat. I don’t feel like it was fair, but at the same time, a lot of that negative attention was the result of things that hip hop artists and executives put out there. You can’t get mad at the perception of hip hop being negative when you’re adding to that negative image. We have to clean our own house. I think it will get better for SOME in 2008, and worse for others.

Steelz: How do you feel about the effect that the internet has had on HipHop and its fans as a whole?

(postive or negative)

Dan Johns: I feel that the internet has made the world flat, in the sense that you can connect with more people, a lot faster than say 10 years ago. This is a positive thing for independent artists trying to find more people that feel what they are doing, but it can also be negative. Fans have a much shorter attention span, since they don’t have to settle for timetables set by labels to get new music. It’s a mixed bag.

Steelz: Any last words?

Dan Johns: Thanks for the chance to say what’s on my mind, and for those of you that are unfamiliar, check me out at and for the latest and greatest. What’s up to Mag-O: Akshun, Amen, the Carolinas as a whole, and real rap worldwide. Peace.

Dan Johns and DJ Forge – “Rebirth of a Dying Breed” (Free DL)



Dan Johns Mixtape Cover

01) Top Rhymes
02) How You Gon School Me!
03) The Hoax (ft. Akshun)
04) See The Edge
05) Think Twice (ft. K-Hill)
06) No Rewinds
07) Hall of Fame
08) Scavengers of Hip Hop (ft. iCON The Mic King)
09) We Make The Rules (ft. Supastition)
10) Can’t Kill Me (ft. K-Hill)
11) Hopefully (ft. Fat Rat Da Czar)
12) Why Don’t You Hear Me (ft. Brian Connor of Villanova)
13) Same Page ’08 (ft. Chaundon)
14) Front Line (ft. Saga Cash)
15) Now I Know
16) Midnight Express (ft. Amen and Akshun)
17)Rest In Peace (ft. Vahid)

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