John W. Armour (born May 15, 1984), better known by his stage name Johnny Polygon, is an American hip hop recording artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has released music independently and also under DJ Green Lantern's Invasion Music Group label. After releasing several self-released albums and relocating to Los Angeles, in 2008 Polygon met Lantern, who then offered him a deal and a chance to record music together in his New York City studio. In 2009, Polygon released Group Hug, his debut extended play (EP) and his first release under Invasion Music Group. In 2010, Polygon followed his EP with Rebel Without Applause, his first official mixtape which included the promotional single, "The Riot Song". On April 1, 2010, Polygon announced he was no longer signed to Lantern's Invasion Music Group imprint and would continue to release music independently.
Polygon has worked with high-profile artists such as Nas and Kid Cudi. He frequently works with his longtime friend and Oklahoman Gabriel Royal and has also worked with Amanda Diva, Dead Prez and Yelawolf. Since 2001, Polygon has released seven albums with his latest being The Nothing (2013). He is currently working on his eighth studio album, Pussy Gun. Polygon is also looking to new opportunities with Armatura Production Haus, a new endeavor that will umbrella various multimedia projects: music video production, television, film, and a new children's books he's working on. "It's just a fan-funded production company," he said. "My label is my fans."
1984-2008: Early life and career beginnings:
Johnny Polygon was born John Armour on May 15, 1984, in Cleveland, Ohio. His family soon relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Polygon was raised and proudly claims as his hometown. Polygon first encountered hip hop through breakdancing. Polygon would sneak into Retro Night at Cain's Ballroom with some of his underage friends. One night they snuck in and witnessed a rap battle; Polygon then swore the next time Cain's hosted one he'd enter. Polygon did, and won. One of the disc jockeys there, DJ Shabazz, invited him to record an album. Word spread among his friends and the small but dedicated hip hop crowd in Tulsa. Polygon continued participating in local theater groups and rap battles, helping him develop a sense of stage presence and projection.
As a teenager, Polygon attended Booker T. Washington High School, Central High School and Project 12 High School, all of which he was kicked out of. Later, with much determination, he dropped out of high school and told his parents he wanted to be a rapper.
"I told my parents I want to do music, and they were like you can't really do that here. So my dad was like 'I'll give you a ride--where you want to go, L.A. or New York?' And the weather was nicer in L.A., so I was like 'let's go there.'"
Ultimately surviving on the underground Midwest scene for several years, amassing several self-released albums, Polygon headed out to Hollywood, to further his music career. He went to Los Angeles with only $300 and a thousand copies of his first CD Leggo My Ego (2004), which he sold to strangers on Hollywood Boulevard, chatting up a couple hundred people a day.
It was in Los Angeles where Polygon met Nathan Morse, who approached him on making a music video for a song of his titled "Bag". The video was eventually entered into an online contest. The video caught the attention of one of the judges of that contest, DJ Green Lantern. Liking what he saw and heard, after months of back and forth, in 2008 Green Lantern invited Polygon to New York, where he then signed Polygon to his label, Invasion Music Group. Once Polygon signed with DJ Green Lantern, he moved to Brooklyn, they then recorded several songs including "Price on Your Head", an original song written for 2008's Grand Theft Auto 4 video game. That same year Polygon was featured on fellow American rapper Nas' 2008 untitled album, singing the chorus for the song "Black President".
2009-2010: Mixtapes, Group Hug and Wolf in Cheap Clothing:
In 2009, Polygon made his national television debut on BET's Inaugural Address, performing "Black President" with Nas. He later released his debut extended play (EP) titled Group Hug, under Invasion Music Group, on May 12, 2009. On July 17, Polygon was featured in Vapor Magazine and on September 14, he was again featured in YRB Magazine. Polygon made an appearance on the Dead Prez mixtape Pulse of the People: Turn Off the Radio Vol. 3 (2009). He was featured on the song, "NYDP", which was also featured in the 2010 film Brooklyn's Finest. In late 2009, Polygon made a cameo appearance in Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness" music video, alongside fellow rappers Drake and Consequence.
On February 14, 2010, Polygon released Rebel Without Applause, a mixtape presented by DJ Green Lantern and Karmaloop.com. The mixtape features guest appearances from Kid Cudi, Amanda Diva, and longtime friend and collaborator Gabe Royal. Following the release of the mixtape was a music video for "The Riot Song", which premiered on February 23. The video is a Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner inspired live action cartoon, using over 3,000 real paper cut outs to tell the story, with no repeating images. Johnny Polygon's "The Riot Song" was featured on HBO's 2010 series How to Make it in America and included on the How to Make it in America Mixtape presented by Kid Cudi, DJ Green Lantern and Broke Mogul. During the intro of the track Cudi states that Johnny is "...the illest up and coming artists". On March 31, 2010, Polygon visited Los Angeles' KPWR's POWER 106 FM THE TAKEOVER with the LA Leakers and DJ Reflex. During the show he performed a freestyle over The Black Eyed Peas' hit single "Imma Be". In the July 2010 issue of Oklahoma Magazine, Johnny Polygon had a featured spread.
Polygon also had his own online show on karmaloop.tv. The premise of the show revolved around Polygon and his life as an recording artist. On its second season, the show had featured stories about him, Nas, and Kid Cudi as well as what its like to be in the shoes of Johnny Polygon. In 2010, Polygon's song "Ebonics", was included on the soundtrack to the film The Rock 'n' Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher. During a show in Los Angeles on April 1, 2010, Polygon announced to his fans that he was moving forward as an independent artist. Polygon's video for "The Riot Song" premiered on MTV2's show subterranean on July 28, 2010. Also in late July, "The Riot Song" music video was added to VH1 Soul and mtvU. "The Riot Song" video, eventually broke MTV's Top 100 peaking at #8.
On November 16, 2010, Johnny released an official 30-track mixtape presented by Orisue, titled Catch Up. It is a compilation album composed of tracks from his career up to 2010, as well as remixes, collaborations with other artists, and unreleased tracks. The tape was released in promotion for his second EP, Wolf in Cheap Clothing (2010). Wolf in Cheap Clothing was released for free download on December 15, 2010 to critical acclaim.
2011-present: The Nothing and Pussy Gun:
In 2011, Polygon returned to his Oklahoma roots where he was featured on the back of This Land Press' January print issue, as part of the paper's "True Tulsa" portrait series. In an interview published in April 2011, he revealed earlier in his career a label based out of San Francisco offered him a record deal, on the condition that he transplant himself to the Bay Area and represent it as his hometown, Johnny Polygon declined out of loyalty to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In August 2011, Polygon stopped by Los Angeles' Knocksteady Live and performed "Limosexsuperstar", a new song from his upcoming project, Pussy Gun, for their podcast. Polygon's album Pussy Gun, had been announced for a 2012 release under Bananabeat Records.
On March 7, 2012, Polygon released a trailer for a song titled "My Shit >" and released the song for free download via his Facebook page. Almost eight months after performing the song for Knocksteady TV, Polygon released the un-mastered audio for Pussy Gun's lead single, "Limosexsuperstar". On September 7, 2012, via his Twitter feed, Polygon announced that he is no longer signed or affiliated with Bananabeat Records and would release Pussy Gun independently. The music video for his song "My Shit", was also released on September 7. Polygon made his directorial debut in November 2012, directing the music video for THURZ's "Are You Not", features vocals from Polygon himself.
On December 12, 2012 Polygon revealed he would be releasing a project preceding the release of Pussy Gun. He stated the project would feature 7-12 brand new songs and would be released in early 2013, while announcing Pussy Gun for late 2013. On February 27, 2013 Polygon released The Nothing. The 12-track album was the product of collaborations with record producers Picnic Tyme, Daygee Kwia, ACDMY and Mateo. The album was co-produced, mixed, and mastered by Manhattan-based record producer Alex Gruenberg.The Nothing was available for free download and later on March 4, 2013, for digital purchase. Later that month Polygon embarked on a U.S. national tour entitled Light Up The Night, which began in Tulsa at The Vanguard on March 20, with Pac Div Polygon later announced he would be releasing an EP next. In January 2014, Polygon tweeted: "The new EP is shaping up beastly" and revealed he would premiere some new songs at his then-upcoming show in New York. A few days later he tweeted: "My next ep will be my last". On February 1, 2014, Polygon released a remix to the viral song "Versace", which he re-titled "Old Navy".
On March 23, 2014, Polygon unveiled a tentative tracklist for the new EP, when he posted a screenshot of it on Instagram, with the caption: "It's happening again. 5 more and it's all yours.". Throughout May 2014, Polygon performed in New York City, to promote his upcoming project. On June 19, 2014 Polygon tweeted: "Droppin a new project next month. Touring it in august". On June 20, 2014, Polygon released a song titled "Never Too Old to Die Young", from his upcoming EP.