When it comes to molding new rap talent, no one has a track record like Dr. Dre. Snoop Lion, Eminem, 50 Cent, the Game and Kendrick Lamar all hail from the Dre school of rap, and now, the Good Doctor has taken another under his wing: Jon Connor.
On Tuesday night, the Flint, Michigan MC used the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards to reveal to the world at large that he has now signed to Dre’s Aftermath record label with the closing bars on his cypher freestyle.
In recent years, the BET Award Show Cyphers have become a rite of passage for many upcoming MCs, and for Connor, there was no platform more fitting for him to make his grand announcement. “I was thinking, ’How can I end this? How can I make this a moment? ’ This was my first time doing the cypher and I wanted to make it a moment,” Connor told MTV News. “I ran it by Dre and he was like, ’Yo, that’s dope.'”
Connor first linked with the production icon this past summer after building a reputation as a highly skilled lyricist thanks to underground mixtape releases like 2012’s The Blue Album and The People’s Rapper, where he hijacked a number of Eminem instrumentals to rhyme over.
“The music was there, he liked the music and he liked what I was doing, he respected what I was doing. It was just at that point going in the studio, seeing if we had chemistry and vibing out as people,” Connor said of he and Dre’s feeling-out period. “You can be the greatest artist in the world, but if you a d–k ain’t nobody gonna wanna work with you. It don’t matter how good you are.”
It took some time, but after months of collaboration and creative building, the ink is dry and Connor is officially on Aftermath. “That’s what sealed the deal, us being in the studio, vibing out. It was the chemistry musically and the chemistry as two good people,” he said.
Ultimately, Connor says he and Dre both thrive to push the music and hip-hop culture forward. “The thing that drives me and Dre are one and the same. I’m not a dude that’s driven by the money. I’m driven by the craft, I’m driven by the message, I’m driven by what I can do to help people and how I can influence people and that’s Dre,” he said. “Dre is all about the culture, the influence. He’s not a dude that’s like, ’Yo, let me sign this artist because of what he can do for me financially.’ Because Dre ain’t tripping financially, we all know that.”