Pairadime Music Summer Showcase
9 p.m. Friday
Kamp’s Deli & XIII X Lounge
1310 N.W. 25th
“I got back from spring break and told everyone I was going to put out a mixtape in a week,” Johnson said. “Starting that day, I did nothing but recording. I wanted to have something to introduce people to me and what I was doing and wanted to do.”
Long been a standout athlete in his native Edmond, he was eyeing a future in football until an injury forced him to put up the shoulder pads and pick up a microphone.
“I wasn’t used to just sitting around like that. I just started rapping and recording, and it just took off like that,” Johnson said. “I had done freestyles with my friends for fun before, but I never took it that seriously. Then I got hurt.”
The dramatic change certainly had its silver lining, and Johnson — who raps under the moniker Mon, pronounced “moan” — quickly found his own voice in a fast-emerging Oklahoma hip-hop scene since starting about a year ago.
His proper debut single, “Bound to Go” — a high-energy banger with shades of Lil Wayne and Clipse — dropped on June 1.
However, more telling might be other recent releases “Trains” and “Do You Right,” dreamy ballads from the Clams Casino school of production. With the songs coming across equal parts R&B and hip-hop, Drake and The-Dream would be proud.
“I know I can rap. I want to get better at the other stuff,” Johnson said. “It’s something I really care about, because I want to be able to do anything. When I do a song, it’s not always going to be straight rap. I bring a lot of different elements in.”
Later this summer, Johnson plans to release another album through local hip-hop blog Pairadime Music, which presents Friday’s showcase at Kamp’s, including Josh Sallee, Purple Mouth Bandits, Myke Brown, Frank Black and Studda Budda.
“Just a few months ago, it was basically just my friends listening to me, and I wondered if I should just give it up,” Johnson said. “Things have come a long way in a short amount of time, and it’s only going to get better. I feel like I’m going to get there.”