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Pigeon John

Pigeon John is an underground MC with a genre-fusing style and positive lyrics. He is sometimes labeled a Christian rapper because of his hopeful messages and references to God, but with easily relatable subject matter and musical influences drawing from across the spectrum of rock and pop music, he aims to reach as wide an audience as possible. Active since the early 1990s, he made an impact on the hip-hop world as a member of the L.A. Symphony collective, as well as acclaimed solo efforts like 2003's Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister. Subsequent albums like 2010's Dragon Slayer incorporated more live instrumentation and sung vocal hooks, and he received mainstream exposure as several of his songs were featured in advertisements, including the 2011 single "The Bomb" and 2019's "They Don't Make Em Like Me." He continued delivering uplifting vibes with 2020's Gotta Good Feelin', drawing influence from Motown, reggae, alternative rock, and dance music. Born to mixed-race parents in Omaha, Nebraska, John Dust felt out of place due to the color of his skin, a feeling that also continued after he moved to Inglewood, California. He found solace and friendship, however, in rapping, and by the early '90s was performing at open mikes at Good Life Café, where other seminal acts like the Pharcyde and Freestyle Fellowship got their start. Dust founded the hip-hop duo Brainwash Projects with his childhood friend bTwice, and both rappers became part of the larger L.A. Symphony collective. After Dust released albums as part of both groups, he self-released his solo debut, 2001's Pigeon John...Is Clueless, which brought him enough success (albeit small) to get him signed to Basement Records, the label that released 2003's Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister and 2005's Pigeon John Sings the Blues! The next step for the rapper was signing to underground hip-hop mainstay Quannum, which issued Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party in September 2006. After releasing an EP with Flynn Adam Atkins under the name Rootbeer, Pigeon John returned to Quannum in 2010 with his fifth album, Dragon Slayer. Produced with Quannum artist General Elektriks, the album focused on live instrumentation rather than samples. Lead single "The Bomb" was used to promote the premiere of Cartoon Network's live-action film Level Up in 2011, and became one of John's most well-known tracks. General Elektriks also helped produce Pigeon John's next album, Encino Man, which arrived in 2014. He collaborated with Alpha MC on The Rebound EP, released the same year. After signing with Dine Alone Records, the MC issued his seventh album, Good Sinner, in 2016. Digital release Rap Record appeared in 2017, and Rootbeer's first full-length, Gold, arrived soon afterward. Pigeon John and his family relocated to Portland, Oregon, and he released the dancefloor-friendly single "They Don't Make Em Like Me" in 2019, preceding the eclectic full-length Gotta Good Feelin' in 2020. He continued releasing singles throughout the year, including "Pick It Up Again (Outta My Way)" and "The Greatest."
© Marisa Brown & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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