Los Angeles is home to many greats, and K Johns plans to be one of them. The rising star is a Westmont District native, born and raised in South Central LA. Whether he’s spitting about overcoming obstacles or soothe-talking the females, K Johns creates from a real place, with lyrics inspired directly by real life experiences.
In describing himself, K Johns states he’s an “authentic, real person. Solid, just a stand up guy. Real. Real is a cliche word, but that’s really how I describe myself. I’m real because I’m straightforward. I’m honest. I’m blunt sometimes, maybe too blunt. But it’s real. It’s no facade, I’m not doing it for no points or nothing.”
Most recently, K Johns unveiled the official music video to his new single titled “Do Better,” showcasing his most polished and refined version of his artistry yet. The record serves as a message to all females out there that they deserve more than their current relationship, reminding them of their worth.
Fans can also look forward to the release of his new project titled One of Them Ones, dropping July 28th.
AllHipHop spoke with K Johns in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his roots in Los Angeles, how he started rapping, the inspo behind “Do Better,” Nipsey Hussle’s influence, goals, and more!
AllHipHop: Growing up in Westmont District, what was that like?
K Johns: To me, it was normal. Because I didn’t really get to see other environments until I started playing sports. I started having other friends from different places, I started going to spend the night at each other’s houses. Once I started doing that, I started seeing like damn, my friends don’t live like me. They might have a bigger house or they may have a nicer car they driving in when they go to school, or they may have a better neighborhood and better things to do around their neighborhood. That’s when I started realizing it was a difference, in certain places that you went. At least in the city that I was from, because I hadn’t really started traveling until I got older. At least where I was from, I thought everybody was living the same way. As a kid, you’re not used to that.
AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?
K Johns: As a kid forreal. My first music video I remember seeing was an Usher video, “You Make Me Wanna…” The first real rapper video that made me excited over rapping was Hot Boys, Lil Wayne. “Back That Azz Up,” that video. I’m like, what the f###? That s### blew my mind. [laughs] As I got older, my dad was a big fan of Lil Wayne. When I was in middle school and Lil Wayne was really hot, him rapping just blew my mind. It made me a big critic on music at first. Eventually, I always played around with rapping for fun, but I never thought I could be a rapper. But I for sure was always into music, always liked different types of music.
AllHipHop: When did you realize you could start rapping?
K Johns: I realized I could start rapping when I was in college forreal, me and my friends used to freestyle every Thursday. We used to have fun, get drunk and freestyle. One time, we started doing it at a party. We gathered a little crowd around because they seen what we were doing. I start rapping at the party. I was playing around like we usually do, but the reaction that I got surprised me. Damn, my friends were telling me that I was good. But once I got a reaction from a bunch of people that I didn’t know, it made it more like okay damn, they’re not lying. They’re not just telling me that because they my friends, other people feel the same way. But I was playing football at the time, so I didn’t really take it serious. I wasn’t really thinking “I’ma start making music because of this.” It was a thought in the back of my head, like maybe I can make music one day.
AllHipHop:How would you describe your sound?
K Johns: My sound is LA. Fun. Informative, bouncy, catchy. I like to say cool too. Growing up, people used to say I think I’m cool. Me being calm in my raps, it displays that. My personality.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?
K Johns: My name came from my real name. It’s the first letter of my first name, then the first four letters of my last name. I’ve been calling myself K Johns since forever, before I started rapping. So I just stuck with it.
AllHipHop: You just released “Do Better.” Did a certain female inspire this record?
K Johns: That’s more so a general track to all the girls, because I know there’s a lot of talk on the internet about relationships. That’s a big topic through the different platforms, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, podcasting. It’s a big topic. Nowadays in this generation, it’s a lot of b####### going on. It’s motivation for the women to do better. S###, you could do better. You don’t have to put up with no b#######, it’s a lot of people out here. Because in my mind, I feel the same way when I deal with women. I’m not gonna put up with no b####### because it’s a lot of people out here. If I can do better, I’m gonna do better. If you know better, you’re gonna do better. If I tell you, if I remind you like hey you can do better, you’re gonna do it.
AllHipHop: What inspired the video?
K Johns: The video idea came from the song concept really. It’s basically a girl comes to my show, she got her dude blowing up her phone up. I convince her throughout the show to do better, which is me. I ended up leaving with her. [laughs] Smooth, real player.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your upcoming EP, One Of Them Ones? I
K Johns: S###, the title! It’s one of them ones. I dropped a couple projects so far, probably four. Not all ful projects, couple of small EPs. But this is literally one of the ones, the best. I’m calling it the best project of 2023. When people bring it up, that’s gon’ be what they say: it’s one of them ones. It’s one of them tapes, one of those ones that you want to go listen to. That’s what it is.
How does it showcase your artistic growth?
K Johns: It showcases my artistic growth through the diversity in the songs. I used to make a lot of music tailored to people like me. Usually when I make a project, I try to make the project well-rounded as far as trying to hit in all angles. Music for the ladies, music for my crowd, music for other listeners. But I don’t really always reach it to the aspect that I’m supposed to, I don’t reach the full potential. On this project, I actually did that. I tapped into my female crowd, which is most of my fanbase. I was more diverse, I did a better job of doing it.
AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to take away from your story?
K Johns: To be yourself, that you can win by being you. Literally. The fact that you’re an individual and we’re all different, that’s what makes you special. You can win if you hone in on whatever that is that makes you special, compared to everybody else.
AllHipHop: Three things you need in the studio at all times?
K Johns: Water for sure, some Fiji water. Some weed, and quiet. I need it to be quiet, a smooth environment. At least when I’m working. When I’m not working and we might be listening to the music, it’s cool. But while I’m working, I don’t like all the partying. Peace and quiet for. I want to work, I want to create. Be able to think clear.
AllHipHop: What sets you apart from the other West Coast artists?
K Johns: What sets me apart from the other West Coast artists is I don’t gangbang. [laughs] It’s not important to us as it is to the outside world, but I know that it’s a big thing nowadays. Because a lot of n*ggas don’t make it, unless they gangbang. So the fact that I don’t, it’s harder for me to maneuver around. But that’s what makes me different, and the fact that I’m comfortable with it. I’m not trying to attach myself to nothing at all, I’m an artist. I’m a creator, I got “creator” tattooed on my face. I like to make s###.
What do you have tattooed in your neck? Because that looks painful.
K Johns: This for Nip, the Marathon.This side is the chess player, this side is the Sagittarius.
What was Nipsey Hussle’s influence on you? Rest in peace.
K Johns: Nipsey’s influence is big man, rest in peace for sure. The Marathon mixtape, that was the Bible for me when I first heard it. When I first discovered it. I started listening to Nipsey, Bullets Ain’t Got No Name – Vol. 2. I can’t say I was super into that project, it was a couple of songs off that project that had my attention. But once I heard The Marathon, I really was like oh yeah, this is the best s### I’ve ever heard. At the time, I was chasing the football dream. NFL dream, that s### motivated me to another level. I was so locked in, it was all from his words.
I was raised by my pops, but my pops taught me a lot of s### visually. We didn’t sit down and have a bunch of talks like you see in the movies. He showed me, I just had to watch him. I learned a lot from that. But Nipsey, listening to his music, I got to learn a lot of s###. It was like reading a book because he was literally talking to me and telling me s### I should be doing. It played a big role, I got him tattooed on my chest.
AllHipHop: Favorite Nipsey song?
K Johns: Damn, that’s hard. I never been asked that question, f###. Probably “Creep,” or one of the unreleased songs. It don’t have no official title, but it’s one of the unreleased songs.
AllHipHop: What about favorite project?
K Johns: The Marathon fasho, because it meant the most to me. All his projects, like X-Tra Laps, they got quality music. Me personally, I liked all his s###. That’s not to be biased, I was a big fan of bro. I liked all the s### that he was dropping. The Marathon meant the most to me, so I’ma say that’s my favorite one.
AllHipHop: How much did it hurt you when he passed?
K Johns: Man, that f##### me up. Not gonna lie. I hate to say this because this gon’ sound bad, but I got family that passed away I didn’t shed a tear about. I shed a tear when he died, because he played a big role in my life. I came across Nipsey one time and it wasn’t even no big conversation. It wasn’t no we got to really chop it up, we wasn’t friends, none of that. But his music meant that much that it was like damn! It’s selfish to say, but I’m not gon’ be able to get no more game. He was teaching me, he was giving me the blueprint. He was showing me s###, he was giving me the direction. For sure, so it f##### me up. The whole city was outside. We rolled around the city for sure I was outside the whole day.
AllHipHop: Do you have any goals for yourself?
K Johns: Hell yeah, I want a Platinum record for sure. I want to take my family on tour. I want to be able to travel like that. My family, my friends, I’ma take them on tour. I want property, I want to be able to move my family to a better situation. I literally pray to be put in a position that I can put others in position, so that’s really my main goal. A lot of people said that’s not really a goal, but to me it really is. That’s all I work for.
AllHipHop: When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun?
K Johns: I like to play the game with my friends, like a little kid. That’s how I escape from all the s### that I’m doing. I paint, that’s damn near my job. I do murals on walls. I do canvases, I do shoes. I’ve done clothes before. I like to create like I said, I got “creator” on my face. I like to make s###. I’m not an outside type of person. I don’t really be outside like I used to, as far as the club. I like to go out to eat, I like to travel.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
K Johns: I’ma line up some shows. A lot of my fans, they be asking about shows. I’ma line up some shows after I drop his tape. I should be performing soon, I’ll be announcing that. I’m dropping the tape on the 28th. I’m already working on my next project. Of course these song been done, so I’ve been recording this year. I got a new project on the way, drop it around the end of the year. I got more music coming. I’m trying to keep working, keep putting as many shots up as I can.