(12/20/13) - "It's a crazy feelin' to come back home after all the things that happened. Because my life has changed so much."
Flint rapper Jon Connor has had quite the year. He released a new album, "Unconscious State," over the summer, which became his first project to make the Billboard charts. Then in October he made a splash during his performance on the BET Hip Hop Awards when he announced that he'd signed with Aftermath Entertainment, the record label founded and run by rap mogul Dr. Dre.
"Sometimes it's still kinda surreal. It's everything I ever wanted," Connor told ABC12's Mid-Michigan Music Scene. "I find myself in the studio with Dre, and everytime it's like WOW! I pinch myself and it's like, this is not a dream, it's really happening."
Dreams are nothing new to Jon. He's been working toward this goal for nearly a decade. He's released several mix tapes and original albums on his All Varsity Music, the label he co-owns with his manager Mateen Cleaves and NBA star Jason Richardson among others.
"I was one of those people who was fortunate enough to turn dreams into reality. You doin' somethin' and reachin' for somethin' for so long, and when it finally manifests to a reality, there's no better feeling."
And Jon says, while signing with a major label has been a goal, he also wanted to make sure it was the right label. And he's confident that Aftermath is the home for him.
"Dre doesn't sign artists often. So that sends a big message," he said. "And as an artist, for me it does so much for my confidence and trusting my instincts."
And now this weekend, Jon is here where it all started to celebrate with his family, friends and the city that shaped him into the man, and artist, he is today. And he says he can't think of a better place to start his new journey.
"I love it, because it's a reminder of where I came from. If I was not born in Flint, Michigan, if I didn't go through the things that a Flint person has to go through, I would not be where I am. And I am so grateful and thankful and I love my city. And I'm here to rebuild faith and rebuild hope in Flint."
Connor has a big weekend planned for his homecoming. Friday he's throwing a party at Encore Sports Bar & Grille on Beecher Road in Flint Township beginning at 9 p.m. Then Sunday he's playing a concert at Z Club on Dort Highway in Flint at 7:30.
"We just gonna have a good time, gonna have a party. You know, listen to some music, feel good and spread positive energy. On Sunday I'm gonna take people from 2005 to 2013 and just perform various songs from all the years I was doin' my thing in Flint."
And he says now that he's hit the big time, he knows the legacy he has to live up to. Much like Grand Funk Railroad, MC Breed and Dayton Family, he plans to do his part to spread the word about Flint's music scene and the city as a whole.
"It's up to me now, bein' in the public eye and bein' from Flint. I'm gonna do my best to wave the flag and build the awareness of Flint, Michigan. Because we have a story to tell and I'm gonna tell it."
Jon also says while this is a major milestone in his career, he's far from finished with his goals.
"For me, it's not over until there's Grammys on the wall, millions of records have been sold and I'm able to have other artists and watch their careers flourish.
ABC12 Main Station