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  • Writer's pictureEvan

A Talk with John Apocalypse

A year ago, five of Miami’s most talented rappers joined forces to form John Apocalypse, a dystopian hip hop collective set on spreading the word of the world’s impending doom. Composed of rappers 8ch2Owens, Prince Divine, c.greg, torchinorfanij, and 305 Beatbox, the lyrical quintet are determined to take over the rap scene before the apocalypse wipes out their audience.

On Halloween last year, the group made their debut with the horrorcore EP, Here’s Something to Fear. Telling tales of demons and gore over a range of booming beats, they debuted with an explosive project, but John Apocalypse are more than just a horrorcore outfit.

8ch said, “We just picked out our five most graphically gory songs and said, ‘Let’s give it to them as a free EP so they can get a taste of us.’ But as you see, John Apocalypse is made out of five individual, solo MCs. We have groups inside of the groups, and we all bring a different flavour to the music.”

Violent lyrics and gritty vocals have become part of the group’s brand, but John Apocalypse refuse to be boxed into any one sound. With a new album on the way, Welcome to Chrome City, the band are eager to share their versatility with their first full-length LP. “We don’t have the dates for Chrome City yet, but like I said, we’re just mixing and mastering,” said c.greg. “Once that’s done, we’ll start working on our rollout plan. I would say by the summer.”

Manager and director of Duilt Bifferent Records, c.greg owns the studio where John Apocalypse write and record all their music. Pointing to him at the back of the car, 8ch was quick to say, “That right there is the general of John Apocalypse … if that man says expect new music from John Apocalypse this summer, we got it coming your way. And we got great surprises in the meantime.”

One of those surprises has already been released. Group members c.greg and Prince Divine joined together to form the duo OWORD, and released their debut EP this past March. Divine touched on how OWORD came to be. “I’m a studio fanatic, I’m a creator,” he said. “I have a studio at my house as well, but not as beautiful as the setup at Greg’s. Basically, I went over to Greg’s and started vibing. We had some really good chemistry. Greg is a very ‘understands the assignment’ type of guy, so it’s easy for us to bounce ideas off each other. It’s never ‘Aw, that idea sucks’; it’s always, ‘How do we make this song better?’”

As well as the pair get along, they did not want to overdo it on their first release. Five songs and just 16 minutes long, their debut is just a taster of what’s to come. “We wanted to keep it short,” said c.greg. “We didn’t want it be a full-length album. Just a little taste for something in the meantime before we drop our next project.” Though they did not give a release date, the duo are excited to have already started work on OWORD, Vol. 2.

The rest of John Apocalypse are just as busy with their own projects. 305 Beatbox recently dropped his debut single, ‘No Beyond’, wherein he raps as well as provides production with his beatboxing talents. “That was just a little teaser to see what people thought about my music,” he said.

Beatbox confirmed an album is in the works, but he seemed more eager to discuss the work of John Apocalypse as whole rather than his solo material. “There’s a lot more coming within the group,” he said. “We got another thing going down with Gridlock Production House. It’s called ’60 Barz of Smoke’. It’s where I’m doing some beatboxing. We’ve got some of the illest MCs out of Miami coming out there and spitting 60 bars.”

Having named himself after the hip hop staple, 305’s beatboxing skills are instantly recognisable in the work of John Apocalypse. Despite falling out of fashion in the mainstream, 305 assures us that beatboxing is alive and well in the underground. “It’s definitely not dying; it’s flourishing. It’s flourishing all over the world … . I feel like this generation has definitely tapped in within the last five years. It’s been growing massively.”

With a solo LP in the works, 305 is excited to share his work with the world, but his focus for now remains on the group. On the other hand, self-proclaimed ‘crazy one’ of the group, torchinorfanij, is eager to share his own debut album.

Despite being a solo effort, Torch still has John Apocalypse to thank for getting the project started. “I’ve always had songs, lyrics, and everything, but it wasn’t until these guys really pushed me to get it together and make it into an album,” he said. “Right now, I’m still working on new songs, but I’ve never been the person to throw random things together just for the sake of getting it out. I like making it cohesive. It might take me a little bit longer, but it’s definitely there.”

Perhaps the most unpredictable member of the group, Torch’s name is as brutal as his style. He touched on the origin behind his stage name: “I really love experimental electronic music, and there’s an artist that I love called Nosaj Thing. I always thought it was cool the way he spelt his name, spelling it out phonetically. So I thought, ‘Ooh, I’d like something like that,’ and I don’t know, torchinorfanij flows so well.”

8ch was quick to add, “If you want to hear some of Torch’s solo stuff, he got mad stuff on Spotify that’ll burn your brain, bro.” Hyping up every other member of the group, collaboration and sharing fellow talent has become the foundation of 8ch’s brand. A publicist for ProFresh Publicity, host of WVCC Radio, and core member of the rap outfit A1phaB3nch, John Apocalypse is one of many collaborative efforts in the rapper’s career.

Despite having been a member of several groups, John Apocalypse still stands out to 8ch. “John Apocalypse is where I get to get my rage out,” he said. “In every other group and manifestation that I’m a part of, it’s more hip hop, jazzy, groovy. The call me the Fresh Prince of Vero Beach. That’s a style that I really like, that smooth vibe, but with these guys I can get on my grungy shit. I could tear somebody’s head off … Having three kids will make you want to rip somebody’s head off and drink their spinal fluid.”

Although the rappers all have their own careers to think about, John Apocalypse is a top priority for all five members. After touching on his work in OWORD, Divine was determined to get across how special the dynamic of the group can be. “John Apocalypse is having success at the moment, and will continue to have success, because it’s many seasons – it’s many flavours in the crockpot,” the rapper said. “Me and Greg are just part of the seasoning of the whole monster that is John Apocalypse. Box has his own flow, Torch has his own style, 8ch has his own thing, Greg has his own thing, and me, Divine, I have my own thing. So putting those things together, man, you come up with a whole plate of food and that’s just great food, good music.”

When I spoke with John Apocalypse, the group were seated together in a car, having just driven all the way to Orlando to perform live and interview the other artists at the venue. “We like to stay involved with local hip hop scenes and hip hop scenes throughout the state to make sure hip hop has a tight network of hip hop heads that love this shit,” said 8ch. “We ‘re proud to be a part of this new renaissance that’s going on right now.”

With Welcome to Chrome City on the way, numerous solo projects in the works, and new OWORD in development, in just one year, John Apocalypse have grown into one of the most prolific collectives in Miami. The group may have formed to warn listeners about the impending apocalypse, but at the rate they’re dropping projects, it seems like we’ll have dozens of albums to occupy us before the world is destroyed.

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