Selected by: Aaron Bishop

Name: JonnoAQ

Where He’s From: Peckham, South East London

When He Started: 2014

Genre: UK hip-hop

File Next To: DC, Kadiata, Knucks

Sounds Like: “My sound varies. It always changes because I never want to be boxed in, but my message is the same: it’s confident, motivational, and real. When you listen to my music, you become a big fan of yourself.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “When I first saw the music video for The Game and 50 Cent’s ‘How We Do’ on MTV Base, the lifestyle got me! It was too impactful.”

Self-described as “SE15’s best-kept secret”, JonnoAQ seems increasingly ready to step into the spotlight. Earlier this year, he dropped his debut EP F.E.A.R, which he describes as his “biggest achievement” to date, along with a listening party and a documentary. “F.E.A.R opened so many doors and it helped me build a real fanbase that I never really had before,” he tells TRENCH. JonnoAQ is playing the long game; he knows that it’s better to build slowly and securely, than to rise quickly and fall off like so many others before him.

Growing up, the Peckham native was exposed to a variety of sounds, from hip-hop and jazz to R&B and soul, while his own musical journey began in 2014. That same year, he become a member of Brit-rap collective ALQAE (alongside school friends Floss AQ and Jiggy Jim), with their crowning achievement to date being the criminally underrated The Surface, an 11-track set they released in 2018. When it comes to JonnoAQ’s own sound, however, it’s perhaps a bit harder to pin down. Not wanting to be trapped in any musical box, his willingness to experiment is something that he doesn’t shy away from and is sure to be explored further in the near future.

JonnoAQ’s message is his USP. The constant thread throughout his music is that through self-belief and determination, it is possible to manifest and achieve your goals. It’s motivation music. We’ve seen many examples over the years of guys from the ends making it out the hood through music, from Stormzy to Nines, but with JonnoAQ, he’s telling you that it doesn’t matter what the dream is: you can make it happen. And he plans to practice what he preaches as the months and years unfold.

The rapper’s main goal is to “take the world by storm” and “impact the world in a major way through my music and the moves I make, and encourage people to be the best version of themselves through trial and error and, most importantly, faith in God. Nothing that you desire that you can see is unattainable.” The dream may be a big one, but JonnoAQ has proved already that he’s in this for the long haul. His unwavering confidence in himself and his ability make him well-equipped for the journey. After six years in the game, this is still just the beginning.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on August 19, 2020