New Kensington rapper's 'Johnny' speaks of need to leave gangster life
The song “Johnny,” a rap piece full of offensive language and expletives, is not what it appears to be, says New Kensington rapper Joshua Broadnax, otherwise known as “T-Grizz.”
Just listen closely to the lyrics, he says, which tell a story about the misery a young man faces in the gangster lifestyle he wants to leave, because he now has a child and wants to change.
Broadnax chose the wording of the self-penned song — which won in the hip-hop single category in the Pittsburgh Underground Music Awards, held in Penn Hills this summer — in order to speak to rap fans in their usual language, he says.
“I wanted people to feel it — to really feel it, and to really know where I was coming from with it,” says Broadnax, 28. A 2004 graduate of Valley High School in New Kensington, he played football during sophomore and junior year, when he attended the alternative school Summit Academy. “When you listen to it, you'll really get the grasp of it.”
Broadnax — who works in construction during the summer, but otherwise spends all of his professional time on his music — plans to write a sequel to the song about how the character makes the change into a new life. The new song won't sound the same and will have a different background tune, he says.
Broadnax performs at some local venues, including Big Dogs in Cheswick.
His first album — “For the Women” — was self-penned and produced without a record label, which he hopes to get in the future. Broadnax describes his album as pro-female, because rap lyrics often demean women.
“Johnny” fulfills this theme, he says, with its mention of how the character is wrongly trying to get his ex-girlfriend to help him. Some underground radio stations played the song, which has almost 4,000 hits on its YouTube video.
“I wanted to do something different,” says Broadnax, the father of four: Jae-lemar, 8; Tiawna, 8; Aysia, 7; and Cloniann, 1.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7824 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.