It was late Saturday night at Pickathon and I was headed to my forested campsite. The stages were all empty, the bars were no longer pouring, and I was wandering through a patchwork of dusty blankets and teetering camp chairs. Meandering down the grassy incline there was the distinct sound of someone dropping a beat, clapping hands and stomping feet. The origin of that beat: a flute.
In the middle of it all was Jonny Cool. Joined by his Rose Tribe crew, the group huddled atop a wooden platform near the Mt. Hood main stage rapping snippets of songs, freestyling to Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean,” and just generally getting down to that flute beat. A small crowd began to gather and the artists quickly had us all chanting: “It’s either quit your job or get fired.”
Sunday afternoon would see Jonny Cool and his big band, complete with a three-piece horn section, share TYuS’ set on the Treeline stage and reprise “Quit Your Job,” this time featuring a guest verse from Free WiLL Vibin.
“The concept for ‘Quit Your Job’ came from being a custodian at Nike a while back,” Cool begins, “and I was given some opportunities to show my music production there, yet my manager at Nike at the time wasn't down with all the networking I was doing with the other employees. I ended up getting fired from that job. They later saw me on campus still hanging out and going to corporate events because of all the networking I had done while working there. That's where the quote, ‘I know you're tired and inspired, it's either quit your job or get fired’ came from. I wanted something heavy and exciting; I wanted to start some shit.”
Much like his late-night freestyle sesh, most "QYJ" came from his stream of consciousness.
“I had the rhyme pattern and a few lines dancing in my mind,” Cool says. “Till finally, I added some more sounds to the drums and did some freestyling in my room. I almost spit the whole verse right there while freestyling.”
And the contribution from Free WiLL Vibin on the track was equally spontaneous. “He wrote his verse while I was recording mine,” Cool says. “He said he was inspired by what I was saying in my verse, so he just wrote it right there on the spot. His voice and flow was the perfect texture to the track, and he brought some extra energy to it.”
Recorded in March at The Magic Closet in SE Portland, the track came together quickly and will be featured on Jonny Cool’s debut album Native Alien, which will be out later this year.