Born Oshoma John Coach in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, John Networq is a musician to watch. On Saturday, September 18, he released an experimental project titled ‘Son of Merlin’. The project explores stories of growing up in Niger Delta, facing poverty and uncertainties that come with being a creative. Talking on the project, John Networq says “ My life’s experiences inspired it.”

The 7 track EP opens with a cover of J Cole’s Love Yours. The first lines of the song narrate the story of a life change that accompanied the death of his father at a young age.  It is a lyrical self portrait delivered in Nigerian Pidgin.

The project explores stories of growing up in Niger Delta, facing poverty and uncertainties that come with being a creative.

This is prominent in all of the songs. John is a story teller who takes us on a journey of his life’s story chronicling his passion for music, life experiences and hardships that face his oil producing community.  The other tracks on the EP include: The Way, Tsunami Reloaded, Straight Up featuring DJ CK, What About Us featuring Play P, On the matter and Mr President.

John first started writing music in secondary school in 2006 after discovering that he could rap along to a song after hearing it just twice. By 2008 he had recorded his first song. Upon leaving the studio, John says he broke the CD because he sounded terrible.

Read: J Cole Raps Over a Classic From Guinea’s Golden Era of Music

Years later and he is standing in the Sony West Africa office in the Landmark building in Lagos, performing for a crowd that cannot get enough of his lines. While John raps track 6 on the EP, a previously released single titled On The Matter, some ladies in the front row rap along. The song which samples Nicki Minaj’s Pills and Potion is a chronicle of the too well known struggle of musicians.

 

A graduate of electrical and electronic engineering from the Petroleum Training Institute, Warri, John  finished at the top of his class. He was granted a Federal Government scholarship to France where he studied low and medium electrical power distribution. Getting back to Nigeria, he was faced by the realities of unemployment and settled for a low paying job he despised. On the matter was recorded two months after John, against better judgment quit his job.

John Networq Son of Merlin
John Networq performing at the listening party for Son of Merlin

John Networq is currently signed to FreeMe Records. He counts among his influences, MI, JCole and Kendrick Lamar.  He works with Nigerian producers like Syn’Ex, LeRiQ who has produced countlessly for Burna Boy, and Andre Vibez producer of On the Matter and The Way. But he insists that good working chemistry is paramount when picking his team.

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With future projects John plans to show his versatility promising to maintain his self exploratory style while also diversifying into other genres like Dancehall.

The Son of Merlin EP currently available on iTunes and MTN Music is engaging and definitely worth a listen.