Jon Connor - While You Were Sleeping (Mixtape Review)

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"While You Were Sleeping" is arguably the most complete project Jon Connor has released since "Vinnie Chase: Season One."

While rapper Jon Connor has yet to gain the notoriety that is arguably on the horizon for him, it certainly wouldn’t be for lack of effort. In the last year alone, the Flint, Michigan wordsmith has released his debut album Salvation, as well as three mixtapes (two in the jackin’ for beats variety) that showcase his lyrical prowess. Not losing steam, While You Were Sleeping continues this mission.

At a hefty 18 tracks long, the mixtape surprisingly flows well, with Connor hitting the right narratives in between. This same level of skill was evident on The Blue Album and The People’s Rapper LP (in which he rapped over previous production for Jay-Z and Eminem, respectively). Jon Connor has a knack for focusing on a particular subject and likewise making it personal. This project is no exception. Whether he’s warmly musing for his significant others on “Something I Know,” taking a pensive outlook on life through “Don’t Wanna Be” or highlighting the ills of his community on “Same Change,” Connor keeps the momentum going without burdening the listener with unnecessary wordplay. Discussing the hardships of parenting (or lack thereof) on the latter track, he raps, “So we stay having seeds way before we even ready / So his son hates his father though he never met him / And for the same reason father end up hatin’ son / And he can’t raise a man, probably ‘cause he was never one.”

The biggest issue with While You Were Sleeping - and it’s one that hindered Salvation - is Connor's production selection. Though not necessarily a backdrop you’d typically hear from the heartland of the Midwest, the chopped and screwed “Lone Star” works because of its features (Bun B and GLC) and execution. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the poor Lex Luger-imitation “Burn Notice.” Then on “Black Out,” an otherwise impressive lyrical delivery is limited by a simplistic beat that fails to emphasize the urgency in his words. “Missing You (Ms. Electric Feel)” comes off as some '90s indie hybrid melody, and at a certain point Connor would be better off rhyming a cappella about his old flame than battling against a debilitating beat. Interestingly enough, this is a similar flaw that plagued one of his most staunch supporters, Nas, in the past. Whether he’s able to overcome it will be something to watch for moving forward. 

While You Were Sleeping is arguably the most complete project Jon Connor has released since Vinnie Chase: Season One, and is a great starting point if you’ve slept on his music. In a nitpickers world the track list could have been shortened up, but at this point the more Connor gives listeners, the better.

DX Consensus: "EP-worthy"

Listen To While You Were Sleeping by Jon Connor

34 Comments

  • Jon Connor - Unconscious State (2nd Studio Album) (Duck Down Music Inc.)

    1. Intro 2. When Darkness Falls (Produced by The Alchemist) 3. Gotta Get 'Em feat. Royce da 5'9" (Produced by Mr. Porter) 4. Take My Pain (Produced by Mr. Porter) 5. Nightmares (Produced by Statik Selektah) 6. Better Days (Produced by Mr. Porter) 7. Bloody Money (Produced by Statik Selektah) 8. Judgement Day (Produced by Statik Selektah) 9. Two Clips feat. Pharoahe Monch (Produced by Marco Polo) 10. Sunshine (Produced by Mr. Porter) 11. Die Hard (Produced by Black Milk) 12. Mercy feat. Guilty Simpson (Produced by Apollo Brown) 13. Formidable Enemy (Produced by Mr. Porter) 14. City Lights feat. Phonte (Produced by 9th Wonder) 15. Big Beat Walkthrough feat. Action Bronson & Reks (Produced by Statik Selektah) 16. Unconscious State (Produced by Khrysis) Deluxe Edition 17. What I Do (Produced by Statik Selektah) 18. Thousand Words (Produced by !llmind) 19. Fear (Produced by Beatnick & K-Salaam) 20. Die Hard (Remix) feat. Sean Price, eLZhi & Royce da 5'9" (Produced by Black Milk)

  • Jon Connor - Salvation

    1. Salvation (Produced by StreetRunner, co. Sarom) 2. We All In feat. Slaughterhouse (Produced by Eminem, co. Jeff Bass) 3. Minutes & Seconds (Produced by Mr. Porter) 4. Don't Fall In Love (Produced by Mr. Porter) 5. Big City Dreams (Produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) 6. Someday feat. Melanie Fiona (Produced by No I.D.) 7. Mind Games (Produced by Black Milk) 8. Broken Mirror (Produced by Cool & Dre) 9. Blue City Club feat. Royce da 5'9" & eLZHi (Produced by Black Milk) 10. Nice 2 Meet U (Produced by Eminem) 11. F.L.I. 69 feat. Nas (Produced by Mr. Porter) 12.Hustle Music (Produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) 13. Someone Like Me (Produced by Boi-1da, add. Matthew Burnett) 14. Place On Earth (Produced by Mr. Porter) 15. Ain't No Future (Produced by Dr. Dre, co. Dewaun Parker)

  • Drake

    this sucks. burn notice, while you were sleeping and never left are the only good songs

  • zachariah

    and I see his name around too much, too many tracks and I have no idea what to look for and where to start. That has a big effect on building a fanbase. Look at Cole, Kendrick, A$ap Rocky. They have official mixtapes which are easy to locate. They don't need to flood the game with tracks. Trying to do the Lil Wayne thing annoys people. Remember when before TM103 dropped Jeezy consistently let loose freestyle after freestyle. They were all whatever tracks and no-one cared. He's lucky he bounced back when the album actually came.

  • zachariah

    He's dope, but nothing standout about him. No exceptional bars, charisma or anything that when listening to a record, I think....DAMN! He was just on a joint with Elzhi and another random rapper I'm not familiar with, produced by DJ Premier. I couldn't distinguish between him and the guy who's track it was despite the dope beat. Elzhi killed it of course though. He needs to find himself. Constructive criticism. Enjoy.

  • Jayson

    How do I get this mixtape..

  • bboy

    Connor is the best underground artist out. Lyrically, he's got bars that can go w/da best of best.I think Season2 was his best work but this one isnt bad either. Im heavy sounds like it cud be a radio song but he jus needs more push. Hopefully some major label signs him real soon cuz it's long over due compared to the rest of these mediocre artists who've got signed

  • King Chandler

    Connor is another breed of artist, the only reason he's not a multi-platinum artist is because of the climate of the music industry nowadays, if he came out in the 90's he'd be a top selling artist, gonna be hard for him to break through the wall of "swag rap" that everyone thinks is so dope today. Lyrics over luxury all day on this side.

  • Anonymous

    dude is to dope for the industry

  • rob

    This review nails it pretty much. Although motherfuckers needa stop shittin on Connor for blue album and peoples rapper. They were salutes and I for one hope we see more of the "Best In The World" series. In the meantime, WYWS is dope. Minus some shitty beats

  • Anonymous

    This rating system is bullshit. Rate the music as it is, dont compare it to EPs or Albums becuase we all know EP's and Albums can be awful at times.

  • Jon M'Fin Connor

    WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU MORONS? Stop being so f****** ignorant! Is he that beat jacking dude? No a**h****, he is the dude that dropped a album and dropped a mixtape after just because he can. Just like he says in one of his mixtapes he tears up, "the more he shits on the games, the more they try to refuse it." How are you going to complain that you are nor going to listen to somebody because they have too much stuff out. Your right he should be like the other whack rappers and take 2 years to drop an overpriced 12 track peice of shit. But no, he drops this 17 track ALBUM for free and he gets bitched at. And I'm sure if Rick Ross' overated fat ass dropped Burn Notice as a single everybody would be flippin out over it, yet Connor tears it up and it gets called weak. GTFO...no wonder why the rap game sucks...stupid ass people...smh

  • Anonymous

    really fucking solid

  • TYSON MACKLY

    Connor killed this mixtape. I cant believe people are actually complaining because he rapped over other people's beats. Cmon son--this is Hip Hop. Do we really have to go down memory lane? Yall niggas need to learn what a mixtape really is lol.

  • Anonymous

    FUUQQ YEEZ MY NIKKAS FINALLY IT HAPPENED - JUST GOT A NEW RIDE - A CAM A RO CONVERTIBLE.GOT APPROVED FOR 26 LARGE. BEEN 5 YRS SINCE IVE GOTTEN SHYT APPROVED, BUT NOW ALL MY CRE-DIT SHEET GONE. ALL OF IT. IF YOU STRUGGLING WITH THAT CREDITT HISTORY ISHH, GET RID OF ALL DAT TODAY - CALL THESE PEEPS AT 8^8^8-9-2-7 -3-3-5-6. . THEY DO AMAZING WORK AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS FUQQ. GOT RID OF ALL MY SHYYT IN NO TIME. MY HOMEBOY WAS IN THE GUTTA TOO, AND HE CLEANER THAN ME NOW-gettin a condo!! Hit em up - THEY WILL HELP U!!

  • ....

    Dude's workrate is unbelievable with quality to boot and he's actually saying real shit in his rhymes not incoherent babble...

  • adam_loughran@hotmail.com

    Dope as fuck mixtape dude needs to be signed already...

  • Anonymous

    EP- Worthy is pretty fair

  • ha.

    Yeah... I'm already sick of this guy. Slow ya roll, Statik Selektah-ass Rapper.

    • Anonymous

      @firealarm. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. thats like going to the super market and having too many options you starve. JUST PICK ANY ONE. ANYONE AT ALL.

    • Taylor

      This guy is a beast, every one of his mixtapes this year have been quality. The people's rapper, the blue album, and Season 2 are great mixtapes.

    • firealarm

      @Shocking well I don't listen to either of them so there you go.

    • ItsTheTruth

      I agree with the original post. And I think all the work he has put out has gone to his head. Someone tell him it's quality > quantity. Average rapper with above average lyrics, yet fans praise him as one of hip-hop's savior. Sorry but I just don't see that much originality with dude

    • Shocked

      he doesnt put out material at a rate higher than a curren$y or a reks. why dont you just listen and judge him? or if you cant stand his work output, just ignore him

    • ....

      How about this one?

    • firealarm

      I actually agree. I tried to check this guy out a few weeks ago but he has so many mixtapes I didn't know where to start and wasn't going to listen to every single one.

  • cjrocker

    Excuse my ignorance, but isn't this the guy who makes a living rapping on other people's beats

    • d

      It was more in the Elzhi vein than wack rappers jacking beats.

    • Shocked

      thousands of rappers have made careers rapping over other peoples beat. its just ignorant to fault connor for that when he has shown that he can produce and put out original beats. i guarantee every one of your favorite rappers has done stuff over someone elses songs

    • ....

      Well only 2/5 of his mixtapes have contained "jacked beats" so 3 mixtapes and a album of original material, so know not really.