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Meet Grant Johnson: Producer and Rapper

“I have to tell my boys my producer is a better rapper than me.”

Devin Townsend

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Grant Johnson — or Emmett B. in the studio — is a James Madison University student with a passion for producing and rapping. It got started around five years ago when he was messing around in his friends’ basement. He then fell in love with the process of producing and decided to take it seriously. 

“Originally I started off rapping, but I never really felt too comfortable with my own voice so I decided to start making beats,” he says. “I love them both in a different way: For one, there’s no feeling quite like playing a beat for a room full of people and see everyone scatter to start writing bars immediately. But on the other hand, one of the dudes who spits over my beats told me, ‘it’s crazy dog cause I end up having to tell my boys that my producer is a better rapper than me.'”

Emmett B.’s unique sound is what he believes defines his style and producing abilities. This process could take anywhere from 45 minutes to nine hours of mixing and mastering. 

“I don’t make type beats, you won’t find my samples on other songs, I add a splash of Emmett to every beat I make. I don’t make beats to just throw beats on, people usually tailor their lyrics to my instrumentals.”

This passion for music was instilled in him at a very young age, with his two main influences being his parents. Whether this was listening to Michael Jackson, Jimmy Buffett or Duran Duran, this shaped his style of music and started his passion for music. 

More recently, some of the rappers in the industry helped shape his style and get involved in the industry. Some of these being mainstream artists and underground rappers. 

“My top three favorite artists? Trick question. But if I had to pick, in no particular order: K. Dot, Mac Miller, and J Dilla. My three top albums: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick, and The Diary by J Dilla.”

Emmett B., a humble student with a passion for hip-hop and production, is always open to working with new people and collaborating with new artists. Find him on Soundcloud at Emmett B.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Devin Townsend is a James Madison University student and student journalist born and raised in northern Virginia. Currently he’s studying for a degree in journalism and working for the school newspaper, The Breeze, in the culture section. This section covers music, movies, food and events happening in the Harrisonburg community. Currently, Devin is working to finish his degree, in his free time he enjoys playing club lacrosse at JMU, rooting for the L.A Chargers and hiking in the Shenandoah National Park.

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