Wrestlemania 31 is this Sunday, and I am going to share my uninformed opinions and predictions with you all.

4-Team Tag Team Turmoil match:

With the Usos being out of this match due to injury, I am not overly excited about this match. Safe money would be on Kidd & Cesaro retaining, but I could see an angle where the Uso’s interfere to cost the champs the titles.

AJ & Paige vs The Bellas:

AJ & Paige win, with some bad blood spiced in, leading to a triple threat match down the line for the Diva’s title.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:

I think this should be used to elevate someone from the lower card to mid-card status. I could see this being used as a way to rehabilitate Jack Swagger (if he’s even in the match), or they could plug Sheamus in here for a big pop for his return. (although I think it would be best if Sheamus came back as a heel and sided with the Authority). With people like Mark Henry, Big Show, and Kane in this match, I am almost certain that they will put over someone from the lower card. The winner of the NXT 4-man tournament is the likely choice.

Intercontinental Ladder Match:

This is clearly designed for Daniel Bryan to add value back to the IC Title, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Barrett somehow came out of this on top. I like the suggestion of my Getting Networked partner, Dustin Spencer, of putting the title on Bryan and having a ‘best of 7’ series with Bryan and Ziggler. Personally, I say put the IC title on Bryan, and the US title on Cena, and give them long runs, then unify the titles at Summerslam.

Rusev vs Cena:

Cena has done a lot for the company this year, including getting destroyed by Lesnar, a part-time champion, on several occasions. Plus, having Cena be the one to end Rusev’s winning streak gives Rusev some rub too. As I said earlier, having bigger stars compete for and hold the U.S./Intercontinental titles would add value to the titles, which will make them valuable assets when grooming tomorrow’s world champions.

Bray Wyatt vs Undertaker:

Now that Lesnar has ended “The Streak,” conventional wisdom would lead one to think that Wyatt comes out on top here. I disagree, because having Wyatt beat Taker would devalue what Lesnar did. Also, just being IN a Wrestlemania match with Taker adds to Wyatt’s credibility. And if somehow they have a classic match, Wyatt losing will not matter in the least bit.

Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins:

I feel like Orton goes over here, especially if WWE follows their tried-and-tested ‘even Steven’ booking strategy. This could very well be the match of the night, and a feud that could continue on and off for a while. If Rollins goes over here, there’s no way that he leaves Wrestlemania as the Champ.

Triple H vs Sting:

I don’t see how any outcome other than a Sting victory could be booked. If it was my decision, I would book this like Triple H/Undertaker 2, where Trips brutalizes Sting for the entire match, but the Stinger finds a way to win. I really dislike how Trips takes all of these losses at Mania (Taker, Lesnar, probably Sting), but it’s the smart play.

Lesnar vs Reigns:

Lesnar’s gonna get paid big time by either WWE or UFC, and I think that the outcome of this match will be based purely on if Vince McMahon or Dana White’s signature is on his next paycheck. I predict that Reigns goes over here, in a BRUTAL match, leaving the door open for Rollins to cash in and become champ.

Rollins leaving as champ would set up a 3-way title match between Rollins, Reigns and Orton (who would have beaten Rollins earlier on the card).

Or Lesnar could re-sign, and destroy Reigns…which would bring tears of joy to the IWC. I don’t see it happening.

***UPDATE: since I typed this blog, Brock Lesnar has signed a multi-year deal with WWE, so now all bets are off for the outcome of the main event. I suspect the timing of this was not coincidental!***

Dan Johns Bandcamp site

Posted: March 23, 2015 by danjohns in Uncategorized

https://danjohns.bandcamp.com/

This week, Dustin and I break down McMahon vs Austin in a steel cage, and Rock vs Mankind in a last man standing match. We also fight off two monster head colds in a tag team grudge match…sort of.

http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-wwe-st-valentines-day-massacre-1999

This week, Dustin and I discuss 4 different episodes, ranging from WWE, Mid-South, GWF, and WCW. The discussion ranges from hilarious, to heated, as we address how African-American wrestlers have been treated in the industry of professional wrestling. Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan of pro wrestling, this is a must listen!

http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-episode-42-black-history-edition-2015

“Scarlet Letter” is my favorite song from Chaos

Posted: February 17, 2015 by danjohns in Uncategorized

Produced by yours truly, with a thick bassline courtesy of Magnesium and his bass guitar, “Scarlet Letter” is my favorite record on the new Divine Suns album.

http://divinesuns.bandcamp.com/track/scarlet-letter-ft-attallah-es-mariposa

In 2007, I told you all that “the world keeps spinning; there’s no rewinds or going back to the beginning.” In 2015, it still holds true. Still, while we cannot go back in time, we can definitely handle unfinished business from years gone.

The Divine Suns (or DME as we were known then) formed WAY BACK in 1997, when we were all freshmen at Morehouse College. Spirited freestyle ciphers, low(no)-budget studio sessions, and epic emcee battles help us all forge a bond that has survived life and its many twists and turns. Ironically, despite all of our individual successes as artists, we have never completed and released a project as a collective before.

So, as ANON The Griot calls it, “Chaos Theory” is the ‘reunion album to the album that never happened.’ The album title lends itself to the creative process when 9 (and sometimes more) different opinions and views are thrown into the mix, blending into a creative stew.

The music reflects the natural growth of men. The fierce emcees have become fathers, and the ferocity once reserved for dismantling another emcee is now dedicated to providing for and protecting our families. Conceptually diverse, “Chaos Theory” showcases our various skill sets, without ever sounding forced, or as if someone had to TRY and fit onto a record.

A solid 19 tracks of music, ideas and theory (see what I did there?), this is project that we are all proud to share with the world. So proud that we invite you all to not only listen to and/or download the project, but we are confident that you will contribute to the cause. We understand that your contribution could come in the form of a monetary donation (where you set the price) or by spreading the word about the Divine Suns movement. Basically, there’s no reason that like-minded individuals should not have “Chaos Theory” in their collections!

We welcome you all to embrace the chaos, and join us at divinesuns.bandcamp.com

HomeGrown” Song Perspective

Dan: When we got the ball rolling, Hunch and Anon started sending out a TON of skeletons that they had done together that were unfinished. I wrote and recorded a verse to “Home,” and we dug it. However, Billy had lost all of his beats from this time period due to a hard drive crash, meaning that there was no way to properly mix this version of the song with an unmixed mp3 as the only files for the production.
 

We decided to send out an acapella of “Home” to different producers, asking them to remix the record, so we could include it on the project. Two DOPE REMIXES came back from Maverick aka Adrian Wilson (another fellow c/o 2001 Morehouse Brother) and Encore (who produces a ton of my solo stuff). Anyway, we decided to use both of their beats, but for different tasks. We re-recorded Home to Encore’s beat, and did an entirely new song to Maverick’s beat on the upcoming “inCOREporated” album.

I put down my re-record first, taking some liberties with the hook that Hunch had originally written by editing out just a tad bit of the profanity. When I sent it to Hunch and Anon, they decided to leave my first as the lead off (I was originally in the second slot).
 

Hunch: Billy had sent some beats to Anon for a session we were about to have. Cycling through a beat came up that instantly grabbed me. Anon started muttering something about home and I urged him on. Before we knew it the framework for the hook came through and I assisted on the adlibs, soon after bars came down. Fast forward a year and a half we were struggling to find a replacement for the beat we originally had because stems were not available for mix. When we found the beat we decided to each do a new hook and pick the best out the three. Dan dropped his first and the competition was over. Didn’t even get off the starting line. Can’t lie, I’m still a bit tight about that as I type this.

Anon: Tight? Let’s be honest, Dan went body bag on us! I felt like the one-hit wonder whose single gets so hot that a legend gets on the track. Problem is— a lot of guys don’t rewrite their verses and the additions outshine their originals.
 

Lemme explain: Dan takes the idea of home and home improvement as the parallels for his whole verse.
Mind you, these were bars Hunch and I worked on like 6 years ago. So I guess it shows staying power. Honesty, it was one of the best moments for me; knowing that as good as I aspire to be, I’m still ripe to need CSI when my brothers get to eating. And that original Billy beat was monster, but Encore came through in the clutch!
 

Hunch: Anon’s place in the space time continuum is never fixed so he perceives time a bit different than the rest of us. We came up with the premise for this song on my son’s second birthday. He’s four now. Four.
 

Dan: Might I also add that no one felt like I caught a body on the original version. It wasn’t until we did the re-record over Encore’s production that I started to hear this body bag talk! I will concede the fact that the chemistry that I have with Encore’s beats is undeniable. I let my homie DaCaptain hear this when we were filming for the Divine Suns video, and he said “there is something about when you rhyme over Encore’s beats.”

Hunch: I think it was the crispness of your delivery and the bravado you bought on you second try that sealed it. And that hook? Had me asking for you to adlib my verse with some of that flavor. The beat gave room for a better attack than the original laid back beat. Instead of getting in the pocket, we were forced to rip out of it

Dan: What’s crazy is I still feel like your verse is the perfect bookend for the song. The underlying theme of your rhyme being that you never strayed too far away from ‘home,’ yet intruders came in and got comfortable like your spot belonged to them covers a lot of ground! Think about it from the perspective of a man trying to get things accomplished for his family, or an emcee who steps away from music to deal with everyday life issues.

Hunch: That’s what I love about this song; we all had a different but relevant take on it. I was listening to this song late one night when I realized how big of a record this was. I thought this was truly showing our growth as a crew. I think this is when I also realized we might have gotten bodied. Lol

Mikchek: Though I’m not on the song this was the joint that set it off.  There have actually been several circles of divine talking about reuniting over the years but Hunch, the Griot, & Billy were the only ones that actually put something down.  and didn’t tell nobody I might add.  It was dope to hear Hunch again because he kind of went MIA on some grown man stuff early in college and this music is and always will be home for us.  I love this joint.

Hunch: Funny you say that, cause when me and Anon went with this round of recording I sent the track out knowing it was going to spark cats. Nope. No responses. I remember thinking “Ok..this might be whack.” Lmao

Dan: I know that the first time that you sent me this, I really was going to hop on the record, but I was in the middle of a ton of recording, mixing, and just LIVING. Everything does indeed happen for a reason.

Anon: Yes. Time space continuum never fixed.  Always changing. I guess its cause we had so many joints in the bag, I got lost. Bottom line— I was happy with my verse; I felt like I let loose with delivery and content! So— yes, Encore helped with the bodying, but on re-listen, everybody get blood on their hands with this one!

Hunch: Anon’s verse was probably my favorite. It was colorful and descriptive and I felt he got a lot off his chest. It ran a little long but personally I didn’t care, it was the perfect set off initially. With the new version Everyone essentially switched spots which made his verse a perfect bridge to me and Dan.

Plex: My favorite lines:

“I wasn’t even home; I was with this jawn around the co’ne (corner)…”

“So I’m looking at my phone, no ring, Karl Malone…”

“Just squatting til the King reappear, man I’m standing right here, get out my mutha fuckin chair!!!” 

That verse gets me amped every time, no lie.  

Getting Networked returns to WCW as the greatest PPV review show on the planet celebrates episode 40! Dustin and Dan break down the Double Thundercage excitement along with somehow surviving one of the worst undercards in

history.http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-episode-40-wcw-superbrawl-1994

Plex Long:
“I’m not really much of a competitive emcee, usually I treat rap like track and run against the clock by focusing on measuring myself against my last verse instead of against other rappers.  But coming off my experience on “Better Left Unsaid”,where I felt completely overshadowed by 4 other Divine Suns, I knew I had something to prove to the crew.  I noticed that Dan had dropped a beat and concept for a song called “Scarlet Letter”, at this point in the process we were just posting beats and concepts in our private Facebook group and Suns were randomly jumping on songs, 1st 3-4 rappers to write and record a hot verse made it on the song.  I had never read the Scarlet Letter book, but I understood the basic concept of the story and after I heard the dope beat Dan dropped for it (which was right in my comfortable tempo range) I knew I had to get on the record.  Dan decided to add a twist to the recording process for this one, he said “on this one let’s not share our verses or ideas with each other until the song is complete”, that gave me even more incentive to get my shine on!  The concept was about how us rappers get branded negatively and stereotyped just because we rap.  Like the girl in the Scarlet Letter book, we are expected to walk around branded in shame because of our choice to emcee.  I approached my verse by naming many of the typical stereotypes given to rappers, then pointing out the areas in my personal life that contradict those sterotypes.  I concluded my verse by claiming to still accept that “Scarlet Letter”, despite the fact I don’t fit the stereotypes, because I love the art and will ride for the culture regardless.  I went to Anon’s crib to drop my verse and I could tell his reaction to this was different than previous verses he had heard from me.  I knew my verse was long, but I didn’t ever count the bars, I just kept rapping until my thought was complete.  After all verses were turned in and complete, I was awarded the anchor last verse spot on the song, which is typically an honor in our crew that suggests you had the best verse on the song.  I played the song for my producer Charlie P and he said it was the best verse he had ever heard from me, which is saying a lot, because we have been working together since 2005 and he has been involved in all 5 of my solo albums over that time period.  Knowing that traditionally Anon and Dan, who are both on Scarlet Letter, were considered the best emcees in the collective gave me an increased sense of unfamiliar accomplishment to be considered to have the best verse on a song featuring both of them and my personal favorite rapper from Divine Suns Hunch Punch too.  It was like the 2nd generation student had finally measured up to the OG teachers.  Then my moment of triumph was crushed when Dan suggested that we needed to do a radio edit for the song and my verse, which was 36 bars lol, was too long for radio song structure.  My pride and ego was damaged, but I took one for the collective good of the crew and agreed to write a new verse.  The album version that you will hear has the new 16 bar verse I wrote, but I can’t front, in my mind it will NEVER compare to the original 36 bar verse I put on the song.  Maybe that 36 bars will make it’s way to the light one day… until then, stay tuned!”

Dan Johns:

“Quiet as kept, this is my favorite song on the album. When i heard that sample, I knew that it was perfect for the Scarlet Letter concept we had discussed in a hangout. I was having trouble with the bassline though, so I reached out to Billy Northam, who is a more diverse producer than I currenty am. He was tied up with other projects, so Hunch suggested that I talk to Mark Magnesium (aka Mags) about it. I had no idea the brother had an actual bass guitar! he laced the record, live, all the way through the song, and sent the Reaper file back to me. The rhymes speak for themselves! I never intended to be one of the people “singing” the chorus. The words and melody came to me as I was riding. (Like Hunch,  90% of my writing is done in the truck)

I sent a rough draft of the hook to Anon and Hunch, since they have good relationships will some talented vocalists. I just want to add that i LOVE Plex’s 36 bar verse, but on a record that had 48 bars of rhyming before he jumped on, it was a risky proposition.”

Anon The Griot:

I think I had just recorded a hook to our song, Risk, and everyone was giving me grief for being the Drake of the Suns cuz I kinda sung the hook. Then Dan turns around and let us know he was working on a hook. Wouldn’t you know…. By brother got his harmony on. He gave me a lil space and I did the bass and Atlanta’s stylist to the world, Mariposa Butterfly laced the rest. It gave the song this driving energy. And being a book nerd, I was elated to go ape-shit on something inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne! It’s like literary repartitions. I also feel like that joint showed me how to live in the pocket. I think I owe the song a debt of gratitude. “

The Hunchpunch Champ:

” Dan dropped the concept and beat and i was sure i would not fit in. I believe Felix would have this spot, but shit has a way of clogging processes. So to get it done,  I tried to add something meaningful to the song(that i did not think i had) but still add a perspective. Had something i  unknowingly was  holding on to, and let it go.  Ill end it with one phrase: “Plex 36 bars of death. ” I still strive to connect with that level…”

MikChek:

“Dan kinda teased us in the beginning with this beat because he just posted a skeleton with drums and a few instruments for us to write to while he figured out the baseline.  I instantly knew it was going to be a banger.  I had never seen the movie and honestly had no comprehension of the concept so I struggled in the beginning to write to it. There was already several emcees on the song and after Plex dropped his 36bar explosion (before it was trimmed) I decided to do what no emcee ever wants to do and sit this one out.  This song will always be a classic!”


Anon had already broached the topic of a ‘love song’ with the Triad (an unofficial name for Hunch, Anon and myself) in a discussion. Croup, who has produced several of my solo songs over the years (“Day One,” “Suicide II,” “Ring Rust”), were having a conversation where he asked me why I didn’t let him do the extended version of my song “War Cry.” He actually already had a beat for it and everything. I told him to send me the beat, and asked if it would be cool if the Suns used it…and it is still hard to imagine that the “Love Languages” production was originally intended for a battle-rap song! (Even harder to imagine, now that I know that croup absolutely despises hip hop songs about love)

We had been having an ongoing discussion about the “5 Love Languages” that couples use to communicate, and we decided to use that as the inspiration for the record. What’s funny is that after the three of us had recorded our verses, we realized that each verse focuses on a different stage in the progression of a relationship.

Musically, we were all working on getting the perfect hook for this record. I reached out to my boy Gino Brown, Anon and Iris Isis put down their vision, and we asked Trice to get on the record. The funny thing is that pieces of all three contributions ended up on the final version, with Iris Isis and Gino’s parts being combined for the song’s intro.

Having written about my marriage on several different occasions, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get into a little bit more of the backstory around how we met, and why our love has flourished. I know that I have done something right when Mrs. Johnson gives her stamp of approval!

The video treatment for “Love Languages” is currently being worked on by Mark Magnesium.

Additional Commentary:

Plex Long: “When I 1st heard this it took me back to when I 1st heard “Camay” on Ghostface “Ironman” album.  Love Languages is the only song on the album that I’m jealous I’m not on… Lol. Definitely one of my top 3 favorite joints on the album. The smoothest song on the project hands down.”

 

ANON The Griot: I just knew that we had to have an almost typical Hip Hop love song on the project; you know, like Round The Way Girl, Mahogany, You Got me? And I had recently been reading about the 4(?) love languages and I thought it would be a perfect jump-off for the song. I even wrote what I thought to be a dope hook for IrisIsis to sing. But, Trice Be PhantomMagnetiq came into town and smashed his hook. Thankfully, Dan Johns was nice enough to add IrisIsis’ part at the beginning. It still makes me feel like we’re in a scene from School Daze.

 

Trice Be Phantom Magnetiq: “now you speakin my language baby baby baby…” chants Dan Johns over the first reference… that along with the verse was super inspiring.. i immediately thought early 90’s feel with the R&B soul group INTRO’s style and texture should flavor the hook…I remember recently taking the love languages assessment to determine my love language, and instantly began applying what i had been learning about love languages and communication and the words came forth… i recorded it on my iphone’s garage band and put the efx and sent to Dan..

 

Little did I know, there was a hook written by Anon and performed by IrisIsis that ran concurrent with, if not prior to, the hook i submitted. I am glad we were able to incorporate the innergy of both, together they provide a great scope on the topic of love languages..

 

loved hearing how ANON the Griot and The Hunchpunch Champ echoed the sentiments and bring forth the innergy to round this joint off as a bonafide Hip Hop Soul banga..

 

The Hunch Punch Champ: At this point we were seeing our true potential. It was a turbalent day for the suns personally and and as a group so some steam had to let off. That night i want to say we wrote one song and recorded two..that evening all i remember was ‘mail!’. We were sending each other our verses as we recorded them at our individual spots. Essentially we were recording simultaneously…