When you attend a hip-hop show that features Jon Quest, you're sure to be jumping out of your seat and to the stage. A 25-year-old graduate of Penn Hills High School, the MC (real name: Jonathan Brown) finds himself at the pinnacle of the Pittsburgh hip-hop scene.
Recently he's garnered attention with his collaboration with another young MC, Beedie, in the group Varsity Squad. Varsity Squad released its New School Boom Bap album early this year, and the duo has welcomed the response.
But Jon's hip-hop resume dates back a few years, as his persistence and dedication to perfecting his craft have helped his light shine bright today.
"The first time I rocked a crowd was in 2007 with Big Time Entertainment, and we had to pay to rock," he explains. "I did three songs, and it was horrible.
"I still got it on DVD," he adds with a laugh.
This was when he first met his partner in rhyme, Beedie. A few weeks later, they recorded their first song together with engineer Soy Sos; it also happened to be Jon's first time in a studio.
It was often the feedback from others that helped Jon develop into the MC he is today, and his willingness to listen and apply this is a trait to admire.
Jon competed in several of the Rhyme Calisthenics MC Competitions.
"The first time I did Rhyme Cal, I got booed off the stage," he recalls. "That was a funny experience, but a positive one."
The influence of the Rhyme Cal challenges can be heard on both of Jon's Real Adventures of Jonny Quest mixtapes, and Jon seems most comfortable when preaching a story or a message in his rhymes. With these projects, he established himself as one of the most versatile writers in Pittsburgh.
Of the shows Jon's performed, including sets everywhere from Erie to Atlanta, the hometown shows seem to be most humbling, and he values the fans he's cultivated here.
"This kid Ray, who has cerebral palsy — they call him 'The Kid in Wheels,'" he explains. "He came to our New School Boom Bap show and knew all the words to the songs."