Lo Key

Jonathan Thompson

This performer (group) in the Internet: http://www.lokeymusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/lokeylovesyou, http://www.twitter.com/lokeylovesyou, http://www.lokerecords.bigcartel.com, http://www.youtube.com/lokerecords, http://vibedeck.com/lokey/

Discography of Lo Key:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Chamiliatic 10 Audio 2008-11-01 7th Seal Entertainment
2 The Last Offering 10 Audio 2008 7th Seal Entertainment
3 The Cut Throat Chronicles 11 Audio 2008 7th Seal Entertainment
4 Follow Me 5 Audio 2007 7th Seal Entertainment
5 Follow Me 5 Audio 2008 7th Seal Entertainment
6 Follow Me 5 Audio 2009 LOKE Records
7 Shadowland 10 Audio 2011-10-31 LOKE Records
8 The Best Of Lo Key 22 Audio 2011-10-15 LOKE Records
9 The House Remixes 5 Audio 2009 LOKE Records
10 So-Lo (Deluxe Edition) 25 Audio 2009 LOKE Records
11 The House 2 5 Audio 2006-10-31 7th Seal Entertainment
12 The House 5 Audio 2007 7th Seal Entertainment
13 The House 5 Audio 2005-10-31 7th Seal Entertainment
14 Shadowland 10 Audio 2011-10-31 LOKE Records
15 Shadowland 10 Audio 2011-10-31 LOKE Records
16 Shadowland 10 Audio 2011-10-31 LOKE Records
17 Release 2 25 Audio 2011-02-01 LOKE Records
18 Release 2 25 Audio 2011-02-01 LOKE Records
19 Release 2 25 Audio 2011-02-01 LOKE Records
20 American Monster 7 Audio 2012-03-01 LOKE Records
21 Fraggle Swag 6 Audio 2012-04-01 LOKE Records
22 Jack Yo Beatz 7 Audio 2005-04-20 7th Seal Entertainment
23 Jack Yo Beatz 7 Audio 2007 7th Seal Entertainment
24 Follow Me 5 Audio 2004-11-11 7th Seal Entertainment
25 Jack Yo Beatz 2 5 Audio 2007 7th Seal Entertainment
26 Jack Yo Beatz 2 5 Audio 2006-04-20 7th Seal Entertainment
27 The House 2 5 Audio 2006-10-31 7th Seal Entertainment
28 American Monster 7 Audio 2012-03-01 LOKE Records
29 American Monster 7 Audio 2012-03-01 LOKE Records
30 American Monster 7 Audio 2012-03-01 LOKE Records
31 Lets Get Violent 8 Audio 2013-06-07 LOKE Records
32 Lets Get Violent 8 Audio 2013-06-07 LOKE Records
33 Lets Get Violent 8 Audio 2013-06-07 LOKE Records
34 Lets Get Violent 10 Audio 2013-06-07 LOKE Records
35 Chamiliatic Remixes 10 Audio 2012-06-01 LOKE Records
36 Chamiliatic Remixes (Moonlight Edition) 13 Audio 2012-06-01 LOKE Records

Johnathan Thompson (born July 10th, 1984), better known by his stage name Lo Key is an American musician, record producer, visual artist, and writer. Since 1999, Lo Key has released over 13 solo albums and 12 group albums including the widely popular “MISSION : INFECT” which he also created in 2004. He is considered one of the most innovative minds in underground hip hop, and among the very best in the hardcore hip hop sub genre “Horrorcore”.

Over the span of 12 years, he has performed over 350 shows in 26 states across America. In addition, Lo Key has toured nationally with Psychopathic Records in 2006 to an overwhelming fan reaction. Lo Key’s music catalog is widely distributed and available on such popular online music retailers as iTunes, AmazonMP3, Napster, eMusic, Rhapsody, Medianet, and Spotify.

Early years (1997-2005)

Originating as a vocalist in the metal scene, Lo Key began his musical journey in 1997 performing with the hardcore rap group Anonymous Tip. “I couldn’t sing. Or scream or anything. It was kind of put up or shut up. We were a few kids jamming after school.”

After 2 years with the band, Lo Key called it quits and started recording hip hop with band mate 100 Proof. Only 2 tracks are rumored to exist, “The Truth”, and “Bottle Dreams (OG)”. “At first we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. We just wrote random shit down and rapped it. I was experimenting with my style for a long time. I’m still progressing as an artist and I think that’s what keeps people listening, and outsiders to start listening.”

Soon, Lo Key decided to pursue a darker style of music, also known as horrorcore. “I had been listening to wicked shit for a while, but never really considered it as a direction I could take musically. But I realized that scene was ME, musically and in real life. We live wicked, the whole world around us is horrifying. So I decided I wanted to reflect that in my music.”

With a new vision to complete, Key started the group “Temple Rain” with friends and fellow lyricists Sleepy & Appirition – and business partner Will Pope who teamed with Lo Key to create 7th Seal Entertainment (7SE). In 2003, Temple Rain released “The Awakening”, a fusion of hip hop and horrorcore music. Boasting 19 tracks, the LP was given away free on the internet and locally. “The Awakening was a strange time for the 3 of us, I guess we were all going through a lot of personal shit and you can definitely hear that on the album. We actually recorded subliminal suicide messages, and shit like that behind every song. Looking back I can say I have changed alot since then” Shortly after it’s release, “The Awakening” and all Temple Rain merchandise was banned in 3 Pennsylvania schools for “promoting / condoning mass suicide and / or gang violence”. This gesture created a stir in the PA underground. “They said Temple Rain on the news and showed our website, and at the time we were offering The Awakening free to download. Suddenly we had 300-450 people A DAY getting the CD off the site. It was crazy as hell man”

After being temporarily shut down on several occasions the hype died down and things appeared to return to normal for the trio. Slipping back into the studio the group started they’re newest project : “The Lost Boys EP” “Basically, for the EP we were going for a more hip hop feel. There were alot of people getting into us at that point and we delivered a bomb ass record. Things seemed to be goin good for us at this point, we did that CD in 1 month with no outside help or anything.” Released April 30th 2004, “The Lost Boys” hit the streets and local radio.

Around July 2004, Temple Rain went on hiatus to record a full length LP. “Well there was alot of drama goin on around this time. I don’t really want to get into specifics out of respect for my people but things started fallin apart. Me and Sleepy got a few tracks done, then we finally decided to call it quits. I had opportunity elsewhere and he needed a break.”

It was around this time that Lo Key began developing new artists for the 7SE Roster, including Madd Maxxx, Stitch Mouth, & Tha Wikid One who would later go on to form Devils Rejects. In 2005, Key stepped into new territory when he produced Madd Maxxx – In The Absence of Sanity, alongside Devize and Fritz the Cat. Ranging from the emotional piano driven “Saving Grace” to the hard hitting school shooting based “Classtime Horror”, the debut EP was also Loke’s production debut. “I had mad fun doing that record with him (Maxxx). I literally met that dude by accident, when he had nothing more than a notepad full of rhymes and a head full of ideas. I put him out. And look at him now, his debut EP tops anything in that genre and cats that been doin it for years. That’s something I take pride in.”

In March of 2005, 7th Seal Entertainment and Lo Key released a free, 23 track full length LP entitled “Repressed Memories”. Consisting of rare, unreleased, and unheard music from the proceeding 4 years, the album was offered free to download via the 7SE website and given out locally. It also features the only known recordings from the defunct Temple Rain “Evolution” album. “We dropped that shit for our people. Nobody else was putting out QUALITY free music like that since Tech N9ne did it, and we were hearing alot of different labels brag about hooking up they’re fans, so we strait up took every piece of material we had and gave it away. For nothing!”

Solo career & MISSION : INFECT (2005-2009)

Following Repressed Memories, Lo Key took to the road to promote his new album “Follow Me”. “I would just follow ICP, Twiztid, Tech N9ne. I’d buy 50,000 promotional flyers and just follow the tours down the east coast and give them to everyone coming out of each venue. We did that so many times. From Maine to Florida. It’s crucial to have an online presence. But you have to hit the streets and pay your dues. You have to be out there talking to people about your art.” In June 2005 Lo Key released his first solo effort, “Follow Me”, a free EP showcasing a lyrical ability not often seen in the wicked underground genre. Featuring the song “Broken Reflection”, the album is a fan favorite to this day.

In September of 2005, Lo Key had been gaining steam on the social platform Myspace and decided to take a new and unique direction. “After Follow Me, I had MY OWN fans. And alot of them. It was the first time I really looked around and was like. Wow, this is real now. This is when the music really sucked me in. I wanted to do something original – innovative – interactive. I wanted the fans to be a part of what we were doing. This is how MISSION : INFECT was born.” Starting as what could be described as a highly interactive street team, MISSION : INFECT members were named “Soldiers”. Each soldier was given access to a hidden website on the 7SE server which contained printable flyers, samplers, graffiti stencils, as well as the following mission statement :

“Mission : Infect is a union between the Artist’s and Fans. Our Mission is simply to grow in size enough to have power in the music industry (world). We believe that the music industry’s foundation is corrupt and does not benefit underground artists.”

That same month, as a gesture to his fans, Lo Key announced the release of a “Myspace Cover Song EP” in which the fans could vote on popular songs to be covered for the album. “It was a break from the darkness. Since we started with Temple Rain, everything we were putting out was this dark horror shit. When you are able to step back and rap over a Gwen Stefani beat, it shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously – and also that you aren’t a one trick pony. It also was something original and innovative as far as the horrorcore scene and interactivity.” The Myspace Cover Song EP was a huge success, and introduced Lo Key to new audiences outside of the very niche horrorcore market. The album was later renamed “The Jack Yo Beatz Mixtape – Volume 1″.

Immediately following the EP, Lo Key began promoting his new album, “The House” – which was a return to his original horrorcore sound. “The House was my first attempt at storytelling. It is about a serial killer who kills little kids on Halloween in this big scary house. Every song represents a room in The House. It is a horror movie on CD.” The House debuted a brand new look for Lo Key, in a white and black mask which eventually became a mainstay of Lo Key’s image, and the basis of numerous fan tattoos. “Around the time I was advertising the new album, I just put up a picture in this mask I got for Halloween, not in an advertisement for the album or anything. People freaked out! It stuck. They loved it. And so it became branded with the album forever. It was by accident really. I went back and changed some of the lyrics to accommodate the new addition, and the rest is history.” In Halloween night 2005, Lo Key released his 3rd album in 1 year – “The House” – critically acclaimed as “A Horrorcore Masterpiece”, “One of the BEST Horrorcore CD’s EVER!”, and “The Crowning of a New King of Horrorcore”. Featuring production by himself, Stitch Mouth, and Relapze (as well as collabs with both, and former Temple Rain member SLEEPY), the album generated over 500gb of downloads in 4 days – an unheard of number at the time.

Around this time, Lo Key and label mates Madd Maxxx, Stitch Mouth & Tha Wikid One worked together to create the supergroup “Devils Rejects”. On January 7th 2006, they released the “Die 2 This” EP which was pressed and sold online. Following “The House” and “Devils Rejects” Lo Key announced he was going into hiding for a few months to record his first full length LP, entitled “SO-LO”. “I wanted to get back to my hip hop roots. The fans know me for horrorcore. But before horrorcore, I did normal hip hop. I have all of these hip hop influences. Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Busta Rhymes. And alot of that gets put to the side when you do horrorcore. I wanted to express that side of myself.”

Through continued street promotion ( locally in Philadelphia, PA as well as major cities along the east coast ) and through promotion via his music movement MISSION : INFECT – Lo Key created a massive buzz for his debut LP. When it was released on May 15th, 2006 – the initial inventory of CD’s sold out in less then 3 hours. “It was crazy. I knew people liked what we were doing. But this is when I knew we were REALLY onto something, business wise.”

Just two months later, on July 20th 2006, Loke dropped a sequal to his popular album “Jack Yo Beatz”. This album features a much faster rapping style which was very different from what had been seen on previous releases. It was released for free online sending a buzz through the entire underground. The buzz was so strong that in August of 2006, the largest independent record label in the world and multi-million dollar enterprise, Psychopathic Records, took notice of Lo Key – asking him to perform on a multi-city national tour. “They asked me to do the tour. I was like, hell yeah! Who wouldn’t? Then I realized, shit! I don’t have a hype man, I’ve never been on tour. I had less than a week to organize everything. Up until this point I had done less than 10 shows in my life. So it was like being thrown to the wolves.”

Needing a last minute hype man, Lo Key enlisted the help of Delaware underground veteran BadLuck. The two became best friends on the tour and eventually started work on some music together. “We grew really close on the tour. We had never performed together before that. But once we got up there, it was like.. I don’t know, ESP or telepathy. We just knew what the other was thinking and it translated so well on stage. It worked perfectly. We also came up with BunnyJunk during that trip. It was the best time of my life. I am built for touring and traveling, I love it.”

Upon returning from the tour, the fan reaction was so immense that Psychopathic Records offered to have Lo Key perform at their annual “Gathering of the Juggalo’s” music festival. He subsequently was invited the following 3 years to perform, which he did. “The Gathering is the shit. I’ve been to every Gathering, even before I rapped. So being asked to perform was such an honor.”

In September 2006, Lo Key began work on “The House 2″. In this sequel to his horrorcore slasher album, the main character from The House 1 now haunts “The House” as a ghost, terrorizing a family who has recently moved into the house. Described as his most lyrically complex album to date, The House 2 was released on Halloween Night 2006 for free via his website. Among the songs on “The House 2″, was the song “The Child” which in November 2006 went viral on Myspace – generating well over 1 million plays on the song. “We posted the lyrics up, along with a link back to my page to listen. It touched people. It made them think. It made them sad, angry. It basically struck a nerve and got spread through Myspace like a chain letter. To us it was part of the story of The House. But to your average person, it was a tale of child abuse, a tale of pain – of redemption. People got behind it.”

On November 31st, a new album titled “RELEASE!” was made available for purchase. Featuring a compilation of remixes as well as rare and unreleased tracks from 2003-2006, RELEASE was given an “alien” theme. As a part of this theme, the cover featured a green or “alien” version of Lo Key’s infamous mask.

During the next year, Lo Key would recruit talents from around the country into the new supergroup, “INFECT” including Grewsum, T.O.N.E-Z, & BadLuck. “We just started passing tracks around. The MISSION:INFECT thing started really taking off. It was everywhere. The fans wanted a movement of the best rappers in the underground, and that is what I delivered. The label was 7SE. The group was INFECT.” On April 7th, 2007 – the newly formed group released a free double album, “Chemical Threats Phase 1 & 2″ to an extremely overwhelming fan reaction. “So many people got those albums. More than all of our previous releases combined. It was insane.” For the next year, INFECT would become the focus of Lo Key’s time and energy – touring, creating and selling merchandise – and operating and managing the INFECT Movement. During this time, many popular artists joined the INFECT roster, making it an elite underground music crew. Artists Mars, Q-Strange, Menacide, Grewsum, Psycho Jesus, Lo Key, Saint Sinna, BadLuck, Claas, Green Villin, Tha Wikid One, Conflikt, T.O.N.E-Z as well as many others became official members.

In Halloween of 2007, 7se as a roster would release a free CD entitled “Bucket of Bones” which featured 1 solo track from each artist. Lo Key created “Under the Moonlight” for the CD. “People don’t even realize, that Under the Moonlight is actually a part of The House 3 and I released it 5 years early just to fuck with people.” Towards the end of the year, the boys would hold a first of it’s kind “7SE House Party” in which fans and artists alike would join together in one house for one night only. Immediately following the party, Lo Key & 7SE would hold a live concert at Boomerz Night Club in front of a sold out crowd.

As 2007 came to a close, INFECT was reaching heights higher than anyone had expected. It was time to release a follow up album to the extremely successful “Chemical Threats” series. “We had so many good artists at that point. Every big name in the underground was repping INFECT.” In June of 2008, INFECT released a brand new album, “XterM:Ination” which featured Lo Key, BadLuck, T.O.N.E-Z, Saint Sinna, GrewSum, and a guest album appearence by former 7SE member Madd Maxxx as well as appearances by Menacide & Kombine.

Immediately following XterM:Ination, Lo Key would team up with label mate T.O.N.E-Z to create a side project titled “Death B4 Dishonor”.

“You had a straight up hip hop head from the Bronx NY, rapping with a dude that does straight up horrorcore. Two different worlds. It worked perfectly somehow. Me and Tone had good chemistry on tracks so we did a full on hip hop / horrorcore album.” On July 1st 2008, Death B4 Dishonor released their debut LP, “The Ascending”.

With all of the side projects completed, it was time for Lo Key to release his next LP, “Chamiliatic”.

“I had been working on it on and off throughout 2007 and into 2008. Just venting man, you know? There was alot going on in my life at the time. ALOT. I just poured it all out. I talked about my life growing up, about some of my disorders, about relationships in the past. It was just on some whole other shit from what I had done up until then. The fans connected with that CD because it was real. No gimmicks or storylines or made up shit. Just me.”

On August 1st, 2008, the highly anticipated “Chamiliatic” went public. Shortly after, Lo Key’s first full length music video, “Legacy” was released to an extremely positive response. Lo Key spent the rest of the year traveling the US and performing in support of his new album.

In April of 2009, INFECT would return in the form of a slimmed down version of the group. Lo Key, Badluck, Saint Sinna and INFECT newcomer Malaria would dominate most of the album, with guest appearances by T.O.N.E-Z, Green Villin.

In early 2009, it was announced that Lo Key would be taking a break from music due to stress and personal issues. “I was just burnt. In my head I kept saying, I can’t do this anymore, I want out. I want to do something else. Looking back, I just needed some time off to rest. I burnt out my mind and body doing music non stop for so many years. I needed to regroup and regain my spark, to find that fire again. At the time, I was convinced I was done with music. But just like when you love a person – you don’t know what you got until its gone, as they say.”

Return to music (2011)

After a 2 year break, Lo Key announced that he would be working on “RELEASE 2!”, a follow up to “RELEASE!” which would feature 25 tracks worth of rare or unheard music from 2004-2011. It also featured the first new solo song by Lo Key in over 3 years, “The Fatal Transmission” which became an instant fan favorite. “RELEASE 2!” came out on February 1st, 2011.

Following RELEASE 2, Lo Key would work in a production role on various albums including Zero’s “Absolute Zero”, as well as Mumm Ra’s “The AboM:Ination” in which he would also direct the music video for the title track of the album. Both albums would be released at the “INFECT House Party”, a sequel to the notorious “7SE House Party” from 2007.

In April of 2011, Lo Key announced his first full length solo album since 2008′s Chamiliatic, which he referred to as “ShadowLand”. It was later revealed that ShadowLand was actually the first in a series of 12 albums named “The 12 Oracles”. Lo Key would work on ShadowLand for the next few months, eventually releasing it on Halloween night, 2011. “That album.. Is scary to me. At points in that album, it’s not Lo Key, it is someone else. I was – in a very literal sense – channeling my dreams into songs. They originate from such a deep, dark place. Sound wise, it is very evolved from the Lo Key people are used to. But the content, is almost de-evolved. Alot of it is based on core emotions instead of blunt, descriptive topics like most rap music. It takes more of a rock and roll route. Alot of it is open to the interpretation of the listener.”

In support of ShadowLand, Lo Key would release two music videos. One for the prayer like intro track, “Together” which was directed and shot by Lo Key himself, and one for the fan favorite “The Devil Tree”. A third video, for the song “LOST” was also shot and edited but was never released for undisclosed reasons.

On March 1st, 2012 – just 4 months after the release of ShadowLand – Lo Key released his newest creation, “AMERICAN MONSTER”. Showcasing a more blunt horrorcore hip hop style, it has quickly became his best selling and most popular work to date. Considered a throwback to his earlier, more traditional horrorcore work – AMERICAN MONSTER was well received by old school fans, and new fans alike.

Exactly 1 month after the release of AMERICAN MONSTER, Lo Key released a joke April Fool’s album, entitled “FraggleSwag” for free download. A parody of the basic structures of new school hip hop and featuring themes from the popular 80′s children’s TV show “Fraggle Rock”, Fraggleswag went viral and generated over 10,000 downloads in 24 hours. The reaction was very polarized as many fans believed it was a legitimate album and a departure from the underground stylings he was known for.

In 2012, Lo Key is set to release multiple new albums including a full length LP, “Let’s Get Violent”, “Jack Yo Beatz Volume 3″, and the final chapter of his popular horrorcore series, “The House 3″.

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