Speaking in a new interview with Billboard, John says that when he was in the studio with Thug, he was “just blown away” before comparing his abilities to Eminem. “I mean, I’ve seen Marshall [Mathers] do it in Detroit, but I’ve never seen someone like Thug come in and do that.”
“In the end, I had to leave because I think he felt a bit intimidated that I was there and I just wanted him to relax,” John continued. “But it’s just an amazing moment in my musical life. I have no understanding of how rap records are put together and it’s fascinating to watch.”
Thug and John first crossed paths in 2018 when Thug sampled ‘Rocket Man’ on his track ‘High’ and reached out to the pop legend. “He wanted to meet me and we shot the breeze for 40 minutes,” said John about the encounter, before revealing that Thug asked him for advice.
After finding out he used to sing in choir, John said: “‘Sing more. Don’t just rap, sing more, because the mixture of rap and musicianship and melody is what really makes rap take off.’ And he’s doing that now.”
Announced in September, ‘The Lockdown Sessions’ will be John’s 32nd studio album. The record, out October 22, will feature collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Gorillaz, Andrew Watt, Brandi Carlile, Yo-Yo Ma, Stevie Wonder and more.
“All the tracks I worked on were really interesting and diverse, stuff that was completely different to anything I’m known for, stuff that took me out of my comfort zone into completely new territory,” John said about the record, which was recorded over lockdown when his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour’ was postponed.