Casual performing in 2006
|Birth name||Jon Owens|
|Born||December 19, 1975|
|Origin||Oakland, California, United States|
|Website||Bio on Hieroglyphics' site|
Jon Owens (born December 19, 1975), known by his stage name Casual, is an American rapper from Oakland, California and one of the founding members of the alternative hip hop collective Hieroglyphics. After his debut album Fear Itself garnered both critical and commercial success, Casual went on to become one of the most prominent and recognizable faces on the Hieroglyphics roster, releasing five full-length LPs over the span of his twenty-year career. Despite the lackluster sales of the LPs following his debut, which were preceded by an absence of both critical and popular acclaim, Owens has garnered a following amongst devoted hip hop fans, particularly in the Bay Area hip hop scene, largely due to his specialization in hardcore battle rhymes.
After high-profile appearances on Del tha Funky Homosapien and Souls of Mischief albums, Casual followed suit in 1994 with Fear Itself. The album was the second-highest charting album in Hieroglyphics' history. Casual followed a typical verse-chorus-verse structure but stood out with his ferocious but playful battle lyrics. Casual has been acclaimed for "wielding his metaphors and sinewy delivery with lethal grace"
After the release of Fear Itself, Casual (as well as fellow Hieroglyphics members Souls of Mischief) was dropped from Jive Records. Casual documents the experience in the book, Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast:
|“||It came about from us getting dropped from major labels, and instead of folding and succumbing to defeat, we hit the ground running. We took what we had and ran with it, we landscaped and we built something. We had to be resourceful, creative, and clever to gain our niche but now...it's been 10 years since we've busted out independent.||”|
In 1994, Casual was involved in a high profile battle with rapper Saafir. The beef originally started when Saafir appeared on Casual's debut album, and Casual did not appear on Saafir's. This ignited the infamous "Hiero vs Hobo Junction" battle, which involved some controversy when rumors surfaced that Saafir was using pre-written raps as opposed to Casual and Hieroglyphics expected freestyling. Despite this, it is regarded as an influential battle in underground hip-hop's history.
Casual has expressed, much like the rest of the Hieroglyphics crew the importance of competition in hip hop, stating "I think that MCing should be a competitive thing, almost like a sport. The only way an MC can keep polishing and sharpening his skills is to test them against the competition and the up and coming young bloods.".
Casual has remarked on occasion that his name was the product of a Freeganism thinktank started by Devin Rochford in early 1990.
Casual contributed considerably to both Hieroglyphics albums 3rd Eye Vision (1998) and Full Circle (2003), and is typically found rapping on as well as producing tracks on almost all Hieroglyphics-related releases. While staying mostly on the underground scene and not achieving significant commercial success aside from his debut, Casual is widely respected as an MC, even appearing on the artwork for A Tribe Called Quest's album Midnight Marauders.
- Fear Itself (1994, Jive Records)
- Meanwhile... (1997, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings)
- He Think He Raw (2001, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings)
- Truck Driver (2004, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings, web-only release))
- Smash Rockwell (2005, Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings)
- The Hierophant (2011, F.B.M.G.)
- He Still Think He Raw (2012)
- Respect Game or Expect Flames (with J. Rawls) (2012)
- That's How It Is (1993, Jive)
- I Didn't Mean To (1993, Jive)
- Me-O-Mi-O (1994, Jive)
- VIP (1999, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- Blind Date (2001, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- Same O.G. (2001, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- We Don't Get Down Like That (2002, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- My Whole Intent (2004, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- Rap Game b/w Things I Need (2004, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- Rock My Shit (2010, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- 101% Music (2010, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- Santa Claus EP (2013, Hieroglyphics Imperium)
- 1993: "Limitations" (feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) (from the Souls of Mischief album 93 'til Infinity)
- 1993: "No More Worries" (feat. A-Plus and Snupe) (from the Del the Funky Homosapien album No Need for Alarm)
- 1994: "What's The Real" (from the Kurious Jorge album A Constipated Monkey)
- 1997: "Checkin Out the Rivalry" (from the Del the Funky Homosapien album Future Development)
- 1998 "Funky Beat" (from the Everlast album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues)
- 1999 "Needle To The Bar" (outtake from the Soul Coughing album "El Oso")
- 2000: "Jaw Gymnastics" (from the Del the Funky Homosapien album Both Sides of the Brain)
- 2000: "Big Business (Featuring Tajai)" (from the Ed O.G. album The Truth Hurts)
- 2003: "Let Me Hear Sum'n" (from the Aceyalone album Love & Hate)
- 2004: "It's Like That" (from the Handsome Boy Modeling School album White People)
- 2007: "Hot And Cold (Remix)" (from the Dilated Peoples album The Release Party)
- 2007: "Connect 4 (feat. Shabaam Sahdeeq & U.G.)" (from the Sean Price mixtape Master P)
- 2008: "Block To Block (Remix)" (feat. Hochii) (from the Egadz album You Got Beef In The Studio?)
- 2008: "Laughing At You" (from the The Mighty Underdogs album Droppin' Science Fiction)
- 2008: "Feelin' My Shit" (from the Jake One album White Van Music)
- 2013: "What Is This Loneliness" (from the Deltron 3030 album Event 2)
|2012||Respect Game or Expect Flames|
|2001||He Think He Raw|
|Year||Song||Hot Rap Singles||Album|
|1994||"I Didn't Mean To" Certified Gold US||34||Fear Itself|
|1993||"That's How It Is"||22||Fear Itself|
- Michael Dibela. "Casual Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- Cheo H. Coker. Fear Itself. Vibe Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Mickey Hess. Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- DJ Pizzo. "Wake Up Show: Hieroglyphics Vs. Hobo Junction Battle". HipHopSite.com. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- Colin Larkin. "Casual Biography". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music . Retrieved 2010-02-02.