As a teenager, John began performing his raps on open mic nights at the famous Good Life Cafe, a health food restaurant that provided a place for many underground hip-hop artists to display their talent, including Freestyle Fellowship, C.V.E., and Ellay Khule. John's first recorded performance (credited as MC Pigeon) was a collaboration titled "Judge Not" with the artist LPG, from their 1995 album The Earthworm.
John claims that his stage name was provided by Jesus who was driving around Inglewood: "He hopped out and handed me a dead pigeon. He whispered, 'Please have a good time, you're really bumming me out.' I watched him sink back into the cushioned seats and drive, quickly away. And that's when it happened, the pigeon started shaking violently and became awake, picked up and flew away. I don't think I had a choice... it was 'pigeon' or die." He later explained that he was discussing his need for a stage name with a friend when the friend suggested "Chicken John", taken from the character Chicken George in Roots. The friend's mother then interjected that John didn't look like a chicken, claiming that he looked like a pigeon and should therefore be called "Pigeon John".
In the early 1990s, Pigeon John and his childhood friend B-Twice formed the hip-hop duo Brainwash Projects. Brainwash Projects contributed the single "Muchas Muchachas" to the Christian rap compilation "Sanktifunctafyd" released by N-Soul Records in 1995. Brainwash Projects eventually released a record titled The Rise And Fall Of Brainwash Projects on the independent label Jackson Rubio. One reviewer characterized The Rise and Fall as "pure, uncut, holy hip-hop" but gave mixed reviews of its beats and lyrics.
Pigeon John and B-Twice, and now KarateE! Mouse, eventually met other like-minded young rappers and formed the hip-hop musical collective known as L.A. Symphony. Members of the L.A. Symphony have at one time or another also included members of The Halieyoos Fishermen (Sharlok Poems, Trendi M.C., and J-Beits aka Great Jason), The Eternals (Cookbook & Uno Mas), Coy (Paul "Coy" Allen), and rapper/producer Flynn Adam Atkins. Pigeon John, B-Twice, and Great Jason have since left L.A. Symphony to pursue solo careers and other projects, but are still considered part of the L.A. Symphony crew. Pigeon John and Flynn formed a side project called Rootbeer. Rootbeer has released one e.p. in early 2009 called "Pink Limousine." The e.p. consists of five tracks including "Chimpanzee", "Girlies", "Pink Limousine", "Under Control", and "So Good." Years before, in 1999, Flynn and Pigeon's first song as the group, Root Beer, was "The Inevitable Return of the Pretty Boy Virgins".[third-party source needed]
A new album, entitled Dragon Slayer, hit physical and digital retail October 12, 2010. With the aid of General Elektriks' Herve Salters, he produced the whole record, including, for the first time, sampling original instrumentation rather than flipping samples from records. "It's a whole new venture. It becomes bigger than being a writer, and you have to be an editor, in book-form. Working with Herve Salters makes my music feel new to me. It's been a great process, I love it." His first single from the album, "The Bomb", was featured in a Volkswagen television commercial in early October. In 2014, "The Bomb" was featured in the announcement trailer for Dead Island 2.