Jon Quest is known as the "emcee’s emcee", yes. But this Pittsburgh native has many talents, including storytelling through hip hop music. Most of his plots are heavily influenced by his life and events happening around the world. His stage name was inspired by the 60’s cartoon “Jonny Quest” and he prides himself on taking his listeners on a journey through the real adventures that he encounters.
Jon Quest released his first mixtape "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest" in 2010 building a buzz for himself in the city of Pittsburgh. He's opened for the legendary Mobb Deep (RIP Prodigy), Method Man & Redman, Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson, to name a few.
"The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season 2", "No Re-runs" produced by Maticulous, and "New School Boom Bap" released under the group Varsity Squad with his fellow emcee, Beedie.
Quest took a hiatus in 2013 for a few years to focus on life, but he quickly returned at the end of 2019 with his concept album "Hollywood Divorce" along with another #VarsitySquad project titled "Schools of Thought".
Sound Mind, Sound Body
Not only has Quest flowed to the beat of his own 808s, but he's also attuned to the rhythm of his spirit, connecting into his higher creative self through yoga. The mediums of Reiki and yogic practices have allowed him to transcend his idea of self.
"I was led down this path through the help of my ancestors, God, and the Universe. If someone would’ve told me years ago that I was going to be a Reiki Master and a Yoga Teacher, I would’ve laughed in their face and said 'You’re absolutely crazy!'.
The quest began with the need to heal after the unexpected death of his mother and best friend. When that life-changing event happened, the gates into spirituality flooded open and began to whip Jon on a whirlwind of a ride.
Jon's life changed, but for the better. He first learned how to meditate becoming more mindful of his thoughts, then he was introduced to Reiki, a Japanese form of alternative medicine called energy healing. Naturally, he discovered Kundalini yoga learning about energy work and clearing chakras. He eventually grounded his spirit in yoga, learning the complexities of movement and the sacredness of the body.
Quest was granted an opportunity to teach as a Yoga instructor with a scholarship through Amazing Yoga in Pittsburgh, PA last year. He now teaches weekly at Trap Yoga Studios on Penn Ave every Monday night and Saturday morning.
On The Quest of Spirituality
Spirituality is important because it’s a way of life. It’s not for everyone and that’s completely okay by him. Jon was raised in a religious household, but he has always been curious about life, spirituality, and various religions as a child. As he grew older, he began to see why his eyes were naturally open to a different world. Spirituality opened his eyes to what’s important. Jon Quest opens up on his spiritual journey:
NI: What's the most valuable lesson you've learned thus far?
JQ: The most valuable lesson I've learned on this path is that you cannot rush and for very good reason. I was like a kid in a theme park in the beginning, wanting to try everything that came my way, but that's a no-no. Take your time and realize that you have to trust the path that you are walking and use discernment. It all starts there and then the rest will flow. It’s also super important to do some shadow work because a lot of unpacked trauma is going to come up. It’s all a part of healing and being a healer though.
NI: How do you incorporate your creativity into your practice?
JQ: This is a really great question. I’ll be honest...It’s a transition going from a hip hop artist to a yoga teacher and healer, but I recently realized that I’m still being an emcee aka a master of ceremonies in a way. I’m just not dropping bars over a mic during a set. I’m spitting affirmations, mantras, directing poses, and guiding people through their own yoga practice. The brand is still Jon Quest though no matter if I’m on the stage or on a yoga mat because that’s my truth and who I am as a person. I’d like to use the network that I’ve created over the years and bridge both worlds together.
I’m here to help heal everyone and raise the consciousness of humanity, but I’d like to bring more men into the world of healing because there are a lot of us hurting right now. Men need a safe and sacred space to be vulnerable and heal and I’m going to be the mascot for that.
NI: What do you hope to see for the creative arts scene in Pittsburgh moving forward?
JQ: I think everyone that is in the creative arts scene, specifically in music rather they say it or not, would like to see someone cross over into the mainstream because that’s going to bring more shine to the city. The hardest part is cracking that code. We don’t have the strong foundation here in Pittsburgh for it to happen without you having to move around to different cities and network. Very few have been able to make it happen, so shout out to them. I personally have had my “mainstream” run years ago, so I’m okay with still dropping music for my core fans and staying on my spiritual path. I’d still like to see someone cross over for sure with the music, but I also create as a photographer and creative in general.
Upcoming Projects:“Quest and the Girl with the Yellow Jacket” Coming in May 2021
I’m currently working on my first musical production titled “Quest and the Girl with the Yellow Jacket”. This production brings together the individual albums of two Pittsburgh hip hop artists: Dr. HollyHood’s Yellow Jacket (2019) tells the story of a woman in a relationship with a married man, and Quest’s Hollywood Divorce (2019) which follows the life of a married man involved in an affair. The albums are woven together in collaboration with dramaturg and playwright TJ Parker-Young.
click photo for more info and tickets
This Hip Hopera will be performed at the New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA in May of 2021. You can get a ticket using the link attached to the photo. There will be a few dates and the entire event can be viewed online. There's a great team on deck and they can’t wait to show this to the world!