We had the good fortune of connecting with Albert D Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Albert D, why did you pursue a creative career?
I grew up as a loner with a very bad stutter so it was easy for me to feel “misunderstood”. Even when I wasn’t stuttering I found it hard to express myself. That was until I met “HipHop” and realized immediately that “people were listening to what I was saying” and that I had a voice in this world. Once I picked up a microphone, the stuttering didn’t exist almost like it gave me back power over my life. I’m grateful I found HipHop!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started doing music in 1996 but it was for “the neighborhood” with no expectations of taking it any further. By the time 2000 came around, I was known in my city of Philadelphia for being “that hot rapper”. That title wouldn’t last long because of my environment, where the “street life” paid the bills so I took all focus off music. After losing several friends to gun violence and jail, I had to make my escape so I left my neighborhood. Once I stepped back into the music scene, I was now considered an “old man” because of my age and that stopped people from even listening to what I had to say. I pushed through and made a name for myself once again in the Philly rap scene and met up with a stranger from Georgia, who ended up being my partner Good DonNie. He reached out and wanted to work immediately so we created “No Lie Music Group/DonNie Music Group and been moving forward ever sense. I guess the hardest part was watching people give up on me but it also was my fuel to keep going so I guess it turned out to be a win for me.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Honestly my version of a good time is being in the studio creating. I can bring food from one of the many spots in Philly as well as beverages and have a great time. I love what I do so it’s not a “work environment” for me but a great hangout spot.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, the Most High. My family for having my back 100% of the way and my partner Good DonNie for having faith in me and giving me the opportunity to express myself through music.

Instagram: @king_merlino_

Twitter: @Merlino_da_king

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCYAa45hXpwBVCTLlOxWKQLw

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