"I hope Me and my Soundtracks - a product of channeling that Divine energy & encapsulating my Joys, Struggles, Insights and Inspirations - resonate with You, and generate nothing but Positive Influence along the way! Peace and Love Be With Ya!" -Pak
Pak is the alias & stage-name of Samuel Vaqar John (Sam John for short), an American-Pakistani MC/rapper/lyricist, vocalist, frontman/band leader, producer, recording/performing artist, intellectual and holistic health practitioner/RN. Born Aug 15, 1985, he grew up in Idaho, Pakistan and (mostly) California before transplanting to his adopted home of Hawaii at 20 years old. A gnarly brush with methamphetamine abuse and near-death experience at age 16 had him realize his Potential and determine his Priorities, and in 2001 he discovered new-found power in Hip-Hop, Rap and the Art of Freestyle. His major influences include a deep assortment of artist/rappers/hiphop luminaries – 2Pac, Nas, Eminem, Scarface, KRS-One, Outkast, DMX, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Aesop Rock, (and it goes on…) – and singer-songwriters like Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Rick James, Roxette, Damian Marley, (and many others). He’s taken a few detours but always kept on track with his Vision – to Create; Serve; Heal; Empower; Prosper People and Planet. From choirboy to vocabulary junkie to music lover to a human Being, he stands as an electrifying Voice and compelling Presence – serving up punchy multisyllabic rhymes infused with vibrant melody and nuanced wordplay, and stimulating, relatable story-telling rich with Imagery, Insight, Poetry, Energy and Flow.
More than anything Pak uses his distinct voice and perspective to RALLY, UNLEASH and BOOST the Mind, Body and Spirit! Themes like Empowerment, Having Fun, Social/Environmental Justice, Relationship, Self-Awareness/Acceptance/Love, Hope, Resilience, and Spirituality prevail throughout his lyrics. The Character and Movement of his Sound(Wave) is a synthesis of absorbing frequencies of Variety – from Genre to Era – he was exposed to a plethora of music (apart from the many subsets of hip hop/rap) in his teens and college years – ranging from alternative rock (Nirvana, Alice in Chains, …), electronic (The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Bloodhound Gang, …), heavy rock (Disturbed, Limp Bizkit, …), punk/ska/pop (The Offspring, Sublime, …), industrial rock (Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, …), roots/reggae (Steel Pulse, Bob Marley, …), funk/groove (Rick James, S.O.S Band, …), 80s synth rock (Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, …), female musicians (Sheryl Crow, Madonna, …), 90s pop (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, …), soundtracks (Space Jam, Mortal Kombat, …), to dabs of blues, jazz, soul, R&B, classic rock 50s/60s/70s, country, classical, world and all the rest! His inspirations also include films like The Matrix and The Transformers (1986), video games like Final Fantasy 7, texts like the Iliad & Odyssey, Marvel/DC Comics and the Kama Sutra (Guide on Love/Relationship/Intimacy), and figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Spiderman/Peter Parker, and one Josephine Engebak. Whether superfan or first-timer, people consistently cite him a “Wow!”, “Highlight!” and “Favorite!” after every performance – from intimate lounge to corner sidewalk to the big stage – and they are continuously tuning in and signing-on with his Music, Artistry, and Vibe.
“I love life, the creative process, and most of all, charging everybody UP! When it’s all done and said, I’m here to make positive impact and enrich our peoples’ spirits!”
Pak is also founder and frontman of live-freestyle band Samurai Funktion, and co-founder and creative director of local underground hiphop movement/event BounceBackHipHop in Honolulu. His “I Will Not Be Chain3d” album-mixtape arrived on Aug 15, 2018 as an independent self-release. It garnered a fully-funded grassroots Kickstarter album merch campaign, and saw the release of an official music video for the single “Metamorph (Up In The Head)”. His latest single, “Lyrical Disobedience” (ft Illnomadic & produced by Wunda), dropped on Oct 17, 2020. His forthcoming project “Resistance Protocols” (a 10-track album) is currently in production with a projected release date in late 2021.
(More ’bout Pak…)
The son of Pakistani immigrants (mother, Kim, a registered nurse, and father, Ernest, a scientist/researcher & high school teacher), he was born in Moscow, Idaho and brought up chiefly in Southern California’s Inland Empire, though he also spent formative years in Pakistan’s Punjab province, Northern California’s Napa Valley area, Majuro atoll (capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands), and Honolulu, Hawaii where he now resides with his lovely mastermind wife Josephine (a spirited Norwegian and fellow creative & intellectual!) and their 2 pet bunny-rabbits.
Family and personal turbulence (parents’ bitter divorce, anxiety, substance abuse) as an upper-middle class suburban teen saw him in some serious trouble until in 2001, at age 16, he discovered rhyming and fell head-over-heels for the art of freestyle rap. Not long after, he started writing, collaborating, producing, recording and performing – sensing this his calling. This culminated in independently releasing several underground albums (“Peaceofmind”, “Ques?ion”, “Still Wunda”, “Rhyme4AReason” – all under the moniker “Peace Of Mind Crew”) and subsequent touring between 2008-2012. In summer 2012 he joined live-band Jive Slinky (exiting the band in 2014 shortly before it dissolved) as well as forming & fronting live progressive hiphop/rap/rock/experimental freestyle band Samurai Funktion in 2013. Around the same time in 2012 he went back to school, and in 2018, he earned a Bachelors degree in Nursing (adding to a Bachelors in Communication & Multimedia he’d earned in 2008). The year 2018 also saw the release of his most personal and candid project up to that point, the “I Will Not Be Chain3d” album/mixtape. After organizing and performing his first live show in 2005 (an unforgettable college house party at his mom’s pad!), he’s invigorated every venue, show and stage he’s booked since, and it’s his undeniable presence, skill & energy that continues to earn him a celebrated reputation in every music scene he’s a part!
Throughout his journey, Pak is bent on mastering the craft of honest & unflinching self-disclosure – delivering impactful, penetrating lyrics & heartfelt renderings channeled off Emotion, Experience, Education and Exchange. Not only that, he embodies a tenacious, independent DIY-spirit as an artist entrepreneur and is a perpetual source of positive vibrations – from championing sustainable mindsets, community engagement and optimistic perspectives to pushing Peace, Love, Unity and (safely) Having Fun both on and off the stage.
Find Pak forging his own path – deriving strength through music and connecting with others through it all. Always crafting the purest, most-empowering music possible on a mission to capture imagination, experience catharsis and energize any & all vibing with!
"Pak's Perspective 20xx":
Our world's in flux. Climates rage, Throngs party, Everybody hustles to get by. We’re simultaneously feeling the highest highs, and the lowest lows. It’s getting tougher to stay up - to live Just, Free, Dignified lives - to navigate these waters. But we find our Way. Loving life, pushing back against the BS, getting ahead together. That’s the mission for Pak. Generating, Respect. Fun. Knowledge. Power. Transformation.