9 December 1981
19 May 2003 (aged 21)
Jason Johnson (December 1, 1981- May 19, 2003), also known as Camoflauge, was a U.S. rapper from Savannah, Georgia. Raised in public housing, Johnson's first hits were songs about Savannah's poverty and violence. Camoflauge probably misspelt his stage name to avoid confusion with the notorious New Orleans rapper Mac the Camouflage Assassin.
As a teenager, he sought refuge in the rap music of N.W.A and Tupac Shakur. Seeking to put his life experiences to tape, Camoflauge started rap career as he sold 20,000 copies of Crime Pays, an album he released with the hip-hop group Crime Affiliate. When I Represent, his solo album on the independent label Pure Pain, sold over 50,000 copies, Universal Music Group offered the rapper a deal. However, when Camoflauge was arrested for possession of crack cocaine, Universal didn't pick up the option on his contract, even though the charges were later dropped. He opened for heavyweight rap acts such as 8 Ball, MJG, Scarface, Master P, Ice T, Trick Daddy, and Ludacris.
He had a police record that included drug violations and a murder charge. He was held for three months in the Chatham County Jail in 2000 in connection with the shooting of Kenneth "Boo" Capers, but he was not indicted. During that period he wrote most of his first major release album, Strictly 4 da Streets: Drugs Sex and Violence, Vol. 1. He said of this album: "This is really from my heart to the pen. I was trying to write all about my life, all about me, all about the streets. Everything I know about the streets and everything I've been through."
He died in a shooting in May 2003 while walking with his toddler son, Ladon, outside his studio in midtown Savannah, Georgia. He was 21, He was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center, where he died. His son was not hurt. Acting Police Chief Willie Lovett formed a task force to investigate whether Johnson's death was related to recent violence including two other killings, and whether retribution might be involved. According to the Savannah Morning News, police made no arrests and had no leads in the shooting.
He had been shot before, the previous September, but suffered minor injuries. After this he moved to the suburbs in neighboring Bryan County.
His last album, Keepin It Real, was released in August, 2002.
Pure Pain Records has been ordered to cease selling Camoflauge's albums, due to a dispute with the slain rapper's mother. Tammie Greene claims that the label has not provided her with an adequate accounting for three albums and a DVD the rapper released.
According to the spokesperson, Pure Pain is still operating at a loss, due to the production of Camoflauge's latest album, Keepin' It Real. A judge halted the album sales, ruling an uncertified financial statement submitted by the label claiming losses of over $200,000 in 2002 and 2004, was not valid.
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