Johnson was born in Baltimore City, but by age 4 he was living with his adoptive mother and sisters in the county. As a painting major at MICA, he first became interested in dance while studying various forms of self-expression. He started participating in MICA's break-dancing club, but Joe Squared was the first public venue he performed in. He wanted to learn how to connect with people, and soon traded his painting homework for piano, poetry, acting, writing stories, and photography—and dance. He felt conflicted over what he wanted to do with himself, soon realized institutional learning was not for him, and left school in 2007.