In this new series on DaLeak.com, I will be interviewing some of the hottest emerging artists in the hip hop industry. Donny Goines is definitely an artist to watch as he is quickly making a name for himself. His motto is: If you never heard of me, then I ain’t working hard enough. In addition to his tremendous work ethic, Donny always delivers us a look into his personal life while balancing socially-conscious lyrical content. His delivery is what separates him from the pack.
Carlos Starboyant: What inspired you to begin your hip hop career?
Long story short the movie Fade to Black was the catalyst for my music career. Back in early 2006 I decided to buy the movie because I had never seen it. After watching it, I felt this sudden urge to really pursue this seriously. I can’t really explain it, it was just an overwhelming feeling I had that gave me the motivation to really do it.
Who was your favorite rapper growing up?
Biggie. Point blank. The best that ever did it. RIP
Who is your favorite rapper now?
Besides myself? That’s a good question. I honestly am a fan of a lot of people–old and new. I tend to lean more towards the newcomers though. I don’t really have anyone specific I listen to on a regular basis, I just like it all as long as it’s good.
How long have you been rapping? How has your style evolved?
I’ve seriously been rapping for about 4 years. I’ve always rapped as a hobby and never really took it too serious though. It just never seemed like an attainable goal to me. I was more concerned with women and having fun than the music itself. Now it is my only true passion in life.
Can you explain your concept for Minute after Midnight?
Minute after Midnight was my first official debut album and the first part of a trilogy. The title has dual meanings. The first is based from principles of the Cinderella story. I thought they had similar concepts within this industry. It was all based around fantasy. I compared the magical carriage to the cars, fancy gown to the clothes and jewelry, ball to the club, etc. But what happened after midnight? All those things disappeared because they weren’t real. The second meaning refers to time as in darkness. The album is very serious in nature overall and speaks on a lot of subjects that were not so happy.
How does Minute after Midnight differ from your last album, The Breakfast Club?
The Breakfast Club is the second part and also has dual meanings. The first takes principles from the classic John Hughes movies but instead of different personalities that are labeled by society in one room, you have different musicians in a studio. See the parallel? The second meaning again refers to time. Morning, bright. Not as serious as the first. It was meant to be the polar opposite of the first.
Why did you decide early on to let the people download your music for free?
Because if you don’t know who I am why would you buy my music? Would you walk into a store and buy a product you’ve never heard of if there are other brands right next to it that you trust and know? Of course not. From a consumer standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense. I had to build my brand up first with the people.
How did you decide to use the Donny Goines stage name?
First and foremost, I don’t like nicknames. My legal name is Donny (same spelling and all) so when I decided to become an artist for real, I needed a stage name. I wanted to incorporate my real name into it so I started thinking of a lot of ideas and Donny Goines was suggested to me by a good friend of mines named Bigga Threat. At first I was hesitant to use it, but after a few days I thought the name made a lot of sense. The bottom line is simple: I would rather name myself after someone positive, then some infamous gangsta or other nonsense.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my new album called Yesterdays Tomorrow. Expect some serious music on there and a release date in 2010. I am also working on an EP that I will drop at the top of the year. 2010 is gonna be crazy.
What are your opinions on the dramatic changes in the music industry now?
There are too many things to address in this question so I will just give a blanket answer. At the end of the day everything changes. It’s inevitable. The trick is to evolve with it.
How does your style differ from everyone else in rap?
No one else can tell my story. I am me at the end of the day and that is what makes me different. One thing I will say about my music though is that its very truthful and candid. That’s what most people know me for.
What do you want to contribute to NYC hip hop specifically?
I want to help bring the scene forward. NY has to stop living in the past and embrace the times. That doesn’t mean to go and change up your style, but you have to get out of the past mindset that we were in. It’s going to take time but hopefully along with other talented MC’s we will make strides in the culture within our community.
Can you explain the concept behind the Ricky’s Story track?
The concept is simple. It really tells the story of the song. Mills Miller did an excellent job of bringing my words to life in this video. Its one of my favorites.
I love this song but in your perspective what’s the concept behind Can’t Fit In My Shoes?
This is also one of my favorites. Simple but to the point. Court Dunn is a genius when it comes to minimalistic shoots and he did a great job with this video. It just shows my frustration and anger from my perspective. Great video.