We all know the ‘ol cliche: “hard work pays off.” Well such isn’t always true in rap. Rappers pop up a dime a dozen these days. They fall off a couple of months down the line and aren’t heard from again. Donny Goines ain’t that kind of rapper. He’s been on his grind for 3 years running and is pretty much self made. He dropped his debut album “Minute After Midnight.” on Amalgam Digital in December and has some big things planned for ’09. I got to talk with the NY rapper about some cuts from his album, his view on the music biz, and his plans for the future. Read up…
Sam C: So basically how’d you get into rapping?
Donny Goines: Long story short I always freestyled and played around with music since I was about 17 but I never took it serious until the beginning of 2006. One day while living up in Westchester I went and picked up the movie “Fade to Black.” And when I finished watching it the only way I can describe what happened next was like an awakening of sorts.I went hard ever since.
Sam C: So fade to black was a defining moment. Were there any other rappers/songs/movies, basically anything that influenced you to rap?
Donny Goines: Well like I said before I always was a Hip Hop head at heart. But just from the fans perspective, I mean I freestyled alot growing up and did some music here and there, but never really took it has serious as I do now. Back then I was really just a fan.
Sam C: I definitely see that in your songs. Like with “What Happened,” it seems like you came from a generation of heads that was really into the music.
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Donny Goines: Exactly, I grew up in the era of the Biggie’s and the Jay’s, Wu Tang’s, etc. and it was a different time. Back then you really had to be dope in order to be respected in this game. But now, due to the large amount of music, internet, and many other factors it is not taken as seriously as it used to be and the quality of the music suffers because of it in my opinion.
Sam C: I see what you’re saying. Also like you said it was a different time and you had to get in by being nice and having an audience in most cases. Just to play devil’s advocate though you could say that the key word in music business is “business.”
Donny Goines: You’re right. It is a business. But if I looked at it that way my music and everything I do would be altered. Not too say that Im not trying to make money off of my craft. That is one of my main goals. To provide a living for me and my family doing something I love. But should I sacrifice my integrity and values for a buck? This is more a question of what you value as a person. Respect, in my opinion, is more important.
Sam C: Word I see what you’re saying. Moving on, congrats on dropping your debut album. I got a couple questions about that. First, why decide to distribute it online?
Donny Goines: Thank you. Well for one the internet is my biggest platform now as an artist. And (it) also helped to build my career, so why not? At the end of the day I am still an independent artist: still on my grind. And I STILL have a lot to prove. And being that I am a forward thinker I decided to be one of the first to really embrace this market and try my best as an emerging artist to capitalize (on it.) But (it also) cuts overhead. I don’t have a budget. Everything is coming out of my pockets. Despite what people may think it is very hard to put together a serious album without the sort of resources the majors provide.
Sam C: Cool. I have a question about Ricky’s Story. Was that about anyone in specific or just something you made up?
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Donny Goines: (It’s) totally fictional but it has real concepts behind it. Honestly speaking, children are lost these days. Now more than and ever, the images they see on TV and hear on the radio further distort their logic. Many artists in my opinion are leeches: no better than the preachers at church preaching the gospel but molesting the choir boys. Music is completely to blame for kids’ mistakes. As a matter of fact you can’t really blame them at all but you CAN fault artists influencing them. Many artist chose to do so negatively and that’s where the song comes from.
Sam C: Ok I see. I know you’re a hard worker so what do you have planned in ’09?
Donny Goines: Right now I am just taking everything step by step one day at a time. God willing though I will be on some major tours, finishing up the second album, and positioning myself to become one of the best emerging artists of that year.
Sam C: That’s cool. One thing I noticed is that you’re in a class of underground/indie NY rappers like Torae and Skyzoo. I personally think y’all are different than other NY artists that came before you but cats seem to lump y’all together. First off what’s it like being a part of the scene? Second, do you think that you guys are doing new things or following tradition?
Donny Goines: Good question. Let me answer the first one. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of this era and to be mentioned alongside artist such as them is an honor to me. I love what’s going on out here now and I think as time goes on we will see some great things happen for NY and Hip Hop as a whole.
Now as for the second part I feel its a little bit of both. At least as far as I’m concerned. Traditionally I can never neglect my past nor forget where I come from. And I represent that feeling to a tee. But on the flip side of that coin you have to separate yourself from the pack and bring new things to the table as well. Am I trying to bring back the Mid 90’s? Nope. I am trying to restore a lost feeling though. And the bottom line is I am birthed from these streets and sounds. So how (would) you not expect me to sound (like) or resemble my predecessors in some sort of way? People never tell Usher, “Oh Michael Jackson danced in his videos and sung a certain way so you can’t.” Only in Hip Hop do we receive that kind of criticism.
Sam C: Ok cool.You mentioned that you’re working on your second album. What work have you done on it so far? Also, who’s on it production or feature wise?
Donny Goines: I’m gonna remain quiet on features, production, etc. but suffice it to say the second album is in the works as we speak. I never rest on my laurels and the truth is I love to create music. So that’s something that you can always expect from me. I’m working on several different projects as we speak. Just apart of my nature I suppose.
Sam C: Also any talk on those tours or upcoming shows?
Donny Goines: Same thing. With me, I don’t like to speak on things unless I know they will happen because I am a man of my word. But trust me when I say that i am working on several different things right now and don’t be surprised if you see me in your city or town one day.
Sam C: Ok fair enough. Well that’s it for me. Is there anything else you want to say?
Donny Goines: Thank you for conducting this interview. Your support is truly appreciated. Anyone who reads this I thank you and support the album if you like good music. You can purchase “Minute After Midnight” on Amalgam digital, Amazon and Rhapsody right now. It will be on iTunes shortly. Much love and God Bless.
Sam C: Word thanks, also thanks for being available to do this.
Donny Goines: No prob. Much love and hit me anytime homie. Peace.
Sam C: Word later…
Check Donny Goines’s myspace for lainks to free mixtapes.