Rappers nowadays are a dime a dozen.
You only have to look to the bootleggers on 125th Street in Harlem to
understand just how over populated the blocks and streets of every town
and every city are. And in New York City, the Hip-Hop Mecca, rappers,
lyricists, MCs, whatever you want to call them are literally having to
sing for their supper.
Hip-Hop pretty much selling its soul to the powers that be, there are
some lyricists who just refuse to give up on their so called
constitutional rights and deny their creativity. Donny Goines stands firm in that group.
arent something Donny Goines dwells on, but he has them, mixtapes and
showcases werent his path of choice to get his name out there, but he
isnt adverse to them. This New Yorker just grinds. Using the Internet
as his means to an end, doesnt necessarily make him an Internet rapper
as some might think, he was just dead set on making his mark using
whatever means possible. Songs like
knows he has a battle on his hands being from a city that fights with
its own ego every time the day dawns, but that doesnt make him falter.
He came into the game with a mission on his mind and nothing is going
to stop him from shedding the stigmatism that surrounds Hip-Hop and the
somewhat forgotten soldiers of New York City.
AllHipHop.com: On your joint "Back In The Day" you give the impression that your knowledge of Hip-Hop runs really deep. Where did your love for the music come from?
Goines: To be honest I first fell in love with Hip-Hop in general
watching the people on my block freestyling. Coming up I wasnt really
digging the music, I was big into school and then when I started seeing
the reaction of people on my block to those freestyling it really
intrigued me. From that point right there I started to listen to more
of the music and that was basically where it all came from.
AllHipHop.com: Whereabouts in NY are you from?
Goines: I was born in Manhattan but I grew up in the Bronx and in
Harlem. I was in the Bronx as a teenager and then I grew up as a man in
How important is it for you to be representing New York then right now,
both as a fan of the music and then as an artist?
Goines: It is very important. In all honesty I do a lot of research; I
read a lot of websites and magazines. I look at these and they cover
every other region besides New York that it is almost to the point that
New York rappers are stigmatized now; they cant seem to get the
certain light that they need. I definitely feel like, I mean lets not
get it twisted, I am not trying to bring New York back, but I do want
to represent New York well, once I am in a position to do so. Being
from New York it is only right.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think ego has a lot to do with where New York is in Hip-Hop right now?
Goines: Of course, it is a lot of ego. The truth of the matter is, a
lot of these artists, they cant see other people shining, they cant
see other people doing well; they have to hate. As much as I love New
York City, that is just the city of New York right now, they are
hating. A lot of times I think ego has a lot to do with it. You know if
people were down to earth and humble, New York was reigning for a long
time and it is not so much about regional, it is just about who is
making good music. Some of the top Hip-Hop artists that are making
noise right now, look at Joell Ortiz,
he is making noise, he is doing well and he is just sticking true to
what he knows and I think that is what a lot of New Yorkers in rap need
to do, they need to put their ego aside.
AllHipHop.com: DO you think Hip-Hop is following the same path as opposed to like you are saying, staying true to themselves?
Goines: I think 90% of them are following trends and that is an issue I
think was important to me to address. One of my songs is called "F**k
New York" and the reason I made that song was because a lot of people
are not saying true to who they are like, they are following the South
influenced records and I feel like New York as a whole has lost its
identity. The people who are in power and the people who have the most
power are making us look bad and that was something I had to address
and I will address it as long as it is going on. I gotta thank Benny
Blanco of Pilot Creative for helping me create that record because they
really helped me create that record at the last minute though.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think Hip-Hop as a whole is losing its identity now and not just New York?
Goines: I cant really say that as the south is doing the south and it
is not just regional like I said before. I dont hear a West coast
artist sounding like a down south artist. For the most part I think
everyone is standing true to their own culture and their own set but I
feel New York in general is bothered by that, not Hip-Hop as a whole.
AllHipHop.com: Saying that does that make your job as an MC harder, being that you are from New York?
Goines: Very hard. I feel like in all honesty that I am stigmatized. I
am put in a certain bracket and I feel like I dont deserve to be
looked at or judged that way and I feel like I should be judged on my
music and what I do. Its like the same with Myspace for instance; I
got my start on Myspace and I will be on there and people look at me as
a Myspace rapper.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah an Internet rapper.
Goines: Exactly and I feel a lot of time that coming from New York,
when I hear that it just makes me work a lot harder. When I hit the
booth I just write harder as I want people to understand that it is not
where I am from, it is what I am saying and it is what I do.
AllHipHop.com: How can you break the stigmatism then?
Goines: I think all you can do is make good music and stay true to
yourself. It is sad that it is the way it is, but I am not doing any
publicity stunts, I am not doing any crazy things I am just going to do
me. And at the end of the day I just feel that talent and passion and
drive will eventually make its way to the forefront and people will
realize that I am a talented artist regardless of where I am from.
AllHipHop.com: How hard has your struggle been so far?
Goines: To be honest this has been the hardest thing I have ever done
in my life. I swear to God I have been in the military, had family
dealing with drug problems, all of that; but for me to overcome this,
it has been a very hard goal. From the beginning when I started I just
bought an I Mac and I had three songs and that was in January of 06 and
from there I had a full time job working and I was doing that and doing
the myspace thing 8-10 hours a day when I first started. I was doing
that to get my buzz up and from that point I had went out to Cali to a
conference that I was invited to on the strength of a couple of songs.
I went out there, not knowing anyone, by myself. I was really
networking and that was where I met one of my mentors, Bishop Lamonte
who is down with Dres camp. Coming back I tried all sort of things, I
did internet concepts and I got The Source Unsigned Hype from a thing I
won and I was doing all kinds of shows. I did the Apollo Amateur Night
where I got booed off stage and then on top of doing all this hustling
I had to get a job to maintain myself. That turned out to be a job
working for one of my good friends Disco D who has recently departed.
AllHipHop.com: So how did you hook up with Bishop?
Goines: I had been invited to that conference and there was all these
panels and it was in Palm Springs and I had gone out there for a week.
I sent some CDs out there so they could use them as stuffers and I was
really hustling. Towards the end of the conference there was this panel
and the people on the panel, there was Bishop Lamont, Kevin Black,
A&Rs were there from Def Jam and I met Mike Clarke from
Swishahouse. Anyhow Kevin Black said something like if this had been
his conference he would have had a panel that played strictly just
unsigned music and I decided I had to have my music played. So they had
some questions at the end and I just said I wasnt interested in the
radio, I just cared about my peers critiquing my music or one of my
songs. So they ended up playing one of my songs and people were
listening and they cut it off after the first verse.
AllHipHop.com: Good feedback then?
Goines: Well out of one to five, I didnt get anything less than a
three. So that was how I got to work with Bishop as he said it took a
lot of courage to do what I did. The audience seemed to really like it
as again I got nothing less than a three from them as well. After the
panel, Bishop's brother came up to me and gave me Bishop's info and I
spoke to Bishop's Mom too as they really felt what I did, just standing
up like that. I went up to Bishop and we spoke and we exchanged details
and ever since I met him he has been giving me guidance.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think having a mentor is important for an up and coming artist?
Goines: With things like that, but as far as him being my friend, I
have never really depended on any other artist to help me build up my
buzz. I have just recently asked him to jump on a record with me but
that is because I have just already established myself as an artist.
That is something I pride myself on. Whoever my peers are I dont want
to rely on others to establish myself as an artist.
AllHipHop.com: So is it important to have the guidance and not necessarily the co-sign?
Goines: Yeah it is. Another one of my mentors was Disco D. My
relationship with D started as an employee/employer relationship and
from that point we really became great friends. I practically lived at
his house/home studio and I would be there while I was working my own
career. He was a mentor and a lot of times he would walk me into
labels, like Def Jam and Jive and I would sit in sessions where he was
mixing records for Trick Daddy and Lil Scrappy and he would really
teach me a lot of things and not so much music because at the time he
was really busy; but he would teach me the business. It was just one of
those relationships I took as much knowledge from as I could. I think
it is very important to have a mentor so when people look to me for
guidance I will help them out just as people have done for me.
As a rapper, you are now being I want to say advised, and I do use
that term very loosely, as to what you should rap about, what words you
can use, how the art of lyricism should be perceived from a parents
stand point due to recent events. How did you feel when you started to
get wind of what people like Russell Simmons were implying?
Goines: I am going to answer this in two parts. As an entertainer, it
is not my responsibility; it is not on me to educate people and give
information. I dont have to do that as it is not my job. But as a
person and as the person I am I feel like I am in a position to shed
light on the subject and that is why I made the song Ni**as, Bi***es,
H**s. I feel the whole issue is like this; if you are going to censor
one group you are going to have to censor all. It shouldnt be a case
that rappers are just censored because there is an issue with rappers.
Like I said in my song, Quentin Tarrentino and Martin Scorsese, in
their scripts, they include the word ni**a. Desperate Housewives and a
lot of shows say the word B**ch on the show and H8e is another word
used, it is just a part of life. Yet to stigmatize one group I feel it
is completely unfair.
AllHipHop.com: So you would say rap is being victimized right now?
Goines: Yes I feel that is exactly what it is. I feel like I am being
violated of my constitutional rights to be quite honest. For instance I
was reading an article on AllHipHop.com about how Jadakiss was stopped
AllHipHop.com: It is just like an epidemic right now.
Goines: Yeah it is insane. I dont understand as that was a charity
event. How could you do that? To censor people is completely unfair and
that is why I made the song I made. You can not be hypocrites and make
money off this and people have been doing this, then they are going to
target us as whole I dont think it is right. As a citizen I have the
right to voice my opinion and that is where I am with that.
AllHipHop.com: What is your situation right now?
Goines: I am pretty much just doing me, as far as labels are concerned.
People might think I am chasing a deal or whatever, but to be quite
honest, if I had my own money and I had my own resources, I wouldnt
want to be signed. I wouldnt want people put censors on me, putting
restraints on me as that is why I left the military. So as far as
labels are concerned, I need them to be what I want to be. A couple of
people have hit me up to submit music etc, but nothing major just yet.
AllHipHop.com: You have only been taking this serious since '06 then?
Goines: Yeah since Jan '06. What happened was in 2004 I was in a group
and what happened was I didnt know how to format songs, I mean I had
always rapped around my block and stuff like that, the normal. But a
good friend of mine Bigga Threat, who is signed to Vacant Lot Records,
Dame Greases label and I kind of came up under him as far as
formatting my songs. He was my very first mentor when it came to the
music. You know I was learning through him and I am trying to format
songs and I had never really done any real songs at that point. The
thing with him was he got incarcerated and when that happened I had
only been with him for three or four months, so when that happened I
was essentially alone and I kind of gave up on the idea. I didnt know
what to do. I was in Westchester and I was going to rent a movie and I
happened to see the movie Fade to Black; so I licked it up. I went home
and watched it and it really inspired me. Then that night I wrote the
song Inspiration that very night and then I bought a computer and then
that has been it ever since.
AllHipHop.com: The Internet has been very important to you hasnt it?
Goines: Well I am a person who tends to watch things and observe and
listen and learn and at that time I thought the internet was the best
route for me. A lot of people do take the showcase route, they do take
the mixtape way, but that wasnt something I wanted to have myself
associated with at that time. So I bought me a computer and hustled
hard. From that point I started alone and did what I did and I got here
from hard work and hustling basically and here I am being interviewed
You have some tracks from well known producers, Kwame, Benny Blanco;
how important do you think it is to have a big name connected to your
Goines: At first when I started I never had any name people on my
tracks. I was just going around based on talent, so I was literally
doing whatever I could and to this day it is still all about the music
for me. I dont care if you are a Scott Storch or if you are an unknown
producer from 130th and Lexington, I dont care as long as the music is
hot. The thing is that I have noticed, especially when I had hired my
manager, Hannibal Jack Danz, who is a song writer and has relationships
with a lot of these producers; I realized that even though my music was
good, these industry people are looking for names. It doesnt matter
how good you are, they want to see names and they want to see this and
that and it was at that point I started working with the named
producers. But honestly I just like good music and I think it is good
to have a good name producer as it looks good on the resume; but as far
as my myself personally, all I care about is if the music sounds good.
I have been very fortunate to work with some great producers, I mean I
never had the chance to work with Disco D but I do have tracks from
him. I have tracks from Ron Browz, Scram Jones ("Slow Down"), Kwame ("Sweat It Out") and I have tracks with Neek Rush, the guy who did the "Ni**as, B**ch, H**s"
joint. He was one of the first producers to believe in me and he gave
me a shot and then there is another producer called Fury who believed
in me and I work with him. I think at this point people are starting to
believe in me and they are willing to work with me and it is a
Donny Goines Myspace Page is www.myspace.com/donnygoines