D’NME is a Canadian rapper that is highly driven to re-invent the modern Hip Hop movement. Using variances of rapid and aggressive rapping styles, D’NME utilizes multi-syllable rhymes assembled to hit the pocket of the beat. His distinguished rapping style, comes from a wide spectrum of guidance that range from 2PAC to Jay-Z, to Foxy Brown and Snoop Dogg, while his musical influences range from genres such as Rock, Punk Rock, Country, Grunge and R&B. Because of this plethora of influence, D’NME has created an unparalleled Hip Hop presence.
D’NME has gained praise and built a name for himself within the Toronto and Winnipeg regions for his unique and passionate delivery in the local Battle and Freestyle circuit. D’NME constantly seeks out inspiration by attending major Hip Hop events such as The Coast to Coast Mixtape convention, and is consistently hard at work in the studio creating new material. In winter of 2011 D’NME amped up his marketing and promotional strategies. He is slated to film his first ample-budget music video for his most recent single “The Stars.” Filming is said to begin in Los Angeles, in January of 2012.
Like many attuned artists, D’NME has endured struggles and misfortunes, nonetheless, displaying perseverance. One of the most trying times of his life was when his father passed at the age of 7, leaving his mother to solely raise him in the west banks of Toronto, Canada. Yet, even in his youth, he has never taken his eyes off his passion and expertise in music. He has worked hard through various dead-end jobs and found himself making the difficult decision of leaving school to pursue his musical career.
In February of 2007, D’NME released the respected indie album “The Death Of Me”. Riding a momentum wave he developed his own independent Label, The 9th Law entertainment, in 2010. This gave him full creative control of his artistic capabilities and has given him the privilege to express himself freely. D’NME’s recent singles ‘Put It On Me’ and “44 Bars” have earned him 500,000+ views on YouTube solidifying him as a digital artist to be reckoned with. By the summer of 2011, D’NME had increased his exposure and was featured on world-renowned mixtapes with DJ Smallz, DJ Green Lantern, also being featured alongside Hip Hop heavyweights such as Lil’ Wayne, Lloyd Banks, and Jadakiss, just to name a few.
When all the smoke clears, D’NME doesn’t want to rely on reputation or appearance, those things are ever-changing, temporary and minimal –he strives to always be a showcase of what has brought him thus far: the music.
Today we are chilling with a new up and coming rapper named D’NME. He is repping Canada and making a lot of noise on the internet as of late. On a warm summer day in July we got to chop it up with the homie and it went something like this..
HipHopLead- For starters we noticed you sighted 2pac as inspiration. Did you model your stage name with a “Me Against The World” type of influence in mind?
D’NME-To be honest that’s an interesting way of looking at it, but the name “D’NME” sprung from me constantly feeling short-changed from the very first day I started rapping. I’ve always felt as if a lot of people were very cynical even before hearing me rap, and a lot of times even after people would hear me they would still be skeptical. So my attitude was like “Okay, I’m gonna give you a reason to hate me. I’m not gonna give a fuck anymore” So I needed a fitting moniker to signify that rebellious attitude. I felt like being “The Enemy” would thwart any doubtful opinion about me as a rapper. I thought of spelling it phonetically to make it more presentable.
HipHopLead- That’s dope. It’s not often you would hear a male rapper speak on a female emcee as an influence. What exactly was it about Foxy Brown that you latched too as an emcee?
D’NME- I’d definitely say her voice and her attitude on wax. I’m drawn to a lot of the “What you see is what you get” type rappers. I like when emcees are unapologetic. I listen to conscious emcees as well but I like the “bad guy”, or in this case, “bad girl” style. In Hip Hop having a “take no shit” demeanour is a good attribute. That doesn’t mean you’re volatile or anything, it’s more like your letting people know that you’re in the building and telling it like it is. Foxy Brown came at the game that way from the start. That’s what struck me about her in particular.
HipHopLead- Do you feel that coming from Toronto and being an emcee helps or hurts you geographically?
D’NME-(Laughs) Coming from Toronto won’t hinder you across the border in any way because if you can rap, that’s what matters. To tell you the truth, rapping in Toronto with the intention of blowing up in Toronto can and will paralyze your career, period! If you’re driven enough to really wanna make it on a national and international level then you’ll practice your craft in Toronto and eventually move and do all the marketing in the States. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Toronto’s Hip Hop scene is not publicized half as much as it is in the States. Also, Toronto hasn’t developed a signature sound in Hip Hop yet. When we bring up styles the first thing that comes to mind is East Coast, West Coast, Southern etc, The “North” so to speak isn’t even considered.
HipHopLead- That’s an interesting take on it. With that said are you a fan of Drake?
D’NME- Let the Drake questions begin. I’ve been waiting 5 years to say this. I’m keeping it mad real son! I DON’T LIKE HIS ASS. He was rolling with me and we actually had a group called “The Toronto Wrecking Crew”. Around the time he blew up I got incarcerated for grand theft auto and he didn’t pay for my bail or hand me a record deal… (Bursts out laughing) I’m playing.
HipHopLead- Damn you had me going! (laughs)
D’NME- You know what?… I’m neither here nor there with Drake. I think he does what he does and he was smart enough to capitalize on the opportunities made present to him, as well as those that he created for himself through his hard work. I think he makes good music but regardless of what I think about him as, he’s gonna continue to sell records, and that’s where I kinda leave it at. I’ve been asked about him in a lot of interviews and I think people assume that since I’m from Toronto I would automatically have an initial problem with him. For whatever reason it seems as if dissing Drake is like the cool thing to do at the moment, but I don’t know him personally so there’s no reason for me to say anything derogatory about him.
HipHopLead- Do you think with Drake being signed it helped more artists from your region to be looked upon more?
D’NME- HELL NO! Drake’s success hasn’t changed the way record labels are looking at Toronto artists. That’s a huge fallacy. We’ve been in a “do it yourself” mentality since 2002 when 50 Cent built his buzz via mixtapes. If you want to garner attention you have to get out there and make your presence felt outside of your hometown. I was in NYC last week and the radio personality was surprised that I was there because it shows how serious I am.
I’m rarely in Toronto because I’m not trying to be the next local hopeful. I don’t rap to be a local celebrity or for an ego boost at the neighborhood basket-ball court. Fuck that. No one enters this game to be an average artist. That’s what a 9 to 5 is for. No one pays attention to the artists of Toronto unless your making noise or there’s a major cosign. I’m getting a lot of coverage now and you wanna know why? Because I actually have the balls to put myself in places like NYC, Miami, and L.A to let the people know that I’m coming. I’m a realist and I know in this industry you have go out and wield yourself into a good space.
HipHopLead- A lot of media outlets have featured your music. Canadian, French, United States… how does it feel to have a such a global impact with your music, as an indy artist?
D’NME- French people are feeling me? That’s dope. You know, there’s a certain feeling you get when you’ve been busting your ass for years and you start to see people gravitating towards the music you’re creating. You feel really appreciated but at the same time it drives you, well it drives me at least. I’m not the type to “stop and smell the roses”. Apart from promoting, radio interviews etc I’m working. I’m already concentrating on the next mixtape. There’s literally no time to slow down.
HipHopLead- What made you come up with the title “Guns and Roses” ?
D’NME- I needed a title that had impact. The music I make is by no means “laser focused” I make aggressive music, I make soft music, I try to be extremely versatile so “Guns & Roses” fit perfectly. I thought about all the backlash. People might say that I’m biting the hard rock band but who am I again? “D’NME” so I expect critics to talk. For those that don’t know “Guns & Roses” means “Love or Hate” or “Good & Bad” that right there defines the music that’s on this tape. “Against The Wall” might appear as bad in the eyes of a parent but the kids love it. “The Stars” may be a bit too soft for hardcore listeners but adults are drawn to it. So every listener will have an opinion on which records are like “Guns” and which records are like “Roses”.
HipHopLead- This year alone your internet presence has been full throttle. Is your goal to be an indy artist or getting signed to a major label?
D’NME- That all depends on the situations that arise from either option. I’m the one building this buzz and I’m not an artist that gets aroused when I hear “major record deal”. So when it comes to major labels it has to make business sense to me. Right now you don’t necessarily need a record label to “make it” but on the other hand a label’s “priority promotion” will get you over in a way that being independent can’t. I’ve actually sat down with a few labels but I’m waiting it out.
HipHopLead- Which music scene intrigues you more … U.S. or Canada?
D’NME- The U.S. and I say that because the music scene matters more in the States. Canada has some great musicians but there is no DEF JAM, no Interscope, no Arista etc. Anyone with half a brain can see that the States is where you have to go if you want to be successful in this business. There’s artists from outside the States and Canada that come to the U.S. to have a successful career. That’s why I was so adamant about building my career outside of my initial region.
HipHopLead- Who were your personal influences to get into music?
D’NME- I have a lot. Rap-wise I’d say Eminem, 2Pac, Big L was a huge one. Masta Ace, Sticky FIngaz to name a few. In terms of music I like a lot of different artists and bands. The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson, Al Green. All of these artists influenced my sound in a huge way.
HipHopLead- What do you feel has been the highlight of your career thus far on your journey to being one of Rap’s elite?
D’NME- I’ve had a lot of moments. I think the one that stands out is when my freestyle was played on Sway Calloway’s morning show on Shade 45. DJ WHITEOWL from NYC was the one who actually told me that Sway played it. I didn’t get to hear it because I was recording but regardless that was a pretty huge moment in my career. That was the first time I had anything on radio.
HipHopLead- One of your songs that really stood out to us was “The Stars”. What inspired you to create such a cross over record like that?
D’NME- I wanted to get paid! No in all seriousness when I was still in Toronto I had to severe ties with certain people because they didn’t understand me not being able to hangout with them like I used to. I would start to leave for months and people who used to be around me everyday started seeing me once or twice a year. So that started to create friction between myself and a lot of individuals. Sounds stupid but that’s what happened.
Either way I remember hearing the beat at the studio and coming up with the first lines “And they say I’m burning my bridges/ Yeah b, I disagree which is/ Why my interest in em’s more than just inches/ away it’s unfortunate…” and I began to have “flashbacks” of what I was going through 5 years ago. It finally felt organic to touch on leaving detrimental people behind to achieve more in music and just life period. I had met Kirsten Rea a year prior to writing “The Stars” so I really wanted to have her sing on the hook and add that angelic element to expand the overall song. In the end I was happy that I got all that bullshit off my chest and it really started to catch on with the general public so it was a win win for me.
HipHopLead- In “The Stars” you spit “This is for the dreams you touch/ for all the dreams we clutch/ I will never fail that’s nuts/ we got the power in us/”. We hear that Pac influence in those rhymes. Do you think being that passionate and that real with your listeners will almost black ball you in the era of party music with no substance?
D’NME- Nope. Because I have party records as well. I made “The Stars” because it was from the heart. In no way shape or form was I forced to do that song. It’s the same thing when I make party records I make it if I feel that way. That’s the crazy thing about it… people who black ball me because of “The Stars” will like songs such as “Can’t Nobody Do It My Way” and “Bad Bitch” because my songs are never the same.
HipHopLead- It’s always important to have that dope visual to such a ground breaking song. How important was it for you to make sure the treatment and production of the video for “The Stars” were just right?
D’NME- It was extremely important. The video was shot in Hollywood, that’s how much I cared. I wanted to do it in the “media capital” not to be flashy but because I care that much. I was on the phone with the director for 4 months before we actually went to L.A. You have to understand this was my first real music video. I had no room for errors. Not that I allow errors now, but the first impression is the last impression. So I was very serious about what I was looking for.
HipHopLead- Here’s a hypothetical question. Lets say a major label wants to sign you but one demand would be that you change your image and sound to fit the corporate landscape of the music industry. What would your answer be?
D’NME- I wouldn’t sign. I’m not ignorant but certain labels know how to let the artist be the artist. Evolving is a totally different thing. As I progress of course sound and image changes are vital and inevitable, but in this day and age where the fans are getting exposed to the artist before the actual record companies? I don’t see the logic in altering an artist’s sound or appearance because the public never asks for alterations to an artist. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t you always hear fans saying: “I wish so and so would go back to how they were when they first came out”. They become hip to an artist by what they hear. In the early stages of an artist’s career the public doesn’t even know what the artist looks like. At the end of the day the public, mostly the teens, are a record label’s wet dream, and that’s what I’m gaining. The kids that are gravitating towards me could give a fuck about my appearance. They love the music they’re hearing. I have no problem doing a pop record, I do pop records now, but I won’t only do pop and wear tight jeans to be boxed in.
HipHopLead- What new projects are coming out? Any features worth mentioning?
D’NME- Right now I’m promoting the current mixtape as well as working on the second one. I don’t have a title for it yet because I usually think of titles when everything is complete. In regards to features I’m probably gonna utilize the same artists who contributed to the “Guns & Roses” mixtape. I’m aiming to put out the second mixtape later this year. None of the producers that worked on “Guns & Roses” will be on the new mixtape though, I am aiming for a different sound.
HipHopLead- Hit me with 8 of your favorite bars you ever spit…
Everything I spit is my favourite (laughs)
Motherfuck the darn lottery/ I’m in’a armed robbery/
I’m stickin’ up kids on their foster moms property/
I’m a ass caresser/ go and ask Vanessa/
how I, school em hoes like college class professors/
And I’m responsible for dead teens/
me being stopped is like a fuckin’ nun having wet dreams/
You wouldn’t see me with a blown cover/
that’s cuz my hunger u’ll just have an Ethiopian looking like Bone Crusher/
HipHopLead- Do you think Hip Hop has gotten soft and watered down like many claim or do you think it’s evolving?
D’NME- I think it’s gotten watered down a lot. I think there needs to be more balance. Artists need to take more risks, things are pretty much sounding the same on every record. I hear the same flows, same cadences etc. In regards to the instrumentation, that has evolved drastically. Beats are no longer just a basic loop which is good, but I definitely think lyricism is something that’s lacking right now. Of course not every artist has to be lyrical but artists need to evolve their lyrics a lot more.
HipHopLead- Who does Toronto lean towards for more inspiration … the Nas and Jay z’s , the Snoops and Dre’s or the Bun B’s and Scarfaces?
D’NME- It used to be a lot more East Coast but now it’s probably more southern which to me is stupid as fuck because when you start hearing people in Toronto rap with Southern accents that’s an indication that they don’t have they’re own identity in music. Some people still do pull from the Nas’ and Jay-Z’s, but that’s few and far between.
Here at HipHopLead.com we like to ask our features some questions that really are out of the norm.We do this because it gives the fans a broader outlook on you. So lets get it cracking ….
HipHopLead- What album can you listen too non stop and never get tired of ?
D’NME- Sticky Fingaz – Black Trash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones
HipHopLead- What are your thoughts on the Summer Jam incident that happened with Nicki Minaj and Peter Rosenberg?
D’NME- First off it would be a totally different story if that happened to me because I believe in something called respect. I’d be pulling some skeletons out the closet… just saying! Overall, I understand where Peter Rosenberg was coming from but at the same token there were Nicki Minaj fans in attendance waiting for her to make an appearance. There’s a time and place for everything. Those opinions could have been voiced in a one on one interview. Truthfully, I would have liked to see Peter Rosenberg do that to 50 Cent, but of course he wouldn’t because he knows that being disrespectful would open up room for confrontation. Nicki wont “fuck up” but 50 would definitely take it there.
HipHopLead- Other then music what do you do with your time?
D’NME- Apart from music I spend a lot of time Kick-boxing. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. I actually have an amazing personal trainer. I don’t really like the whole working out thing but I like kick-boxing because it’s physical and I like the psychology behind it.
HipHopLead- Tell us a hidden talent D’NME has?
D’NME- Other than rapping I honestly don’t have any other talents.. Off the head nothing comes to mind. That’s probably why I rap so well. (Laughs)
HipHopLead- In your opinion do you think George Zimmerman is being unfairly accused by the media of being a racist?
D’NME- Well you have to keep in mind that his actions have made a lot of people in the black community uncomfortable. This is most likely why he’s being labeled as a racist. At this point you can’t really argue with the individuals affected by his actions. If a black man did what he did, it would be classified as just another murder. If Trayvon Martin was shot by a black man I’m sure you wouldn’t hear “That black man was being racist against Trayvon”. So I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s a racist. I would say he had horrible judgement.
HipHopLead- As an artist if you were in the same lane as Jay Z one day and a horrible massacre occured like what just happened in Colorado what would you do to help?
D’NME- That’s a hard one. What happened was huge tragedy on a night that was supposed to be exciting and joyful. It’s really hard to say because donating money isn’t going to bring innocent victims back to life. I remember 2Pac saying people who pick up guns and commit murder is the part he hasn’t figured out yet. This situation was sporadic, so it’s really hard to say what I would do personally.
Back To The Norm…….
HipHopLead- Name 1 song you’ve done that will have the HipHopLead.com viewers hooked!?
D’NME- I’d probably say “Out In The Morning”. That song is getting a lot of attention which is funny because I just did it without any serious thought. Sometimes the best songs happen that way. “Out In The Morning” has a “double time” flow, and I think that’s something that’s kinda caught the public’s ear about me. My flow is so synchronized with the beat that it keeps the listener interested and tuned into my every word.
HipHopLead- Thanks for hollering at us and in closing give any shoutouts….links to your sites….F.U.’S or whatevers clever
D’NME- I can tell people to fuck off? Oh shit! (Laughs) I won’t do that yet. First and foremost I want to thank my mom for all the support. She’s the reason I’ve been able to excel in this business. I love my mom for everything she’s sacrificed to help me move forward. I also want to thank my girlfriend for being there and sticking it out with me. Also I want to thank my team at my whole team at 9th Law for the support. I choose to keep them private for their own protection. I have to give a special thank you to Mr.W Mcspirit for standing up for me. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. Last but not least I’d like to thank all of my fans old and new for constantly supporting me. Make sure your check out www.DNMEmusic.com as well as www.youtube.com/9thlawENT