Toronto’s Very Own Enemy: D’NME Exclusive Q&A

D'NME Rude Boy Article Feature

Photo by Brian Da Silva

Check out the interview with D’NME exclusively on Rude Boy Lifestyle Magazine.

 

RBL: What is the meaning of your name? How did you get it and what is the significance?
D’NME: When my career in rap started I wasn’t well-received by a lot of my peers. I felt as if I was being overlooked which was confusing to me. I wasn’t just rapping because it was something to do, I was taking my craft seriously from day one. Back then, I always felt like I was better than a lot of the praised rappers in my area. At that point, my attitude completely switched and I thought “Fuck it, I’m going to call myself D’NME (pronounced Dee-enemy).”

The spelling of my name comes from a song called “D’Evils” on Jay Z’s album “Reasonable Doubt.” The overall theme of the song is emotionless and dark, but the unapologetic tone of his lyrics connected with me the most. I’m the same way in my own right, so “D’NME,” as a moniker, was and still is a perfect fit for me. As of right now, I would say that my name represents being different from every artist that’s currently out there …

Can you tell us about the music scene in your area? How is it like? How are the other artists?
To be honest, I have never been a fan of Toronto’s Hip Hop scene. People always have a problem with me saying that, but I couldn’t care less. Even though I have personally heard rappers from Toronto say the exact same thing, for some reason when I say it people have a problem with me … Here’s the cold hard truth, Toronto doesn’t have the same outlets that America does …

I think a lot of Hip Hop artists from Toronto have aspirations to blow up nationwide, but they channel their energy in the wrong places. I have seen rappers from Toronto base the whole roll out of their mixtape off a freestyle that they did on someone else’s beat … If you want to prove that you can do better than an artist on their own beat that’s fine, but don’t promote that the same way you would an original single. Invest in your own production and make your music effective enough to compete with what’s out.

How did your friends and family first think about your career?
At first my family wasn’t crazy about my aspirations to become a rapper. A few friends supported me, but overall I always had to run on my own energy in the beginning stages of my career. I think that not having everyone believe in me was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It conditioned me to accept rejection and it forced me to be self-reliant. It’s great to have support, but at the end of the day all you need is yourself and you’ll attract like-minded people along the way. If you’re the type of person to wait on someone to come and give you a shot then you’ll always have issues moving forward.

What are some of your favorite brands out right now?
I definitely respect and appreciate what Rude Boy Clothing represents. I think you guys [Rude Boy] have your own movement going on. Another brand that I really have admiration for is Malishus Clothing. They’re based out of Australia and they have a lot of involvement within the MMA world. Starforce Hip Hop is definitely one of my favorites as well because of how influential and global they’re becoming.

Who are your top five favorite musicians right now?
When it comes to music I always put myself as number one. This may be a bit biased, but King Klutch is definitely on my list. I’m a huge fan of Sonja Blade. She is an amazing talent from Brooklyn, New York. There’s a band out of Toronto that I really like called The Red Cicadas. I was recording in the same studio as them over the summer so I was able to hear a few records from their debut EP and I’ve been a fan ever since. Last but not least, I’m a huge fan of Adam Duncan. He’s an amazing talent and I had the pleasure of working with him this past month.

What keeps you going in this tough music economy? How has it changed you overall?
I’ve always been the type of person to adapt to anything that happens in the music industry. With the industry now moving into the whole world of streaming, I think it’s one of those things where, as an artist, you have to really be conscious of the changes that are taking place, and handle them accordingly. I don’t think about how “hard” the music business is, I always try to have the most positive outlook about it and move forward. Because I don’t focus on the negatives, I’m able to keep going. No one’s in control of how things occur in the overall music industry so, with that being said, I don’t put energy into the way things happen, I just find a way to work around it.

What are some of your focuses outside of music? Do you have family or other businesses around?
Outside of music I have a few businesses that I’ve invested in. It was always important for me to have various things on the side so I can continue doing music on my own terms and not have to rely on an investor or a label. There’s a lot of things I’m looking to invest in such as real estate, small businesses, etc. it just has to be the right situation. That’s how you create wealth.

What separates you from the next artist in the business?
Apart from my seriousness for the craft, I’d say that my mind is conditioned differently. I took the time to study so I could build a career to stand the test of time … This isn’t to diss anyone, but how many artists come out nowadays that you truly believe will be here in 10 years? …They sign a record deal, relinquish their masters, and then the label recoups their money one way or another …

On top of it all, the general consumer’s attention span is extremely short. The format of a disposable single works because people don’t live with music as long as they used to. On the other hand, if you take the time to build a following and establish yourself as a solid artist, there will always be a place for you in the music industry.

What advice can you give to the other small artists that are just starting out?
I would definitely tell any artist starting out to focus on making their music as solid as possible because at the end of the day the initial music is what will be defining you as an artist. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of the music business … Once your craft is polished, get out there and perform because that confidence will be there when you know your music is right … Be conscious of the fact that being successful in the music industry takes time. It will never happen overnight.

Are there thoughts of signing to a major label or distributor yet?
I have absolutely no desire to sign with a label. Mainly because being on a label is no different than working for someone. I feel that artists should be allowed to be artists. When you sign with a label you’re asking to be handled within the parameters of how they do business, which means their main concern is selling music. That will never give you the freedom to be an artist. [For instance] I just released a song called “Uncontrollable Motherfuckers.” There’s no way in hell a label would have given the green light on a title like that, but no one’s in control of me. I like being able to release music how I want …

What do you think the future of music industry will look like?
I think more artists will be self-reliant and hands on with their careers because signed artists won’t be able to keep the consumer’s attention with one song, their label will market them like walking billboards. It takes longer for a record to dominate radio, so record companies will have to do more product placement to recoup their initial investment. I still feel like artists will sign to labels, but overall independent artists will have even more success than they do now.

Where can we find you and connect with you? Can you tell us your social media links etc?
People can connect with me on Instagram at @DNMEOfficial, on Twitter at @_DNME, and my website is www.DNMEmusic.com.

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