DPone Exclusive Interview
â€œStay committed to your craft. Never give up on what you love and never give in to negativity.â€?
Mistah Wilson: Yo, DPone, what’s good, fam! Glad to have you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock! What’s new? DPone: Shout out to ThaWilsonBlock family for supporting me throughout the years. I’m honored for this opportunity and thank you for having me. In 2010 I moved to Austin, Texas because I received a big opportunity to showcase my music in another region to expose my family to a more family oriented environment that the city of Austin provides. I had great experiences, learned a grip about the music business, performed in many states, and met a lot of talented people. The experience has humbled me and gave me a mature perspective on managing my brand in the music industry and release nothing but dope projects. It’s time to work! Mistah Wilson: How was life growing up in Pasadena for you? DPone: Growing up in Pasadena was a challenge. During my childhood, we lived near Villa & Cypress and then we moved to a small apartment on Los Robles, across from the 99cent store. The neighborhood was rough and I hung hang out at the Mini Mart on Fair Oaks, Jackie Robinson Park, Boys and Girls Club, and many other spots. Naturally, my parents didn’t want me hanging out in the Pasadena streets, but nobody could tell me anything back then. Lol I was in the streets, getting into a grip of sh*t. When my parents divorced, we came on financial hardships, and I was homeless. I lost a lot of homies during gang wars and put in major work to survive hard times. Honestly, I’m a nomad. When I was homeless, I lived everywhere. I’ve lived in Monrovia, Covina, Glendora, and El Monte. The entire 626 is where I call home.
Mistah Wilson: What was it that led you to become a rapper? DPone: Back in the day, I was supporting my friend’s dream of being a rapper. I bought studio equipment and played around with rapping. I would get on a couple tracks with my friend, who had been doing it for years. People kept saying they liked my flow, my delivery, and always told me to keep it up. I didn’t think much of it because I only had 2 solo songs out of 16 songs that people heard. In 2006 I took my skills seriously, went solo, and I’ve been perfecting my craft ever since. Mistah Wilson: We heard of you years ago on Pasadena’s music scene with tha release of D’OG Chronicles volume 1. What you got crackin these days? DPone: The D’og Chronicles Vol 1 hosted by DJ Ill Will was a blessing. Simple fact, Ill Will doesn’t work with just anybody. So for him to cosign The D’og Chronicles put me on the west coast radar and had me on multiple top websites. Currently, I’m working on my new mixtape, “Big Body Musik (Barz & Hookz)”. It consists of my signature bars filled with inspiring lyricism and strong delivery. I will be releasing this project this summer. Get ready!
Mistah Wilson: So we hear that you signed with Suavehouse Records a few years back. How was your transition from an independent artist to being signed to a label? DPone: I ended up getting a distribution deal but the label went under due to things I can’t really discuss. Now I’m an unsigned independent artist, which gives me complete control of the direction I feel is best for my career. It’s definitely challenging and cutthroat, but the grind and ability to fully exercise my talent is rewarding.
Mistah Wilson: Let’s talk about some of your current and upcoming work. What’s your most current work and what do you have coming up on tha calendar? DPone: Now that I’ve fulfilled my contractual obligations in Austin, TX, moved back to Cali to further my career, and successfully dropped “The MAKEover” album on iTunes and Amazon, I’m looking forward to releasing my current project, “Big Body Musik” (Barz & Hookz)” mixtape this summer. This mixtape will set the tone for me as a veteran underground emcee and fans will notice my growth as a man and a music artist. Mistah Wilson: Are you rockin’ any shows right now? DPone: I’ll be performing this month on June 11th at the Blacklight District Lounge and on June 13th at the Kibitz Room. I’m also finalizing some deals with a couple of clubs in the metro LA area and will announce those performances on my website and social media. So stay tuned. Mistah Wilson: Who are some artists you’ve worked with? DPone: I’ve had the pleasure to work with Swizz Beatz, Juice, Compton Menace, Ty Nitty, Redrum, XL Middleton, Da Block, Big Doty, Epik Da Dawn, and Sun. My plan is to maintain those business relationships and work with them on future projects.
Mistah Wilson: Tell me some artists you’d like to work with… DPone: Amongst others, I would love to work with Ice Cube, Nas, The Lox, Bruno Mars, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Fabolous, JayZ, E-40, and Daz & Kurupt. In all honesty, if the song makes good business sense or has a practical message, I’ll work with anyone.
Mistah Wilson: From your point of view, what’s your take on tha current state of tha music business both mainstream and local? DPone: The current state of mainstream Hip-Hop has changed. The image no longer consists of baggy clothes or hot lyrics. Even TLC wore baggy pants back in the day. Now I just call it the music industry. To me, the majority of mainstream being played on the radio is not Hip-Hop. It’s turn up or Hip-Pop music more than anything. The music doesn’t represent Hip-Hop culture and doesn’t require any skill. It’s your basic supply and demand concept. If you have the right producer, anybody can get coached and put out a club hit. Getting a major label deal no longer requires appreciation for Hip-Hop or the skill to artistically spit bars and metaphors. It’s about having a hot beat and a dance to go with it. No diss to Bobby Shmurda or any of these new artists who like to dance and rap. I mean, Uncle Luke, 2 Live Crew, and the like started that line of music and they had it slappin’, but now it’s baseline tracks with artists rapping like Lil Wayne and Tyga. There’s nothing wrong with those artists I mentioned, it’s just a real emcee doesn’t sound like everyone else and that’s all I’m hearing nowadays. Same beats, same set ups with their flow, and rapping like they’re from the south. That’s the demand and it’s being supplied. So it is what it is. The underground scene hasn’t changed too much over the years. The only difference is the ages in generations but it’s all one love. It’s still filled with hungry emcees and singers who are highly talented and have an incredible passion for the Hip-Hop culture and the musical expression movement. I love the underground because it still supports anti-commercial lyrics and for artists to deliver their socially cognizant viewpoints through music.
Mistah Wilson: What have been some challenges you’ve faced when pursuing a career in music? DPone: When you’re up, you’re up. Everyone wants to be your friend and attend all your video shoots and shows. When you’re down, you’re down. People disappear and ride the next artist’s coattails. Dealing with loyalty from those around you can be difficult. I’ve learned a lot about who you keep close and the humility it takes to stand strong when faced with others disloyalty and indiscretions. Mistah Wilson: What are some of tha rewarding things? DPone: Meeting so many different people from all walks of life. Seeing the appreciative reaction of fans during and after my performances. Most importantly, being able to support and provide for my family.
Mistah Wilson: Where do you get inspiration from when writing new songs? DPone: I’m inspired by whatever mood I’m in at the time of writing a song, random thoughts, current events, any situations me and my family go through, and the entertainment I get out of being hated on. Mistah Wilson: Who are some of your musical influences? DPone: I have a few musical influences, but there are a few that are always on my playlist. Such as: Rakim because of his pure lyricist skill and the ability to rhyme to any beat and genre of music. Ice Cube because he’s a gangsta rap pioneer. He speaks on a wide range of issues from hood politics to our nation’s politics. Nas because he’s a master at storytelling and truly represents Hip-Hop. Dr. Dre because of his work ethic, production, and his business savviness. Frankie Beverly and Maze because of their smooth soul sound and they’re more of a calming influence. Mary J. Blige because she came from the streets and battled through all adversity to keep it soulful and helped pioneer Hip-Hop crossover songs. MC Lyte because of her voice command, delivery, and educational lyrics. Straight bars!
Mistah Wilson: Pasadena has such a vibrant and diverse music scene. Not from a competitive standpoint, but who would be in your top5 DENA artists (and not just rappers)? DPone: Pasadena has given birth to so many talented artists and has become a competitive scene. It’s hard to have a top 5, but Dena is on a major rise. Mistah Wilson: What do you plan to accomplish through your music? DPone: My plan is to inspire those who come from the bottom and on the road to greatness. I want everyone, regardless of age and demographic, to relate to my music. Something for everyone to enjoy. Mistah Wilson: How important is giving back to your community to you? DPone: Giving back to the community is necessary. Not only do I get to connect with people through my music, but I get to connect with people when they tell me how a particular song of mine speaks to them. I am an avid supporter of parks, recreation, and after school studies for children. It’s important that I donate sports equipment and studying resources for children to ensure they are given educational and extracurricular activity opportunities in less fortunate areas. Mistah Wilson: What positive, inspiring words do you have for tha next generation of aspiring artists? DPone: Stay committed to your craft. Never give up on what you love and never give in to negativity.
Mistah Wilson: Where can we find your music online? DPone: You can find my music on my website at www.itsdpone.com. From there, you will have immediate access to all my social media outlets, YouTube channel, DatPiff.com, Soundcloud, ReverbNation, music links, etc. Mistah Wilson: Yo, DPone, thanks for coming through for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock. It’s been awesome. If you have any shout outs, drop em… DPone: I want to give a big shout out to my family, all my fans and supporters, the entire West Coast movement, and my TeFLoN WesT Entertainment family. Shout out to Pasadena and the entire 626, the place I call home. ♦♦♦