An Interview with D.King

Last week, I got an email from an artist originally out of Baltimore, D.King, asking me to check his stuff out. The former Jay-Z protege has taken what Hova taught him and has ran with it, racking up looks from Sway and others. As with most SpeedontheBeat.com interviews, I jumped at the opportunity to link with someone doing their own thing in an alternative way. So, without further ado.


UPDATE: At the request of D.King's representatives, the original audio in this post was removed. You may now check out more D.King tracks at this link. Be sure to support local and indie music.
-Speed on the Beat

Speed: Alright, so first off, you don’t “sound” like your “typical” Baltimore artist. Do you get that a lot?

D.King: I do get that a lot, homie. but I think it's that I don't sound like the typical artist, overall. People want to put you in a box creatively because its easier to understand or dismiss you, in my humble opinion.

Speed: To piggyback off that, what does a “typical” Baltimore artist sound like? Or do you think, as an artist from the area yourself, that’s just a bunch of BS and we’ve all got our lanes?

D.King: Baltimore, and the DMV in general, is similar to Chicago in that we got a bunch of influences as a result of never having the consistent media attention of the NYCs, the LAs, the ATLs. We grow up listening to everything from Nas to Gucci Mane, because none of them are from here. Baltimore has artists that sound like vintage-era rap but also alternative or EDM, new-age types also.

Speed: What separates you from a lot of artists out there?

D.King: What separates me from other artists--especially "urban" artists--is that while other people have a sound or lane like a Sade (no diss, I love her), I have a standard like an Outkast or--fuck it, a Michael Jackson (laughs). I never want you to have a favorite song.

Speed: If you had to describe your style in three words, what would they be?

D.King: Passionate, formless, unstoppable.

Speed: Where did the “Don and the King” (D.King) moniker come from?

D.King: Street Don, Rap King.

Speed: Why the switch from just “DK?” Was it because of other artists in the area having similar names, such as Danity Kane, SpeedontheBeat.com alum DK aka Wayne Watts and producer D.K. the Punisher?

D.King: Something like that...I started as Da Kid and Ty-Ty from Roc Nation told me I should go by DK for short. DK always had multiple meanings to me like "Don and the King," "Dark Knight," and so on But then, the whole Danity Kane thing blew up, so just ran with Don and the King, D.King for short. Also, my family in Ghana are royal and my great uncle was Prime Minister. So back home, I'm a King anyway, literally. Google Kofi Busia and his daughter Akosua Busia (actress and songwriter best known for her performance as Nettie from The Color Purple's film adaptation). That's my lineage.

Speed: What’s easier: working with Jay and his people or doing it on your own?

D.King: Easier being on my own, actually. Jay, Ty-Ty, and B-High showed me how to do this, son!

Speed: (laughs) I see what you did there. So, who are some of the artists you’ve had collabos with and who are some you wish to collab with?

D.King: I've worked with a good number of artist in a ghostwriting capacity. But on my own stuff? I've worked with Snoop Dogg, Pusha T, Trina, Los, Good Charlotte, Shakespeare, 360, and lots of B'more artists.

Speed: On that note, how’d the track with Pusha come about?

D.King: Pusha is a DMV legend and we're cut from similar fabric. So, we linked thorugh mutual friends.

Speed: Now, I know the song's gotta be a secret for now. But, are you happy with what you’ve been able to accomplish over the years you’ve been doing this “music thing?”

D.King: Yeah, I'm very blessed. I have both youth and wisdom--a combination which is rare for new artists.

Speed: When it comes to interviews, was the Sway interview more or less challenging to maneuver than, say, a regional DJ/event?

D.King: Sway was better because--and no knock to anyone locally--but I don't know many mainstream media people who love the culture as much as Sway. I've been practicing with a brush in the mirror doing Sway freestyles since elementary school.

Speed: Where do you see the D.King brand going?

D.King: D.King represents a King in us all. I know my brand can inspire people to never stop dreaming and chasing. I have the passion to entertain--whether through acting, music, or just smokin' with you--and that's what I'm all about: positive energy. I learned that from Snoop.

Speed: When is the Boy Meets World project dropping? And, for those that are unaware, can you let people know a bit more about it?

D.King: A Boy Meets World is about my journey from a boy to a man. It's about confusion, pain, and triumph. I got songs with verses from when I was in high school...and I have verses that I wrote last week. It's more hip-hop spirit than just "rappity rap bars." So, I'm doing a lot of expressing--even if it takes singing.

I'm the best rapper period. But, sometimes, my journey and struggle evokes melodies more than bars. I want the dumbest person in the room to like my smart-ass music (laughs). So, I make sure it sounds good, not just complex. I want you to like it, even if you don't catch all of it yet. I'm a one-man OutKast or Kanye with a scale in his backpack, ya dig?! I want it to be as catchy as Flo Rida, but as grounded and intelligent as Nas. It's raw, it's street. But, it's also unapologetically catchy. I feel like I'm the bridge between style and substance.

Speed: Where can readers and future listeners reach out to you to find new music or to contact you?

D.King: Youtube.com/dkingtv or at @dking730. Producers, family/fans, artists--let's connect and change the way people look at the world.

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