When you hear people speak of Donny Goines (not to be mistaken with the late Detroit native and proven author, Donald Goines) there are a plethora of words that are almost always aligned with this emcee: hardworking, perseverance, relentless, New Yorker.
Like most emcees he has had his shares of up and downs, but unlike most he has faced the many rigors of the Navy. When I first listened to Donny's music, I took interest because I thought this rapper, who later proved to be an emcee, must have had balls to adopt such a name; however over time, it became progressively apparent that he was deserving of such a moniker. I have always wanted to meet Donny off the strength of singles like The Renaissance, but when I heard his first single I am Moving, from his debut, Minute after Midnight it reaffirmed his resourcefulness.
It's hard to believe that most have not heard of Donny Goines since his motto is, "If You Don't Know My Name I'm Not Working Hard Enough"; fortunately, his music clearly proves otherwise.
ER: Kindly introduce yourself to the public?
DG: My name is Donny Goines; I'm an unsigned artist coming out of NYC...working hard to make good music.
ER: Ok I am going to get into some personal stuff right now. You can choose not to answer...
DG: You can ask anything you want.
ER: What was it like growing up; I heard your father was incarcerated...
DG: Still is
ER: And your mother was on drugs.
DG: She's okay, she's getting better
ER: I can imagine it was a bit of a struggle growing up...
DG: We can write books on that (laughs)... you know essentially I had the same struggles that any urban child had in this community. A lot of drug abuse, broken home situations, things of that nature. Basically my father got locked up when I was 2 years old, and my mother was taking care of us until she got locked up for whatever was going on with her...we went to live with our grandmother. My grandmother raised me from age eight to thirteen maybe, then we went back when she [mother] changed her act up-
ER: How many siblings do you have?
DG: Two younger brothers- Like basically like I was saying like any urban kid in the neighborhood I was getting into a lot of trouble, weed, alcohol, the crime, youknowhatIamsayin? I did a lot of things, I won't say l regret, but rather I did a lot of things that taught me valuable lessons, hard lessons that made me stronger -It is what it is.
ER: What made you turn to rap, better yet hip hop, because you don't rap I think you're a hip hop artist. And there's a difference....
DG: I agree.
ER: When did you get your first taste, what put you onto rap?
DG: It was probably Biggie when he dropped Juicy. When he dropped that I thought to myself, "yea this is dope". I saw somebody like myself who had the opportunity to reach TV and the magazines. I used to see people freestyle on the block a lot and this also peaked my interested in the game. This was when I was Seventeen, around the same time I wrote my first raps, but I didn't take it seriously. So what happened was long story short eight years after that I was in Westchester, NY essentially working in this shop, chillin'...when I saw this movie Fade to Black with Jay Z
DG: Yea I'm telling you. And when I seen it, it was like something awoke me like an epiphany and I just felt like this is something I know I can do. If this man can do it, I know I can take it where it needs to be taken. And that was it; I've been going hard ever since.
ER: Now I read that you were in the military. Do you feel that made you a better man in essence made you all you can be...
DG: There are so many sayings..."Be all that you can be"
ER: Yea (laughs)
DG: I mean the military it was a both a negative and a positive. Essentially it taught me things that I probably would have never learnt in the streets. It taught me discipline, strong work ethic, it taught me about cultures and different diversities. That was the good part of it the bad came with conformity and the things I didn't agree with, like the war with Iraq, I didn't agree with that. I felt it wasn't for me, after a while I served my time, I decided I had to leave.
ER: You served in Iraq?
DG: Nah I didn't serve in Iraq, but I was definitely in the military. They were shipping like everybody out, I mean everybody. I was working in the hospital, and they were shipping people from there out to war. And I was just like this is insane, you know. So I said to myself, "I can't do this, I have to get out of here".
DG: Now I'm here talking to you. I am not trying to knock the military, but it just wasn't for me.
ER: I feel you, now why Donny Goines? By the way Donald Goines is one of my favorite writers, hence Eldorado Red.
DG: Well essentially my name legally is Donny. Spelling and all, "D-O-N- N- Y". I'm not a gangster, I'm not a killer, I'm not flipping keys, I am not whatever. I wanted to incorporate my real name into my stage name. My man suggested it [Donny Goines] to me one day... I sat on it for a couple of days, and I thought and it really fit me well.
ER: Minute after Midnight... When is that due and why that title? What is with the minute after midnight, I mean I know about that 12 O' clock rush...
DG: Exactly...One day, again just like everything else great ideas come to me when I'm lost. Essentially I looked at it and thought about the Cinderella story, as crazy as that may sound.
DG: I know it sounds crazy. But if you really listen to the story there's a certain part that I really focus on.
ER: What do you mean the story?
DG: The story itself of Cinderella...the original story but the story has a parallel to rap. Essentially the reason I thought of it was because they had the pumpkin which turns into a carriage which parallel to the cars, they had ball which parallel's the clubs, the gowns is like the jewelry the clothing; but what happens after midnight? All that fantasy just disappears, and that's what I'm trying to represent in this album, no fantasy-none. "Everything I'm spitting is real." As far as the release I'm not sure as to when, but it will definitely be out this year.
ER: I am really feeling your first single, I am Moving, however I must admit it was necessarily a track I expected from you; who's on the hook?
DG: I honestly don't know; Grease took care all of that
ER: Is Dame handling all of the production on the album?
DG: No he's not; he's the executive producer so he's handling the bulk of it. He's also helping me to construct it [Minute after Midnight], helping me get certain things that I may not be able to obtain, like certain guest features and things of that nature
ER: You music is really heartfelt. I wouldn't call you a student of hip hop but rather a child of hip hop. This very suggestive on tracks like The Renaissance and Do It for Hip Hop...
DG: Essentially those tracks The Renaissance and Do it for Hip Hop come off as concept songs. So every track has to do with hip hop and how it relates to me from start to finish ...but you see I'm not trying to live in the past. I'm just taking what I already know, what's already instilled in me and making it work within my own music. And the truth of the matter is I don't really do this for the glamour. I don't do this for the women I don't do it for the money. I don't' do it for none of that, because at the end of the day those are all material things. I mean if I get rich in the process than great I mean thank god, I'd be very happy But if I can make a living doing what I do which is hip hop would be very happy and that's the reason behind records like those... "Do it for hip hop not the fortune or fame/ doesn't matter where I go people call it the same/ from my hood to your hood block to your block ghetto to ghetto..." I think a lot of people don't take it [hip hop] seriously and it really hurts the culture as a whole. You look at a lot of artists- Now a lot of people rag on Soulja boy...
ER: There might be some validity to that...
DG: I say this... He's a child. He's a child so you can't really fault a child for saying something that he sees and emulates. When you have grown men especially who already established in the hip hop community doing all this crazy shit then I got a problem with. If you know about the culture and you know what is, then stick to your guns man now that's what happened in New York and that's how they messed up. Everybody in New York trying to go down south but you got to understand that New York is New York, the South is the South the Bay is the Bay-stay in your lane, that's the problem people want to copy everybody, they want to do whatever is selling...
ER: Make a quick buck...
DG: Exactly! Their motives are centered around money, if they motives were different, a lot of them would be rapping like myself or like others out there the Skyzoos, the Toraes, the Stimulis the Mickey Factzs I fucks with y'all. And that's what it is, and they're all bringing music and it's and its all hip hop but they're doing it in their own way and that is what makes it great. You know when you heard Nas coming up that was Nas you didn't think it was anybody else, and that's what people need to realize be yourself stop trying to follow everybody else cause it's corny and you're not going to last either.
DONNY GOINES – DO IT FOR HIP HOP
DONNY GOINES – PLAY IT OUT IN THE RAIN