Meet the newest artist covered by DOPECAUSEWESAID, Don Neil. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Don Neil has a fresh new sound that is perfect for every mood. Whether you’re pumping weight at the gym, hitting the clubs, or slowing down with someone special, Don Neil has something perfect for what you’re seeking.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I got in touch with Don Neil and we had a heart to heart about what matters most to him, how he develops his music, and what he’s building towards. Get to know some of Baltimore’s best up and coming talent.
How long have you been producing your music? How long has this been a passion of yours?
Well, I don't produce my own music beat wise/engineering. I'm more of a writer. I'd have to say this has been my passion since about 12 years of age. It started young because my uncle is a rapper, 100GrandMan, and I seen the nice chains and money and clothes he had. I wanted that. I started taking music my junior year in high school to my senior year. I knew it was real November of 2015 when my old team and I took a trip to Cayman Islands to perform. At that moment I wasn't just some kid saying “listen to my songs please." It was real.
I’m merely a journalist, not a producer- but listening to your music, I imagine DOPE was particularly interested in you and your music not only because of your smooth and well produced sound, but because of your lyricism. You write and produce everything largely on your own?
I have to put this in bold: I WRITE EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING. Now, beats and mixing- I do have people for that, that I find through various medias. I'd produce for myself but I'm picky, that weird kind of picky where I don't know what I want until I’ve found what I want.
You’re currently in Baltimore. Is that where you got your start in this business? Are you content to stay there a little while, or are you itching to get on a tour schedule or move to a different city?
Yeah, I am born and raised Baltimore. This is where I started and where I would like to take off but I know I don't make what typical "Baltimore rappers" make and that hurts me, but at the same time I learned there's nothing wrong with taking the path less traveled by. Of course I'm ready to go perform some stuff live and do what I’ve worked for, but It's not the time yet. Much more work to do.
I’ve had a tough time nailing down a “sound” that is easy to compare you to. At times, your work sounds comparable to The Weeknd; other times, more like Drake; sometimes I get more of a Kendrick Lamar vibe. Who do you consider to be your inspirations? Who do you listen to when you’re struggling to come up with new beats or thoughtful rhymes?
My inspirations in order would be Kid Cudi, J.Cole, Chance The rapper, Travis Scott, Pharrell, Drake, Kendrick, Vic Mensa, D Pryde, my friend Juice Bruns (he been putting in work and been believing in me for a while now) and of course my uncle 100GrandMan. Honestly when I'm struggling to come up with new stuff, I just don't listen to anything for a week and go do other activities.
What do you have in the mix? What’s coming up next? Are you trying to focus on producing, or are you thinking more about your career and strategic moves to keep your fan base happy and growing?
Up next there's an EP on the way, but I’ll be dropping another song before that. I'm more on the career and making moves to get more people to listen because I refuse to make something people don't listen to. I hope this doesn't make me sound like I have an ego, but what's the point of pouring your heart out if no one can hear you?
We’re overjoyed to have Don Neil with the Dope Digital label. Stay tuned for his upcoming EP "Dear Me" which will drop in the next couple of months!