Don Mykel is a transcending rap artist who caught my attention earlier this year while I was browsing the net. His unique flow, signature sound, and ability to convey his own personal story through his music makes him stand out among his peers. Recently, I was privileged enough to sit down and ask him some questions.
Ryan: Thanks for taking the time to chat. So how old are you and where are you from?
Don Mykel: I’m 20 years old and originally from the Bronx, NY. I moved to Harlem at about 8 years old where both my parents and grandparents were from and were I spent most of my summers.
Ryan: When did you start making music? And what made you gravitate towards hip hop?
Don Mykel: I grew up in hip hop. My father was heavily into hip hop my whole life, as well my aunts and uncles. I can remember the first crib I ever lived in had a home studio right in the middle of the apartment.
Ryan: How would you describe your sound to people who have yet to hear Don Mykel?
Don Mykel: I would say that my sound is 2015 vintage hip hop. I draw a lot influence from the essence of hip hop and rap; being born within it. But I’m also a product of my generation.
Ryan: It’s no secret that Harlem has deep roots in the history of Hip-hop. What advantages and disadvantages do you think Harlem rappers face (as opposed to rappers from other cities)?
Don Mykel: I don’t think Harlem rappers face any particular disadvantages. The only disadvantage of being a Harlem based artist is the same in all hoods. Being one of many trying to complete the same goal, trying to make it out. Ain’t much love shown in a bucket full of crabs all tryna make it out.
Ryan: Over the past few years, A$AP Rocky and the ASAP Mob have “put Harlem back on the map” so-to-speak. Your music seems to embody more of a “Harlem-feel” than that of the ASAP Mob. Given the difference in styles, what you think a Don Mykel x A$AP Rocky song might sound like?
Don Mykel: I think a Rocky collab would be dope. Our sounds could mesh easily, with us being raised in the same areas. And with us both having our own unique styles, yet still relatable to one another, we’d make some heat.
Ryan: Absolutely. An ASAP collaboration might not be that far off! You have gained a lot of notoriety over the past year. Some would even argue that you are “bringing New York back”. How do you feel about that statement?
Don Mykel: Being from New York is a testament to my connection with the culture. Imma always rep home wherever I go. Its embedded in my character. But to be honest I got my eyes set on the globe not just New York. I wanna help bring real music back. To give the world something my younger siblings could be able to relate to, enjoy and feel good about.
Ryan: With so many to choose from, who is your favorite Harlem rapper of all time?
Don Mykel: Pac.
Ryan: Touché. Who are your biggest influences? Both: musically and in your regular life.
Don Mykel: My biggest influences musically and in my general life are my family and my team. Then there’s the Lupe’s, Hov’s, etc. that have always inspired me.
Ryan: If you could work with any artist today, who would it be and why?
Don Mykel: SZA. Something about the emotion in her voice reminds me of the music my moms would play on Sunday mornings as a kid. I feel like that soulful element she brings could complement my soulful style and vice versa.
Ryan: That would be a crazy collab. You showcase some serious lyrical ability on your most recent track, ‘The Essence’. What was the inspiration behind the song?
Don Mykel: Shit, the inspiration for that song was being broke on a summer day in my room, plotting on my come up and reflecting on this college life I juss left behind. Lol. When Chris Prythm first sent me that beat I knew had some pain on my chest for that. I honestly didn’t expect it to come out the way it did but i ain’t complaining. Lol.
Ryan: What can we expect from your upcoming project, The Rebirth EP. Any noteworthy features? Producers?
Don Mykel: There aren’t many features on this project. Just a few additional vocalist. Production wise I kept pretty much in house. I do have Trak Formaz on one of those so be on the lookout for that heat.
Ryan: Other than your new project, The Rebirth (EP), what can we expect from Don Mykel in the near future? New videos? Collaborations? Tours, etc?
Don Mykel: Definitely some new visuals and new collabs and performances on the way. I’ll be performing at A3C this year, October 9th and more to be announced.