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Going Full Force: Donnie Boy has Found his Lane

(EDITOR'S NOTE — 1120 Press recently sat down for a talk with rapper Donnie Boy. It was a great chat with a young artist whose creativity seems to know no bounds. Read our story below. — Photos by Matt Smith-1120 Press)

Born and raised in Brooklyn, writer, rapper and engineer Donnie Boy made his way to

Buffalo to attend college, majoring in communications with a minor in digital music production at Buff State.


For some hip-hop artists, moving from the city where rap was created to a snowy outpost some 300 miles across state may seem counterintuitive. But not Donnie Boy. In fact, to say he’s made it work to his advantage might even be an understatement.


And at age 25, Donnie Boy already boasts a catalogue that includes nine albums and a host of singles. His prolific output is a testament to his drive. But he also credits Buffalo with his development and growth as an artist.


“The experiences between Brooklyn and Buffalo have been different, especially in meeting people. In Brooklyn, I was guided more. People here, they were telling me get outside and so I did,” he said. “For me, to network it’s not hard to network. But as an artist, I don’t want to come off in a way where someone might say, ‘Oh, he’s a cocky son-of-a-bitch.’ I don’t want to look like that. I want it to be natural and everything that’s happened here has been nothing but natural.


“I feel like even though the community here is smaller, me just being able to have conversations with people and stuff like that — that’s been the best part about it here,” Donnie Boy added. “Just being able to communicate the way that I want to communicate. It’s been easier for me in Buffalo to understand how to maneuver outside of the studio environment, understanding the business of it all and building a brand. There are people here who want to help.”


Some of the ties he’s developed here include relationships with Division Rivals, Sunday Reign and the band’s front man Michael Delano, Wavy, Chango4, Gaine$ and musician Shane Nolan, with whom he formed the duo Proud Munch, which released an album that expanded Donnie Boy’s sound by blending rap with a rock influence. It was a theme, in fact, Donnie Boy carried even further on his follow-up album Faith, which mixes grunge and alternative rock with hip-hop. 


“I don’t even know where I draw from sometimes. I just hear shit, you know?” Donnie Boy said. “The project with Shane, Proud Munch, that album was fire. Wavy has helped me out a lot, too. And being around Michael (Delano) and watching what he does. It’s just a lot of watching and learning.”

Now, Donnie Boy is working on his soon-to-be completed tenth album, this one a Drake-inspired work that will be called ‘Never Was the Same.’


“It’s still a work in progress. There’s two parts to it. I wanted to drop the rap first and the rock second. I’m just trying to piece everything together the best way possible,” he said. “I started working on it late last year, around August/September. The rock is complete. It’s the rap I’m trying to finalize. I like to collaborate with people around me, but at the same time I like to focus on what I’m doing when I’m in the room by myself and get the full essence of what I’m trying to do.”


‘Never Was the Same’ also marks a departure for Donnie Boy in terms of subject matter.


“I’ve been heavily exploring nature on this album. Honestly, I’ve always been fascinated with nature – the way the wind moves and the way the clouds move and stuff like that,” he said. “A lot of my music is very nostalgic and things that have happened in the past. This (album) is one of the first times I’ve worked on something, and it hasn’t been like that. I’m looking to grow as an artist. You know, it’s more than just recording. It’s actually understanding more about who you are as time goes on. Every time I make an album, it’s sort of like a journal, you know? I feel like where I’m at right now, it’s ‘Ok, you have all these influences. Now, put it all in a melting pot and try to stir it together and make something.'”


It’s an approach that Donnie Boy intends to keep applying and perfecting for years to come.


“I am just going to keep working, keep trying to connect with people, bridging the gap between rock and rap. When you find a purpose, or when you find a lane that makes you, you — who you really are — I feel like I’ve finally I found that and now I am just going full force.


“And one thing I wanna say is, I do appreciate this city for having me rock out here. I’m not a homegrown Buffalonian, but for the city to just, you know, believe in me and for the city to be just, like, ‘Do your thing, bro,’ that’s honestly the best thing in the world. I’ve had artists ask me to send them a beat, or to do a verse. I appreciate anybody that’s came to me, worked with me or even looked at me and was like, ‘Yo, let’s chop it up,’ It’s been totally cool.”





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