Toronto’s Devontée talks new album, Head Gone
After dropping a series of releases this year, including his track “Real Rudebwoy” featuring Kardinal Offishall, Devontée is back with his new album, Head Gone. The rapper, producer, and writer celebrated the album with an invite-only listening party at the Jordan store in Toronto which drew the likes of Joey Badass and some notable names from the city’s hip-hop community.
We caught up with Devontée to talk about his album, the meaning behind his album title Head Gone, and what his artistic goal was with the project. We also learned that Head Gone came to life in a number of different places, including Ayesha and Stephen Curry’s pool house (Ayesha is Devontée’s cousin), Kevin Durant’s home in Oakland (where the whole album was mixed and mastered), and at SOTA (OVO 40’s studio in Toronto).
Q&A: Devontée / Head Gone
HipHopCanada: What’s the meaning behind Head Gone?
Devontée: The term Head Gone stems from my Jamaican/Toronto culture. I feel right now in the world a lot of people feel like things have changed and no one feels the same as before. Some people don’t know how to adjust and it’s causing some people anger, fear, anxiety, depression etc. These are things that I feel everyone goes through at some point so to put all that in short, I’d call it Head Gone.
HipHopCanada: Is there an overarching story or theme for the album that you want fans to take away?
Devontée: Overall, I want people to get to know me a little more – a balance of my thoughts and experiences on my journey through life – whether it be instances with my career, family/friends, or just life in general. [It’s a story of] the process of making it through each day with new challenges of my joyful and dark times.
HipHopCanada: Who/what were your creative inspirations for the tracks?
Devontée: My father played a lot of reggae/dancehall (Bounty Killa, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Bob Marley etc.) growing up so that has a lot to do with this sound mixed with my upbringing in Toronto, with its blended culture and lots of bass! All of the greats like Drake, Kanye, Biggie Smalls, but mostly my inner spirit [are also inspirations] as well as just traveling all over North America and Europe and learning new feels and sounds along the way.
HipHopCanada: Do any of the tracks stand out to personally?
Devontée: Honestly, all the tracks stand out to me, I feel they all could stand by themselves but together it’s a indestructible force. Haunted [is a track] I love because of the energy, “Poison,” because of its freshness. It was a challenge to rap over “50 Caliber,” showing off my culture and ability to make a real vibe. [I call out] “Overthinking” because of the trance it puts you in. Honestly, I can go on for a long time about every song on Head Gone.
HipHopCanada: Any notable moments, milestones, or behind-the-scenes facts about this album?
Devontée: There were lots of huge things that happened to create this album. The first song I recorded was “Wild West” in quad studios in New York, I recorded “Haunted” and “Overthinking<” in my cousins’ Ayesha and Stephen Curry’s pool house. I recorded “Bless” with Kevin Durant at his house in Oakland and ended up mixing and mastering the whole album there. I recorded and produced “Growing Crazy” and “Real Rudebwoy” the same weekend at SOTA which is OVO 40’s studio in Toronto, so it was an amazing journey.
HipHopCanada: Who’s the album for?
Devontée: The perfect audience is anyone that loves quality rap, hip-hop, R&B, reggae and that loves to vibe to the real. Anyone that has a soul or needs to repair theirs. Anyone that challenges themselves to be better and all those Working On Excellence. Also, anyone that loves bangers!
HipHopCanada: Anyone you want to call out who helped bring this album to life?
Devontée: There’s so many to thank, first God! I need to thank Raleigh for mixing and mastering this and bringing my sounds to the perfect balance. Kardinal Offishall, CJ Fly, Eyez, Ravaillac, Daxz, Midknight, Maad, and Sleighn for contributing to the music, and everyone that allowed me into their studios, homes, work-spaces to make this possible! Everyone that spread the word and helped me with even the littlest things I appreciate, and the City of Toronto and the whole GTA.
You can follow @Devontee_WOE on Instagram.
Written by Maricel Joy Dicion for HipHopCanada