Toronto artist DNTE talks new album Grandizer, next projects, Wyze Wonda, COVID-19 & more
We first introduced our viewers to producer/emcee DNTE back in 2017 as a member of the Toronto-based rap group, FalconCrest.
We had shared the “Nightmare on Zip Street” video off their Born in Toronto Raised in Hell, and have been keeping tabs on the duo ever since. And while FalconCrest has added a ton of new releases to their discography since then—including work with Camouflage Monk, Giallo Point, Daniel Son and other recognizable names—DNTE has also branched out to focus on his career as a solo artist.
He started with Crystal Pianos back in June 2019, which was intended as a perfect mesh of the raw and elegance that he’s really come to be known for.
“I was raised a five percenter but I’ve done my time in the street and I’ve gotten money the legal way too,” he explained at the time.
“This album is about hustlin’ but it’s not the grimy kind of hustle, it’s more of the sophisticated hustlin’, the soul, reggae, samples and the appreciation kind of mind set to hip-hop.”
Fast forward less than year, and today DNTE is back with his latest offering, Grandizer.
The 8-track Grandizer features just one guest artist in Wyze Wonda, who appears on three songs in total.
A joint video for “Danguard Ace” and the Wyze Wonda-assisted “SNKRBOX” was released on April 18, and so far that remains the only visual support to drop for the project. We did ask DNTE about videos in our recent interview, and while he chose not to give any specific details, his answer would suggest there’s more coming.
The interview also touches on working on the new album, his relationship with Wyze Wonda, new projects dropping in the future, his previous release Crystal Pianos, how he’s holding up during this time of self-isolation, and more.
The song “Danguard Ace” was recently added to our official Spotify playlist, Canadian Fresh.
HipHopCannada: We’re connecting with you during this unique time of self-isolating and quarantining due to COVID-19. Can you speak on how it has impacted your life?
DNTE: COVID-19 has impacted my life in a positive light, I have had more time to focus on my craft. I have also learned the importance of family.
HipHopCannada: Going back a bit, what’s your first memory on that of recording music and what was the main inspiration to push you down that path?
DNTE: As a child music always spoke to my soul. my father was a DJ for a reggae sound. Essentially, music runs in my blood. My first memory of recording music was in the early 90’s. It was nerve wrecking because I had no knowledge on chorus and verse placement. I also wasn’t confident in my vocals. However, when I got the hang of things it became almost effortless. Everything flowed naturally.
HipHopCannada: When we last featured you it was as part of the group FalconCrest. Can you speak on the status of FC?
DNTE: FalconCrest is forever.
HipHopCannada: Your post about Grandizer stated it was ‘healing music’— how did you approach making a project with that particular mission compared to your previous bodies of work?
DNTE: I was in an unsettling place in my life and music became my outlet. music tends to heal people. whether your are the producer or audience you will feel the harmony.
HipHopCannada: You have one guest appearance on the project, Wyze Wonda, who appears on a few songs. How did you guys originally connect and do you have more collaborations in the works?
DNTE: I met Wyze at a very young age and became his go to, his brother. I took him on as if he was my family. we’ve grown an unbreakable bond. As for future collabs, absolutely. We have some great projects for you all to look forward to in the near future.
HipHopCannada: The artwork for Grandizer is absolutely gorgeous. Who was the mastermind behind that and what was the idea behind it?
DNTE: My creative director Tray Starks is a mastermind. he came up with this concept of abstract art. originally we had my photo on their but when I look at my son I see a mini version of myself. overall it turned out to be amazing, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome.
HipHopCannada: Can you speak on the videos dropping in support of the album?
DNTE: I’d rather keep it a suspense.
HipHopCannada: Another project we’re really feeling is your Crystal Pianos album from May 2019. What are your favourite songs on the release?
DNTE: I personally like “MK Ultra” because it reminded me of youth. I grew up in a household with a father that was part of a reggae sound. I took reggae and applied into hip-hop, I took it back to my roots.
HipHopCannada: Aside from your own music, what do you have on your playlist at the moment?
DNTE: My playlist consists of a lot of underground hip-hop, and old school hip-hop legends.
HipHopCannada: What else is planned for 2020?
DNTE: I currently just wrapped up a project with a legendary producer from my ends named DrkTheLegend, and Ray Smoove from Ghetto Concept called FORCE FIVE. And now we are working on GRANDIZER 2: Airborn Assult.
You can follow @DNTEbyhim on Instagram.
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