INTERVIEW: Donald Jenkins | NARC. | Reliably informed

Image: Bish Pictures

Words have power in all mediums. put onald Jenkins previously explored this through spoken word, but is now branching out into rap and hip-hop. This new journey comes in the form of an upcoming EP, titled Late Bloomer, in which he discusses age, the culture of his gender, and the politics of our future.

There’s an ongoing discussion in hip-hop about whether or not it’s an “old” person’s game, whether it’s okay to have a 30- or 40-year-old rapper. Donald commented discussing his own journey in music. “It’s rare for someone my age [44] to start rapping… So [describing myself as a Late Bloomer] it’s just me anticipating that. But hopefully I come with a life experience and have something to say as a result of it.

Donald explains why he broaches the subject of our future on his EP. “I am concerned about how we are raising generations of people who seem totally disengaged from the political process. We are divided into different groups and argue over identity politics, but find very little common ground to unite us… No one can agree on what is real. I think we need to be more politically aware, but at the same time it concerns me too. I have to admit, that’s pretty decent and fair for me to chat and move on.

I am concerned about how we are raising generations of people who seem totally disengaged from the political process

As an artist who creates music in the hip-hkind of op, Donald continues to explain why he does not consider himself part of the hip-hop vsculture. “People have to be aware, if they want to be part of hip-hop culture, they also have to have a sense of the roots, recognize its root as Black of musical form that people like me are in a privileged position to be a part of.

Donald’s music not only carries the regular, smooth rhythm typical of hip-hop, but also electronic sound elements reminiscent of retro gaming, creating a mixed genre of electric rap. One thing that isn’t lost throughout the rhythm of his lyrics is his Geordie accent, which adds local familiarity to the worries he lyrically shares.

Some may already know Donald as the initiator of Born Lippy spoken word night. He talks about the transition to rap: “I love words! I got into spoken word about 15 years ago and discovered something other than hip-hop. I’ve always listened to hip-hop and when I started doing spoken word, I could see myself trying to rap, but not very well and not very well! It was mostly about adapting and changing something to reach a new audience that might not be interested in my poetry.

It was a learning curve, because it’s different, there’s a lot of different skills involved. Spoken word consists of long pauses and pauses, whereas rapping is much faster when trying to adjust to rhythmic structures. It’s been a great exploration of expanding my own abilities as someone who likes to manipulate words, looking at how that can be expanded.

Donald Jenkins releases his debut EP, Late Bloomer, at Zerox in Newcastle on Friday the 9the September with the support of Kema Kay, HB, Tom 23 and DJs Pegz and Riddla.

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