In the latest episode of The City Boyz podcast, Kai, Amir and Sam interview rising Atlanta-based rapper Domani Harris. Many may know him as being the son of Grammy-winning and platinum rapper T.I., but Domani is proving that he has a voice of his own. In this episode, Domani talks about his new album “Time Will Tell” and the importance of being yourself in the rap game.
As Atlanta is known for its movies and music. Now, the city is flooded with a bunch of young upcoming underground artist and producers with many of these artists being in high school, or college. However, this raises the question: How can these young producers balance school and music? As school is challenging nowadays and the music industry so brutal we asked artists ”How do balance school and music.”
For this article, we interviewed young Atlanta rappers Roi’el King, Camo and Domani Harris to ask the challenges of doing music and school.
Camo is an artist from Atlanta who’s been making music for about a year. Camo got into music through a group of friends and in recent months has been taking it serious. This is mainly due to his label 1865 pushing and motivating him like parents. Making Camo feel like a family, not a business.
School is one of the most challenging things young people of this generation. With school starting early. It can be a real challenge to get there on time while coming back from a tour or a show that ended after midnight. He told us that you will be missing out on sleep so you can do your best in school. Often coming to slipping grades. However Camo’s parents were on him about his grades ¨My mom like real big, then she would have something to say about me going to the booth. Then I couldn’t speak for myself, i was under her roof so I didn’t want no conflict.
Backup plans are really important. If Camo’s backup plan doesn work, he has a plan to become a dentist. But he wants to make it more comfortable, with PS4‘s and lounge chairs in the lobby “Making it a good environment. To not smell like a dentist. ” Also using social media after the dentistry to grow his brand and make and his clothes. As the corporate world and marketing was more realistic to his parents.
Social media (his IG is 1drippycamo) has played a big part in pushing out his music. Shouting out to people or just being nice to people. Being a people person who helps others as he’s trying to be a build up his fanbase and establish himself as an artist. Letting us know that you “Be yourself but don’t be selfish”.
To Camo, making music is fun. Often times jokes from friends will end up in the finished product of the song.
His advice to others: “Don’t make music that sounds like someone else. Stay true to yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Often times artist question how will this artist hop on the beat or say this”?
Have a producer who understands your type of beats and not what’s hot at the moment. So stay true to yourself and never be somebody else.
We also interviewed Roi’el King who attends Tucker High. He is an artist that’s been taking music seriously for four years whose only support from day one has been himself.
Roi’el King says there are lots of challenges recording music while being in high school. “It’s like trying to juggle a whole another life,” he says. “You’ll sacrifice a lot of sleep. Your money is going to go to distribution and getting your look down good.” With Ro’iel’s mom not being able to provide for him fully, Roi’el has to pay his own bills, buy his own food, clothes, transportation and products. With all his focusing on his music. His grades slipped, however teachers helped him get his grades up.
Despite all the hardships, he says it was worth it. Roi’el King says he receives 80% of his royalties and owns all the copyrights to his songs. He’s learned graphic design for album cover artwork, writes his own lyrics and knows how to mix and master his songs.
Many things young people don’t understand is that when you’re an artist, you’re a package, you’re a brand and a business. Roi’el King also sheds light on the fact that being an artist takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In this new age of rap music, lots of rappers now make songs to release on a streaming platform. Then they expect to blow up. But in reality, it doesn’t work like that. In their songs, young artists say that they be grinding everyday and then in the line of the song, flex their money.
A line from California rapper Hopsin’s “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” states, “You fiend for the glamorous fruits. You don’t have ‘cause you Idolize rappers that do. And all they say is I got money and stacks in the roof and now you think it’s gon’ magicly happen to you.“ This makes us realize how much we think music is easy and fun. When in reality you have to work for all that money, that’s why artist talk and feel proud about it. This theme can be found in the song “Cake Factory” by Roi’el on his new album which talks about “how people want fast money, fast cars.” If you don’t put in the effort, it’ll never happen.
On Roi’el newest album, “Roi’el” the opening track, “Lost Files” shares his feelings about not knowing his father and the passing of his grandfather, who he saw once when he was 4. “Red Pedals” talks about love while “Peacekeeping” is a freestyle with him getting stuff out of his system. “Tell Me That” is about a longtime friend who turned their backs on him.
J.Cole is a role model to Roi’el. For one, he says J.Cole is real. One of the things Roi’el says he’s learned from him is that “You don’t need to be something you’re not.” In fact, Roi’el says he would rather “stay in his community of those who love his music rather than being something he isn’t.” This is important to upcoming artists of all genres, not just hip-hop. While some may think it’s cool to party and get drunk or high, 20, even 30 years down the road, it’s really about the central message you give in your music that can stay with listeners. Because all the partying and drugs will fade away.
Even when you’re doing a collaboration with another artist, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. With collaborations, you can bring listeners to another genre and they can hear what you bring to the table. They might even like your music giving listeners a different opinion of the genre. Which is why Roi’el likes the music of Lil Nas X Being Versatile plays a big part in the industry. Use people not saying “you’re not going to make it, it’s already been done” as motivation. You are You, and know one can be You.
Last, but not least, we have Domani Harris, a rapper from Atlanta. Harris, 18, the son of famous rapper T.I., says he’s been taking music seriously since about 15 or 16. His purpose is putting his “emotions and feelings into the music and seeing other people relate to it and help them out. Having someone to relate to feel like you’re not alone.”
When we hear songs, one of the things that stick with a listener is the beat. When asked about the beat has to correspond with your emotion or to have a contrast to it, Domani responded, “both.” Harris says there are no rules to the creative process. “There’s no real solid answer,” he says. “It’s all based on how you feel.”
His biggest influencers have been his parents — “old school” artists and legends. “They give you a good foundation to build off of,” Harris explains. He also brings to light the fact that a lot of us young people don’t listen to them. While in all reality, “They must have done something right, they legends for a reason,” he says. Harris explains he studied what they did and put his own swag on it.
Harris says his father has been really helpful to his development. His dad would often recommend artists who he thought Domani should listen to, including OutKast, UGK, Dungeon Family and Hot Boyz to name a few.
As a kid, Domani describes himself as “weird.” He said he had “a Lego, skateboarding and drawing phase.” When asked what would he do if music wasn’t his career choice, Harris says family members suggested occupations all over the map: “You going to be a pilot when you grow up. You going to be an architect. You going to build stuff”. “You should be a painter.” There was no clear path for him until they saw how serious he was about music. Everyone told him he was going to be a “dope lyricist.”
His advice to young artists trying to stand out is this: “Don’t portray yourself as something you’re not.” If you want to last, you have to be yourself.
If you don’t take anything else from the article, take this: Be Yourself. Even if you’re not a music artist, this is good advice for everyday life. No one can be you. Only you can be you.