In an industry obsessed with luxury, DMV rapper/producer @KentonDunson is brutally honest about being a “Broke A$$ Dope A$$.” He exclusively premieres his new single with Sway’s Universe and talks about recording his upcoming EP Outlier, leaving his financial job, and getting recognition for his music. Recently, I did an interview with the rapper for our Sway’s Universe Spotlight segment. Read about how Dunson became in the music industry below!
Tell me who is Dunson? Where did you grow up?
I’m that suburban section 8 kid from the DMV, Maryland to be specific. Never had a lot but was always exposed to different cultures and classes of people. I was always creating something, whether it was drawing my own Nikes in class or banging on lunchroom tables. I loved school and even made it through college and found a dope job but eventually resorted back to creating full time via hip-hop.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in music, opposed to something else?
I’ve played music and created music since a young age. I even began making tracks for other rappers to earn beer money in college…but I was never satisfied with what they did over it so I started putting my own raps over my tracks. That’s where it all started. People started taking notice. I graduated and got a financial job…but I quit that eventually because I realized that becoming a force in music required the 24/7 commitment.
What kind of rap music did you want to be known for?
My own. It’s this generation’s rap. Hip-hop culture is as progressive and sharp as it has ever been. I’m speaking to that.
How did you get in contact with John Legend?
Through Phatboiz. A dope production team who also played in John Legend’s band. They took notice of my Creative Destruction mixtape series and encouraged me to come up to NYC to get in the studio. John soon heard it and has been a supporter since.
What was it like working with him in studio?
I have had John feature on my music and also put out remix verses on some of his songs. But seeing him work in the studio is phenomenal. He breaks mics. His creativity and vocal abilities are unmatched in my opinion. As far as work ethic…he’s a beast.
Are there any particular memories you have of him?
There are plenty but the time he came out specifically to watch me at SOB’s in NYC back in 2012 when I was pretty much brand new to the hip-hop scene was a big moment.
Tell me about you new EP?
It’s called Outlier. Basically meaning something that separate from the pack. That’s what it sounds like both musically and in message. It’ll be produced mostly by myself and Phatboiz and have some very special features. Releasing in September.
What producers did you work with?
I produce the majority of my music but I’ve also worked with Phatboiz, Mark Henry, and Rick Hertz to name a few.
What are some of you favorite tracks? Why?
“Broke Ass Dope Ass Rapper,” because it’s the 100% honest story of my grind since the day I became a full time artist. It reminds me of why I do this.
What do you want fans to take away from the EP?
Power. I want this project to give power to those who are willing to take a listen. In whatever walk of life. This is for those who are willing to step outside of the norm.
What other projects do you have approaching? Or, what goals have you set for yourself this summer?
I’m definitely focused on the Outlier project and getting on the road performing shows. But have recently produced for artists such as Yo Gotti, Ne-Yo & Wale. I am aiming to make my sound known throughout the industry.
Take a listen to Dunson’s “Dope Ass Broke Ass” single here.