What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
What’s up Last Day Deaf! Thank you for your time…
My Uncle Chris was the first person to show me Hip-Hop, he would listen to Geto Boys and Lords of the Underground among others. Freestyling and writing raps kicked in about 8th grade with my cousin Jamaur, we were like the only people at our school listening to East Coast Hip-Hop…like D-Block and Nas. From there the urge to record set in after high school when I realized I wasn’t going to the NFL. Donnie is my real name, and Raven came from a Japanese Manga called, “Shaman King.”
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Livelihood is a six track EP produced by Nottz, Eddy Mugre, and my long time friend DLZMKSBTS, its the story of my journey through early recovery and into a life of sobriety. Project gets dark at times when reflecting on the lifestyle I used to live but warms up with stories of faith and new optimism about life.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Main influences music wise vary; artists like Big L, Guru, MF Doom to more current artists like Lil Wayne and Kanye West, also I listen to a lot of Nirvana and Offspring, I really enjoy their ability to tell stories in the least amount of words. Non-music wise, I’m heavily influenced by Japanese Anime (Dragon ball, Shaman King, Gundam Wing. The story telling in these artworks is un matched.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Well, first and foremost, rapping is poetry until you apply the producer and the drums, then it becomes hip hop. So matching myself with the dopest beat is the first and most important priority in creating my sound. From there I try to have faith that my voice and tonailty is my strongest weapon and just tell my story. Rap about things I’ve been through. Hopefully that formula creates something organic and original which is my overall and constant goal.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
• Nirvana – Nevermind
• Nas – Illmatic
• Donnie Raven – Livelihood
• Star Wars (Rouge One)
• The Matrix Reloaded
• Shaman King (Manga 1-32)
• Hit Men by Fredrick Danner
• The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Live…I get to engage the fans and sway the energy in the raps.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I once met 50 Cent in Aspen Colorado but was too shook to give him my demo tape cause I didn’t wanna be lame. Myself, along with my bro DLZMKSBTS, and Fif were like the only black folk on the entire mountain, there was a mutual understanding [laughs].
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
“Rainin’” featuring Elzhi. This was the second track I got from Nottz and I got it to experiment..…I honestly didn’t think that song would ever see the light of day, that beat was just a style I had always envisioned for myself. It was actually a completely different song before Elzhi sent his verse. After hearing his rhymes I tore out the pages in the notebook and started from scratch.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Livelihood is the story of me in early recovery, where my emotions were all over the board. The concept for my next project is “Pink Cloud Syndrome,” and will probably have a much warmer feel to it.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Anybody you’d like to thank?
Matt Diamond for giving me and this project an opportunity and a platform. Thank you my brotha! Go support that Livelihood EP☛
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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