As I was working on the EP I found myself being brutally honest and real in my records. I had finally found my sound and the wave I wanted to run with.
The tape begins with a door swinging open and the loud bellowing voice of Twondon’s mother saying “you better get yourself a record deal”. He answers sluggishly and the tape launches into the first song entitled Glory. The 21 year old Englewood, NJ native has quite literally put his all into his craft. TwonDon’s new EP entitled Stay Golden is a true illustration of his determination.
Before it was Twon Don it was a young man at a proverbial fork in the road. Life as most society has it planned or the pipe dream? He nixed the idea of college and the vestibule into “real life” that the majority of American’s take. Instead, his sincere confidence in his music and his lyrical ability was his new career. In the beginning he put out some singles and eventually a mixtape entitled Dream Gold in 2013. As he continued to put out music and videos he also gained the support of well-known and well regarded NYC lyricist Smoke DZA. Fast forward to the end of 2015 and Twon’s first EP, Stay Gold executively produced by Smoke DZA is making waves in the underground slums of Hip Hop.
The 9 track EP is a soliloquy of Twon’s inner thoughts and the mental perils his choices cause. Choosing to dive into the deep end is a gratifying rush but that also leaves a person in a vulnerable place. In the Ep he opens up about that. He cautiously played with the regalia of money and life living off your dream with the material things and the ability to help family and friends. He makes note of the fears and stress of it all, even touching on personal woes like depression and doubt.
The Ep has a modest amount of honesty almost hinting at certain events and personal trials. A bold move compared to his previous music. The tone is quite evident throughout the tape. Perceptively words like persistence, determination and tenacity can all be used to describe the EP. It is extremely focused on the music, his love for it and the sheer determination he has to be great at it. It is a refined sound and has the lux 90’s wash to it that we so adore on the east coast. As Twon’s growth continues to shine through in his music the leaping pad he has created for himself with Stay golden is a great one.
Where did music start for you?
In high school I started making music when I came to the conclusion I wasn't going to go to college. I kinda knew what I wanted to do with my life already. So when the time came when everyone was taking SATs and applying to schools I was the only kid in class with headphones in or on a "bathroom break" lmao. I always wanted to make and be involved with music
How old were you when you started rapping?
I had to be like 17 [or] 18 I think. But I didn't take music seriously up until 19, 20. I would always write though. I spent a lot of my younger years mastering my craft, finding my sound and shit.
What is Upper Class ENT? When did it begin?
Upper Class is an all-around brand and entertainment group. It covers everything from artist, apparel, in-house directors/engineers, etc. I started it in junior high with a group of friends. At first it started as a group to where if you was fresh & dressed nice you could be down. When I started taking music seriously - I turned it into a company and signed myself. Now I'm looking to build it to where I create…well continue to create opportunity for others coming up whether you're a musician or not.
So let’s break down Stay golden, where does the title derive from?
'Stay Golden' derived from the content on the EP. As I was working on the EP I found myself being brutally honest and real in my records. I had finally found my sound and the wave I wanted to run with. So I wanted to create an universal title that people can give it their own meaning based on however the project made them feel personally, you feel me? To me it means staying true, staying polished, staying youthful, staying authentic to yourself and those around you.
Is it in any way related to the premise that is behind your recent single Million dollar baby?
It's not so much related to what 'Million Dollar Babies' represent, but for the fact it gives you that thought, it just shows my job was done well. Because you’re also taking the title and applying what YOU think it means.... or maybe you're just asking a follow up question. LOL!
Million Dollar baby is a pretty stand out track and the video was really riveting, how was the process making/writing that song and video?
'Million Dollar Babies' is a personal favorite. With so much that's going on in not only America, but the world. Today as an artist it's only right to be vocal and use your status to spread awareness. See, that's a record that will always be relevant - even 10 years from now. When writing the song I didn't know it would be a favorite for the masses.
Being that the song touches serious topics from past to present - I wanted to create a visual that will keep my audience intrigued and interested. They get the message I'm trying to tell them but entertained at the same time. Putting the medicine inside the candy, as you would do a child.
Shooting the video was overly exciting because my treatment was literally coming to life. It was very different for me and the director, Vintage Modern. We both challenged ourselves to do something out of the norm for us so it was fun. Plus, my little homie (he's not my brother lmao) did his thing which was the icing on the cake.
In your words what do you think the tone of the entire project is?
Um, I think the tone of the project is universal. There's something on there for everyone. I have dark records such as Ghost Writer. Up-tempo records like All Thee Above - Fuckin' rebellious records such as MDB, etc. You feel me? Everyone gets to take something from it to apply to their situation and I think that's beautiful. It makes you laugh, cry, turn up, inspires... I mean - how many projects are doing that for you now-a-days? I'll wait........................ next question.
During the process was there anything that you felt held you back?
No, nothing held me back, but scared yes. 'Ghost Writer' I was iffy about releasing due to the content. On that record I talk about depression, suicide, shit that I never spoke about to anyone, not even mom dukes. So I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it with complete strangers. But when someone hit me up and told me that song helped them get through their day and gave them hope to keep pushing forward, I knew I did the right thing.
Was there anything you wish you could’ve changed with the project?
Um, Nah. Not really. 'Stay Golden' is dope as fuck. The reception is great and it touches everyone differently. I probably would've written a skit to have the ADD MAG crew get on and represent. Hahahaha! But, Nah...it's solid.
What’s next for you, what do you want for your music?
I just want to continue to grow as an artist and inspire. There's a lot that's next but I'm not telling you lmao. I want to continue to create and become that house hold name. Eventually, build Upper Class as the umbrella and home of your favorite artist, actors, athletes, and more. I need to get my mama job free coolin' in St. Tropez, you feel me.