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[courtesy] Dynas Interview
Author: Adam Bernard

RapReviews doesn't usually dole out praise as high as that given to Dynas' recent release, The Apartment, which was dubbed as coming close to being a classic. This peaked a lot of readers' interest in the Miami based emcee. Most folks, however, don't really know a lot about the man who laid down the rhymes. Some may know a little about how he was one of the myriad of emcees who had a negative major label experience, but for the most part people are still in the dark about Dynas. This is why this week we caught up with him and had him turn the light on, both in his Apartment and on his life and career. The story of what led to the signing of his most recent deal is fairly amazing.

Adam Bernard: Let's start with a little nomenclature, which is always fun and awesome. Dynas sounds like it's short for dynasty. 1) Is that the case? 2) If that is the case, what's the dynasty you're hoping to create?
Dynas: Yeah, it is short for Dynasty. I came up with the name when I read the Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams. That book gave me a perspective on my people's existence that I never knew about prior to reading it. I learned about the lineage of kings and dynasties within the continent of Africa. I wanted to continue the tradition of strong black males, thus the name. Unfortunately, I couldn't copyright the name so I shortened it.

AB: For those who may be hearing your work for the very first time, tell everybody what a Dynas song usually encompasses.
D: It encompasses a good melody. The beat, or production, has to have melody. The melody usually brings out the chorus, or concept, of the song. The lyrics come from a combination of the beat and chorus. My verses are usually thought provoking and filled with my life's experiences. My voice is the last instrument, usually, so I manipulate it to the progression in the music.

AB: You are based in Miami. The first things that comes to my mind when I think about Miami hip-hop is the Miami bass sound that was brought to fame by groups like 2 Live Crew. The next things that pop into my head are Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. You, however, fit into none of those molds. Where does your sound come from?
D: My sound comes from growing up in my mother's Jamaican household. My family did chores on Saturday mornings so while most kids were watching cartoons I was listening to the sounds of Studio One, Bob Marley, Ken Boothe, Jacob Miller, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Toots & The Maytals, to name a few. These artists and countless others molded my ears during the time spent with my mother. The rhyming came from growing up in New York listening to anything played religiously by DJ Red Alert, Mr Magic (RIP), and The Awesome Two.

"Miami's underground scene has embraced me for quite some time now. I have been grinding down here for minute."

AB: Has the Miami scene embraced you, or have you found it hard to fit in where you live with your style of music?
D: There are two Miami scenes in my opinion; the mainstream and the underground. Miami's underground scene has embraced me for quite some time now. I have been grinding down here for minute. I'm not brand new to that scene. The mainstream is different, though. I am respected by most of the artists known internationally from the city; however, I am not in their fraternity. It has to do with an unwillingness to be anything other than what I am.

AB: Speaking of who you are, let's talk about your just released album, The Apartment. Why did you choose an apartment as the theme for the record?
D: I wanted this release to be about my life - the good, bad and ugly. I thought the best way to tell my story would be if I centered it around the events of the past few years. During that time I've lived in my apartment. No matter what took place it always originated and ended in my apartment. Thus the title.

AB: If we were to come and check out your current apartment what would we find? Give us a verbal tour of your place.
D: In my kitchen you'd find curry powder and jerk seasoning. In my living room you'd find the TV on ESPN no matter what time you visited. In my office you'd find a sea of beat CDs and composition books, and Bob Marley and J Dilla posters on the wall. In my bedroom you'd find a broken alarm clock and empty beer bottles on the night stand. In my walk in closet you'd find entirely too many kicks to count. We won't speak of the bathroom... NEXT!

"I truly wasn't aiming to one specific audience, I was just merely being myself."

AB: Ha! OK, but staying in your apartment, writing about something like apartment issues is a pretty relatable topic. Most everyone has had 'em at some point in time. With that as your point of relation, however, is it safe to assume you're aiming your work at a more grown up audience?
D: Well, since I am officially a "grown up" it's only right that I converse like one. I truly wasn't aiming to one specific audience, I was just merely being myself. I figured somebody will relate to it and whom-so-ever does, that's my audience. There is a lot of kiddie music in mainstream hip-hop these days and that leaves a void for those who grew up on the art form like me. I know quite a few former heads that have lost touch because the newer music is what it is. I guess I'm here to let 'em know they can come back home to the boom and the bap.

AB: What do you feel is added to a record when it's theme-based?
D: It paints a picture of a timeline and guides the listener into the direction of that moment. I don't want to read a book about everything at once. Streamline it and I'll digest it better. That's what a theme based album does for me. I think the master of the concept in hip-hop is the homey and legend Masta Ace.

AB: Speaking of legends, you have some of hip-hop's heaviest hitters on The Apartment, including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Slick Rick, J Dilla and DJ Spinna. How did these collaborations come about? There has to be an amazing story behind at least one of them.
D: I met DJ Spinna through Skam2 years ago when I was back in New York recording for a major label in the mid to late 90's. He gave me a beat tape that was straight nuts. Once my deal fell through I again went to New York a year later working with a major independent and once again Spinna laced me with some CRAZY music. While recording on that trip Spinna put me on the phone with Kenny Dope who warned me about the people I was doing business with. The fact that he and Kenny cared enough to keep me away from a bad situation showed me their true character. I was unsure of my future and contemplated returning to Miami with nothing but empty dreams and a few demos. It was a day or so away from me leaving and I had one more studio session in Brooklyn with Spinna. During that session with my spirits down, slowly Kriminul of the Jigmastas and Spinna's Beyond Real partners Russell Johnson and George Littlejohn entered the studio. They stopped our recording and announced that the doors were locked and there was no way I was gonna be able to leave without committing to sign with their Beyond Real imprint. These cats "jokingly" threatened me with bodily harm {laughs}. I was overjoyed because I really felt like I was done rapping after all the industry setbacks I experienced. I felt like I wasn't destined to do music at all. Spinna jump started and saved my career that day. He guided my earlier releases with stellar production and a brotherly commitment to my advancement. There will never be a Dynas release without a Spinna joint attached to it.

AB: That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. Finally, and be honest with this one, you may not be originally from Miami, but since you live there now tell everyone the most "Miami" thing you've ever done, even if - actually ESPECIALLY if - it made you roll your eyes afterwards and go "aw shit, I can't believe I just did that, it's so Miami."
D: I once went to three strip clubs - Rolexx, Diamonds and Tootsies - in one night. I drank nothing but Hennessey and smoked a box of Vanilla Djarums and a half an ounce of Kendall Kryppie with a lady friend. I concluded the experience with a menage a trois that morning. If that isn't MIAMI I don't know what is. True story...

You can check out Dynas on the web at
"The Apartment" is in stores now!

Originally posted: November 3, 2009

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