While the average MC tends to have issues with showing vulnerability, particularly as it pertains to women, Donwill, one-third of hip-hop group Tanya Morgan doesn't. Not that he's going all Dr. Phil with it or anything; but on the eve of his anticipated solo album, Don Cusak in High Fidelity (obviously based on John Cusaks cult classic of the same name), he delves into his past loves, his definition of amor and why hes a relationship guy.
Tanya Morgan with Señor Kaos, and Kooley High. Tonight. $10. 9 p.m. Apache Cafe, 64 Third St. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info.
Was Lauras Tape mixtape inspired by the popularity of Lauras Song?
Actually, the mixtape is solely reliant upon the album [Don Cusak in High Fidelity]s existence. The album is an adaptation of the movie High Fidelity, where John Cusaks character is a record store owner and music plays a major role in his life. He seeks to find out about love; hes trying to figure out things that everyone is trying to figure out. So a lot of that was a driving theme throughout the album. Music is my life, its my love. The theme of love, loving yourself, loving other people and loving what youre doing is what the album is about.
Why do a solo project now?
We all kind of within the group, weve been soloist the group thing is what stuck. Typically between Tanya Morgan projects theres a lapse. There has to be some space, otherwise it won't mean anything to us. In that space were always creating. Sometimes we just have ideas, not necessarily for the group. I was starting to make beats again and I just started recording songs again. But this is the first one on this scale that Ive done. This is the first one that Im putting into the commercial retail market place.
Talk about the album.
The album has an array of producers, 14 different people doing tracks on there. Its a cast of producers and featured artists, A+ from Souls of Mischief, Maestro and Bad Luck, Tanya Morgan, Opio. One of my favorite songs is a joint called Love Junkie because it represents more of the sounds that I listen to and sometimes I dont get a chance to really show that in my music. I also produced a song called December 27th about the passing of my father. The album is extremely thematic and its extremely concept driven and extremely dope.
What do you want people take away from it?
A greater understanding of what love is, or kind of questioning love and how you love and what you do love.
So whats your definition of love?
For right now, because when youre living and breathing definitions change, I would say for right now my definition is something that you can unconditionally accept. You dont have to forgive something or someone that you dont really fault in the first place.
You rap about girls a lot. What intrigues you the most about women?
I like certain things that only a woman can possess. Its not like looks. Its the mannerisms of a woman, the instinctual mannerisms of a woman. Even the most tomboyish dude-ish women, they all have some inherent feminine qualities. Theres a certain way that a woman walks or stands. Its stuff that's like not able to be defined. I mean, I do like the normal stuff, like a good smelling woman, but theres an inherent quality that all women have that no matter how attractive or ugly she may be they all posses that inherent quality. I guess I love the woman-ess of the them.
You seem like a relationship kind of guy.
Ive been in a lot of relationships. I recently changed from being that guy. You know how you tumble in and out of relationships, you might get a rebound girl and she becomes your girlfriend, but you dont really want to be with her, because she was really only supposed to be the rebound girl. But Ive been single for a while. I went from being a relationship dude to not being one. But yeah, I prefer to be in a relationship. With my last girlfriend, when youre pursing something that requires the level and devotion that music requires, unless its a wife or a woman that understands your shortcomings, its kind of hard to not have arguments about dumb shit. You can't be on the phone everyday reassuring her that you're feeling her when youre on the road. It causes problems.
Do you have a real-life Laura that inspired the music?
Laura is based on the movie, but the character of Laura is every relationship Ive ever been in. I didnt want to give her the face of one particular person, shes the girlfriend I had in the sixth grade to the girlfriend I had two years ago.
Most rappers dont like to be so vulnerable. Why dont you mind?
I think theres definitely a level of vulnerability to making music and putting yourself out there. Now what you chose to do with that is up to the artist. You can create a fantasy and a persona and be what you wish you were on wax. But for me, I chose to use the vulnerability for what it is, kind of like a snapshot for myself. Me and Von [Pea] were talking about how we listen to records. Its like looking at a photograph. When I put myself out there on a song, I look back on it as a moment in time. It means something different to everybody, but for me its very specific. Theyre driven by specific incidents. I could detail specifically what the metaphor meant at the time that I wrote it and what inspired it. The vulnerability relies on being completely and totally honest. Its cathartic.
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