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From his Harlem roots to collaborations with some of the most respected rappers in the game, V Don has cemented his status as a key architect of the modern East Coast underground hip-hop scene. By staying true to his style and prioritizing organic connections with artists, V Don has become one of the most sought-after producers in the Northeast.
V Don started his journey into music production at the age of 19. He first began making beats on PlayStation and FL Studio. The producer shared that his family had encouraged him to make music as a child. However, V Don did not seriously pursue producing until he moved to Richmond, Va. during his last year of high school.
“My father had all the hardware quickly and he would try to show me and my cousin early on how to do it, but we wasn't interested back then,” V Don said. “When I got older and I moved down South, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I had to get into something and music was it.”
Influenced by the music of legendary producers like The Alchemist, Just Blaze, and Swizz Beatz, V Don was drawn to their timeless sound early in his career. “They make classic records that I could play forever. They made records that I was playing when I was a young kid,” V Don said. “I can still play it to this day. It’s great.”
V Don’s work with the likes of Eto, Ransom, Estee Nack has established him as one of the most talented underground hip-hop producers on the East Coast. His beats recall the classic hip-hop essence of the producers he grew up idolizing, while simultaneously updating the sound for a new generation of listeners.
Embracing his authentic hip-hop style, V Don never stopped working on his underground sound, even when others questioned it. “Back then people used to be like, ‘Why are you still making this sound?,’” V Don said. “I wanted to have my own identity.”
The producer’s insistence on staying true to his vision paid off, yielding collaborations with charting artists like A$AP Rocky. Speaking about his work with A$AP Rocky, V Don recalls the moment he met the rapper before his career took off: “I believed in him because he was different.” This collaboration led to a platinum plaque for his work on “Ghetto Symphony” off of A$AP Rocky's album, “Long Live A$AP.”
V Don’s contribution to the album not only earned him recognition but also fueled his desire to create even more outstanding music. His work has taken him all over the U.S. and more recently, to Paris for a show with Lord Apex.
While V Don’s relationships with artists have evolved over the years, his focus remains the same: making music that he enjoys first and foremost. “I have to enjoy it first before I let anybody else hear it,” he explained. “So I’m doing what I like to do. I love that sound.”
V Don’s approach to collaborating with new artists is straightforward, often driven by a single record. “Usually it’s like once we do one or two records, the mood is like, if we do one song and it’s crazy, we can't just keep it right here,” the producer said. “We got to put a whole plate together.” This method led to his multiple collaborations with Willie the Kid and their “Deutsche Marks” album trilogy.
His recent project with Estee Nack, titled “Born Rewards & Penalties” or “BRAP!,” is a shining example of V Don’s commitment to nurturing authentic connections. After being introduced to the rapper's music by a friend, V Don reached out and the two began working together without ever meeting in person. The duo found instant chemistry, leading to the creation of “BRAP!,” a full-length project that showcases their combined talents. “We’ve been done with this album since the middle of last year, but we were just saving it for the right time,” V Don said.
With a busy schedule and more projects in the pipeline, including collaborations with Eto, Ransom, and Bronx rap crew Heist Life, V Don is showing no signs of slowing down. “I’m tryna drop a project every month of this year,” the producer said.
—Staff writer Ryan S. Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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