MNL Don is a Toronto Rap Artist born in Iloilo City, Philippines, and moved to Surrey, BC when he was 10 years old and has been serving the Canadian military since March of 2019. His music has a vibe of 2000s Rap combined with his unique elements of style. We had a chance to sit down with him and understand MNL Don as an artist:
Who is MNL Don and can you tell us something about your creative journey as a rapper and what inspired you to make music?
In October 2019, I tried to get my hands into doing Custom Street Clothing Line and Music and Event Promotion. The idea was to create a brand that’s influenced and reflects upon the Hip Hop and RnB culture. During this time I had a chance to meet with local artists in Toronto as I tried to collaborate and promote shows with them. With that opportunity, I got to see the behind-the-scenes of artists recording music, being inside studios, and it sparked an interest in me. It wasn’t until February of 2020, though, when Covid started getting serious, that I jumped on the opportunity.
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With the closure of bars, and nightclubs, I was again looking for something to work on and I thought, “Hey, why not try making my own music?”. I went to the nearest music store as soon as I could and bought my first USB condenser microphone. I fell in love with it right away, and from that point, it was non-stop making music. It didn’t matter to me if some people didn’t like my style, voice, or whatever; I was enjoying myself!
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I feel like, being at such an early stage of this journey, I haven’t really found my style yet; so far I’ve jumped around from Hip Hop, RnB, Trap Rnb, Hard Rap, and I’ve got unreleased songs that fall in other sub-genres as well.
I would say though that my favourite is making Hip Hop and RnB-type songs that have a flavour from the 2000s, my favourite era for music! At the end of the day, my goal is to become a multi-faceted and versatile artist; there’s just so many ideas and creativity flowing around me that I can’t stay in one phase.
If you could go open a show for any artist, alive or departed who would it be and why?
That’s a tough question; it would have to be between J Cole, Tory Lanez, or Drake.
J Cole, because he’s simply just one of my favourite rappers. I even like to say that my flow and style of rapping is somewhat influenced by his. As for Tory Lanez and Drake? Remember when I said that I wanted to be a multi-faceted and versatile artist?
Well, these are the top two artists that I look up to and inspire me for that. I would even go as far as saying they’re an epitome for that. If you go through their discography, you could easily observe the different styles of hip Hop and RnB subgenres they hit in each album or mixtape.
What is the one song that would be an introduction to MNL Don music and why?
Kings! It’s one of the first songs I’ve made and just brings a lot of people back to the early 2000s of Hip Hop which is refreshing to most people’s ears. I feel like it just catches people’s attention.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
No one specific really- whoever’s down to work with me. Personally, I just want both parties to legitimately enjoy each other’s music because being in the right mood or vibe is so important for me when making music. It’s how I get my creativity flowing.
Can you share with us a goal or goals you are working on right now?
My biggest goal right now is to be heard by more people by improving my promotion/marketing game.
I’ve come to realize early that it doesn’t matter how good one’s music is, if you don’t properly put yourself out there, you’d be left out in the dark.
Where can fans find you?
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Raphael Tigno is the Founder and Creative Director of the magazine website vibeant.com. VIBEANT is an online magazine bridging global culture in fashion, art, music, culinary, subcultures, and lifestyles across the world. Pronounced as "VIBE" + "ANT", a literal translation of "ANTS ENERGY" a reference to "BAYANIHAN" virtue of Filipinos.