Hip Hop’s past and future meet neatly in the music of The Kid Daytona. From the same neighborhoods that birthed the culture, this twenty-something emcee rocks over the same Oliver Sain samples as D.I.T.C. on “On The Hill,” and interpolated Jeru The Damaja verses within his own. Hardly a throwback, Daytona is simply a progressive emcee, armed with an education and respect for Rap’s lyrical glory days.
Through a partnership with L-R-G, and a handful of fan-hoisted free albums such as A Tribe Called Fresh and Come Fly With Me, Daytona transitioned from an early ’00s group-member signed-and-shelved at Atlantic Records, to a mover and shaker of today. Performing tonight, as part of Soul Rebel & HipHopDX’s Generation Next concert in Brooklyn, Daytona rapped with DXnext about his perspectives, his unique style and his interesting dues paid throughout the last eight years.
With a new release, Interlude beckoning listens from any Rap album collector on August 30, Daytona’s just getting started with his stamp on 2010. This unsigned sensation’s “On The Hill” video features sea planes, sea choppers, speedboats filmed in Washington’s San Juan Islands, from his rhymes to his visuals, The Kid Daytona makes being a rapper look fun again.
My Name Is: “‘Daytona’ came up from when I grew up, in the South Bronx. As a kid, I used to get into some mischief here and there. I was 14 or 15 years old, and one of my friends had a master [key] copy to 1987 Toyota Camrys. We took it on a lil’ joyride [for several nights]. It was my turn [to drive] one night, and I thought I saw [something in the street], and I smashed the car into a row of three or four parked cars. I got out and ran. The block just started calling me ‘Daytona 500,’ and that’s where it started from. [Laughs] Usually, we’d return the car the way it was – not on that night though.”
South, South Bronx: “I rep it. More so, I represent New York Hip Hop in general. In the past few years, it’s been crazy, with the south takin’ over and radio [taking the turn its taken], everything sounds the same. That New York feel kind of gets drowned out in the midst of everything that’s going on. With this new project I’m doin’ called The Interlude, I’m trying to hone that New York sound and keep it alive. I don’t want to conform to everything that’s going on – the 808’s and the mid-tempos, that whole sound that everybody is trying to copy. From doing that, people say it’s refreshing or brand new. Really, I’m just doing music that I fell in love with as a child.”
Know Your History: “I have an uncle that’s 13 years older than me. I mimicked him in everything that he did. I came to New York when I was three. I was watching him cut records up [on the turntable], and he’d be listening to [LL Cool J’s] ‘Rock The Bells,’ and Slick Rick, EPMD and [Boogie Down Productions]. This is music that I came up on, from being a kid. Further on, me being in high school, I always felt like you had to be [lyrically] nice to even try to rap – to even want to rap. There was no, ‘Yo, I’m a hustler and this is my reality [stance].’ The dudes that did that, they were still nice – look at Geto Boys. I listen to Scarface and them. To me, they still had that lyrical content where you’re like, ‘Oh shit, they’re still saying some ill shit in a clever way.’ You didn’t get away with none of the nonsense that a lot of people today get away with. With me, it’s not something I try to do or force, but I love that music. I love rhymin’ over samples. I love listenin’ to samples and watchin’ 6th [Sense] chop it up. He’s one of my favorite producers to work with, ’cause we work from scratch.”
Daytona & Sense: “I met 6th [Sense] through Mick Boogie, actually. I’ve been hearing his name through other friends of mine. The first time we worked together was for a Complex mixtape. He sent me the beat, the shit was ill. Then I went to his crib, and it was an instant thing. Just as friends, we clicked. We did the record, and it was ill. After that, I asked him to send me some more stuff. He did. From there, we just kept workin’. Beyond makin’ music together, 6th is my friend. I respect him for havin’ a lot of knowledge about music in general. He’s been on an independent grind for a long time, since he was signed to Rawkus [Records], and even before that. I just recently stumbled upon this Internet thing two years ago; he’s been doing it since the start of it – putting music out on blogs and things. It’s definitely helped my career ten-fold. My whole [plan and dream] was getting on the radio. Now, I could care less about the radio. [Laughs] The music that’s on there is not really what I want to represent. If it ends up there – like ‘On The Hill,’ I can’t even imagine radio people takin’ that and playin’ it, but people like Mister Cee, [DJ] Camillo, Cipha Sounds are takin’ the record and playin’ it. I guess it speaks volumes to what’s goin’ on in the industry today. People want to hear lyrics again.”
Road To Recognition: “2002 was when it really became for real. When I graduated high school was when I got my first record deal. I was in a group with Loaded Lux and Harlem’s Cash called The ACES Click. We signed to Atlantic [Records]. The dude who signed us, Rich Christina got fired three months after we got our deal. [Laughs] Three months after that, we lost our deal.” “Moving further, I met Busta Rhymes, just from bein’ out in the New York club scene, which I’ve been doing since I was 18 years old.” “It went from him takin’ me to Miami, L.A., and forging that relationship.” Timbaland, Pharrell, Scott Storch, Q-Tip, Raekwon. “I’m just takin’ all this shit in.” “It’s a long ass journey as I’ve been connecting dots.” A Tribe Called Fresh.
The Interlude: “It’s compromised of different interludes from albums, [from artists like] Pete Rock & CL Smooth, [A Tribe Called Quest], Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. We just took the samples from those original interludes and made records out of them. We also took classic break-beats and made records out of those as well. This is just straight east coast, New York Hip Hop – no 808’s, no Auto-Tune, no singing. What I can compare it to is, if you’ve heard Come Fly With Me, it’s like ‘Lately,’ ‘In The Wind’ and ‘Airborn’ – records like that. Lyrically, this is the best work I’ve ever done. I can put my hand on The Bible and say that. I felt like I had to step my rap game up.”
Generation Next: “I’m definitely excited. Skyzoo and I’ve rocked a couple times together; I’ve never rocked with TiRon before, but that should be ill. [Harlem’s] Cash is a friend of mine from 13, 14 years old. I haven’t really touched a stage, by myself, doing a whole set since South By Southwest, so it’s gonna be interesting. [I’m gonna] do new records as well. New York is crazy, ’cause you kill and they show love. When you’re on that stage, they’re just listening to what you’re saying. When you’re off, it’s ‘Yo fam, you killed.’ The love. If you can win over that [New York], you can kill anywhere. Mic Sean is a friend of mine, HipHopDX is an ill website. Peter [Rosenberg], that’s my man. I’m looking forward to it.”
Starting Points: “I would definitely [new] fans to the direction of ‘Airborn.’ That record, I say a lot in it. From my first verse, and then Bun [B] cosigning me and doing that record with me meant a lot. Then the third verse, I’m like really speaking real shit. No fabrication, no elaborate lifestyles. Anybody can feel what I’m sayin’.”