By Kali Ah Yuen
Bringing a new wave to old school hip-hop, Dallas-based rapper Donovan Payne (a.k.a 88 Killa) announces the release of his sophomore EP 88 BPM. The local University of North Texas alumni is known for his melodic hip-hop tracks with charismatic personality. As his sophomore album’s release date approaches, his distinct style of smooth flows paired with clever wordplay have music enthusiasts raving beyond the DFW area. The rapper recently signed with record label DEFDISCO as he returns to the music scene louder than ever.
What was the key inspiration behind the theme of “88 BPM?”
The main inspiration was just life. I like to study the culture and figure out a point that I can separate myself from the pack. I also like to go on long drives because that seems to be the time when I can be to myself and sort things out so that is why when you listen to my music in sequence it plays out like a storyline.
What aspects of this EP are the same or different from projects in your past?
The aspects that are the same on this EP are mainly the producers that I used. I have a core group of guys that compliment my sound and direction so I like to stick to close to them when it comes time to create. The difference in this project rather than the last is that I begin to touch on about things specific to the area I grew up in and hang around today.
As an artist, what do you want to be known for or what messages do you want to send out to listeners?
I want to be known for being real on and off the stage. I want people to see me as someone who is always going to do his best at showcasing the things that make our city and culture something to be proud of. I also want to convey the message that being true to yourself and being proud of things that others may deem “weird” is perfectly ok.
What is your favorite song off of the EP and why?
I would probably say the song “Brief Talking Points” because it is a direct answer to some of the things that I hear people say behind my back. Plus, the second verse is too pro. I listen to that song like I’m not the one who rapped it.
How do you feel you as an artist and your music has evolved since entering the music scene prior to 88 BPM’s release?
I’ve always been confident but now I feel even more confident as an artist because I feel that I have a better understanding of what my place in the grand scheme of things is. I found my lane and I know how to operate in a pocket that compliments me so with that I can create music that I can perform for the rest of my life.
What can fans and supporters expect from you in the future?
People that support me can expect more music, videos, shows, and events that all guarantee a good time. Hopefully, as well as a tour across the world, so that I can tell everybody how great of a place the DFW area is.
88 BPM will release worldwide on DEFDISCO via iTunes and the artists’ website (www.88killa.com) on August 5.