I was sorting through press emails when something caught my eye; a rapper from NJ that signed to 300 Entertainment this past year. You might know 300 Entertainment as the label that artists like Coheed and Cambria, Migos, and Young Thug are signed to.

The email was promoting this video for Mir Fontane’s track Frank Ocean which boasts a cool 242k plays on SoundCloud and 38k views on YouTube.

I was able to secure an interview via phone right before Mir hit the road for a tour promoting his latest project, Camden.



Neel B: Hey Mir – how’re you?

Mir Fontane: I’m good, I can’t complain.

You in Jersey right now?

Yeah, I’m in Camden.

Cool – well thanks for making time for this, I appreciate it.

No problem.

I heard all your music and it’s dope – I went back to Fontane, the Musical, I listened to Who’s Watching the Kids, I’ve been listening to Camden and put some friends on it. We all agree that you’re good. You’re different.

I appreciate that.

Let’s take it way back and talk about your roots. Are you an only child?

Nah, I was an only child for nine years then I had a little brother and a year after that a sister.

Are they involved musically as well?

Nah my little brother is into acting and my sisters into dance.

Oh wow very into the arts as a family, that’s pretty cool. What about your mom?

My mom wasn’t really into the arts per se.

My family was pretty much a track family because my grandpa was a track coach. All his daughters ran track – he coached them. Most of my life I ran track.. did the whole medal thing. They thought that’s what I was gonna pursue. By the time I got into high school I branched out into other things I wanted to do. Once I got a little independence I stopped running track but I kept doing XC to get conditioned for basketball. I just got tired of track cause I was doing that my entire life.

I had friends that ran XC and it seemed tiring. Having to wait after school for practice everyday. Finding a ride home. All that.

Our school didn’t even have sports teams or facilities. We had to go to New Camden High or Wilson to do sports. We had to catch a bus to go to another school middle of ninth period for a XC meet or to get ready for practice.

Would they read your name on the morning announcements and would everyone cheer when they heard you won something?

Yeah they used to do that. They read my name more for art cause I stopped track and field in high school. I was doing basketball. It was usually called for something I had won for drawing or something like that.

*It’s worth noting that Mir went to a school for the arts.*

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Do you miss high school at all?

Uhhh sometimes. High school was kinda fun. I miss the 1:1 I got with some of my teachers and mentors. Like my art teacher – I miss that he would constantly press me to actually draw everyday or always make sure I had my sketchbook or how he would always show interest in what I was working on at that time. It was a small high school – We didn’t have a cafeteria. We didn’t have a gym. We didn’t have any of that. So you pretty much knew everybody. There entire was probably 200 people.

It was cool though. It was a school for the arts. Everyone was talented as fuck. You always got to brush shoulders with people with knowledge in different areas of art. Me being a charismatic person.. I was everywhere pretty much. I’ll be drawing one minute then I’m real cool with vocalists so I’ll be in their classroom during lunch or something. I used to go the band room sometimes to listen and have jam sessions during lunch too. That shit was cool as hell.

I was one of those band rats too. I’d just hang out all day and skip class.

That shit was fire man. Go in there and they would play some instrumentals from songs at the time. Kids would be on their trumpets and drums or pianos and just geek out sometimes. Just fun as shit.

Yeah I miss that, man.

I miss that energy we all had just doing dope shit.

I miss just having everyone on the same schedule. You know?

That too. Being able to see everybody.

Yeah. Now trying to get 10 people in the same room to actually have their minds in the same place…it’s..

TOGETHER : Almost impossible

So you graduated 2011.. When did you decide that you wanted to start really rapping and singing? You briefly touched upon it.

I was going through relationship stuff. Going through regular teenage shit. I was listening to Wayne. Dedication 3 I believe it was…and that’s when I really decided I wanted to make a mixtape.

I remember putting up a Facebook status just to see if people would even give a fuck if I made a mixtape.


Cause at the time.. people probably were, I’m probably lying… But at the time I didn’t notice anybody around me doing music other than the people I went to school with.

As far as rapping I was always around people who did jazz band but nobody was really trying to rap. So I’d go back to school and talk about rapping and I’d write in class.

Me, my entire life, I always wanted to include my friends so I spent a lot of time just trying to have people be in the same mindset that I was in. Have the same drive and determination and want to actually be the best rapper, musician or whatever the case may be. And it was just that they never were really working out. I was always left hanging or nobody wanted to follow the lead even though I wasn’t trying to be a leader at all I just wanted everybody to work together. I was always the type to say it like ‘I get mine. You get yours’ but egos would always clash and it never really panned out. I probably went through 4 groups and it never worked out so I just started writing for myself.

I started making music by myself and just focusing on me and not trying to make sure this person gets in the studio.. make sure this person has money for this track that they want to record or whatever..I started focusing on me for about a year and once that happened I started seeing progress on that. So I was just focusing on being a better me before I could help anybody else. Thats pretty much where it went and I was like ‘Im going try to master this craft.’

I understood that I was good enough because even in high-school, English was my favorite subject – I liked the picture prompts, I liked making up my own stories, I liked to tell stories in unconventional ways. I was always the kid that would try to surprise you.

It kinda went hand in hand when it was time to actually write to a beat. I grew up on jazz, I grew up on 90’s music. I grew up always around music so melody came easy for me. I was writing poetry since forever ago so it all fell hand in hand and it was all about professionalism at that point and making it sound good.

I have a question – I believe that everyone starts out very creatively but then society boxes us up and a lot people start to think ‘oh I’m probably not good enough.’ You lose people every stage of the process. One big stage where people start to lose themselves is entering the market as an artist – especially a rapper. Because you could write poetry and then make a book from your poems but for rap you need to get beats, you need equipment to record, you need a place to record, you need someone to help you in the beginning and tell you what’s cool and what’s whack.. Where did you find yourself on that road after you had been writing all this poetry and all these stories? Who connected you to a studio? Where did you get beats? Did you produce?

MIR LAUGHS – Alright – that was a lot. Lemme see if I can tackle it all. Alright. So it came from the type of person I was. You know? It all depends on your inner drive. I’ve always been the type of person where if I like something I really don’t care if you don’t like it. Cause I’m still gonna like it.

Yeah, that’s an important mindset.

Yeah. Your opinion only really affects me if I hold your opinion as valuable. If my idols tell me it’s trash I might throw something away but at the end of the day I always get more determined by people who doubt what I have to offer. If anything I’ll be angry because you don’t see how fire this shit is. You can’t deter my vision on this and I’ve always had that mindset. Like alright you don’t like it, cool, not everyone has faith and that’s fine but I think it’ll eventually become cool to you eventually when you understand. I always kept that mindset. I always knew that my super power is that no one else can be me, everybody can try but can’t nobody else be Mir Fontane. As long as I actually continue to be Mir Fontane nobody can fuck with me ever. So I just stuck with that.

But as far as the studios and shit like that came into play.. When I first started writing I didn’t even have a studio. I had this guy that I knew I could record with… one of my friends that was in the first group that I was in. He just had a microphone in this empty ass crib with no furniture. It was just a microphone inside the living room and this old ass computer, so old it still got the ass on the back. This fat ass computer kept glitching, it had mad viruses or whatever. It was trash. We would lose some of the vocals sometimes. I often had to rerecord shit. But it was all I knew about a studio and all I knew about recording. I wasted hella bread on him – probably about 6 months. He didn’t even know how to mix and my shit sounded terrible.

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Oh wait, you were paying this guy??

Yeah we were paying him like 20$/hour.

Oh shit.

So we just moved onto this studio in Cherry Hill that actually had a booth and it had an engineer set up. It had all that shit that you see in the movies like the knobs and all the little bright lights that made unexperienced motherfuckers walk in here like ‘you know what this is where I’m supposed to be at. So I walk in there and I’m making hella tracks. I’m like – he’s telling me to my face there’s these hood celebrity people that go to his studio. Like hood famous motherfuckers that record there. And he’s telling me that I’m the best rapper coming in this studio at 16 years old. I’m going in here and spending all this money – this studio’s 40$/hour. And I wanted to pay that just because of the action. I’m thinking this shit is supposed to be what it is. I knew nothing about audio. Nothing. I knew nothing about mixing. None of that shit. But I did know if I wanted that quality sound, the urban legend around is you got to go to the studios that cost 150$ an hour. So at 16 I was still wasting hella bread there too cause it all still sounded like trash. I recorded this fire tape there to this day its like a 5/10 just because the mix is terrible.

NEEL LAUGHS – do you still have it though?

I think I can find it – I can dig it up but..

Oh man you should!

The content on that tape is AMAZING..

…But the mix is so trash.

You gotta dig it up!!

I HATE listening to it

It’s like the tape right before I did He So Crazy. It’s trash. Traaaaaash. Hate that tape.

But we eventually like, as far as beats, I didn’t have a producer and I knew that was one of my biggest set backs because nobody out there could make the sound I was ready to bring into the game cause it hasn’t been covered before. It hasn’t been done yet. Plus I have so many ideas as far as what I want my shit to sound like. I can’t just go on youtube and shit and find whats in my head. But thats how I was getting beats at first.

Yeah cause this was almost 10 years ago right?

Yeah so I’m going on sound click, I’m going on YouTube and I’m just ripping it off YouTube. I was going for free downloads too. ’Purchase your track today!’ that type of shit. Whole bunch of them. Just garbage. Shit thats just demeaning to your artistry. I used to keep all of that inside of my trash folder. I just wanted to rap. I was doing that for a while until I ran across Kev Rodgers.

I got introduced to Kev Rodgers and Ish Williams and we just started vibing. Kev had been making shit. Ish went to school with me. We were just vibing off of ideas or I’d spit some acapellas that I was working on. And I’d tell Kev ‘Work on something like this hums melody’ or whatever. We’d do all that at Kev’s house. That’s kinda how the ideas came about. That’s how the He So Crazy tape came about. We’d just ride to Kev’s house, listen to everything, an album about nothing. The song Pam was already out and I’m just like ‘this is a dope ass concept but you know what would be way more fly? If the skits that he put in there actually related to each other and related to the entire project as a whole.’ And the fact that I didn’t watch Seinfeld was another X for me cause I was like ‘Damn, I can’t even relate to Meek fans’ He should’ve done like Martin. So Ish was like ‘Why don’t you just do that?’ I said ‘Damn, that sounds like a lot of work though!’ I already had Pam out though. So then as he said that I sat back and listened and pretty much the whole story painted in my head about how I could build around Pam. I figured I had to tell what happened before Pam, what happened after Pam and I would have a complete story.

That’s awesome.

The rest was just about cutting and pasting. Me and Kev are the biggest Martin fans ever. I could just spit a line and he would know exactly which episode it was. We would have to find where it was at, look it up on YouTube, rip the audio. and create our content. For example. The episode with Gina, she gets a boot on her car she ends up asking for a loan from her neighborhood or whatever for 600$. We just cut that whole scene up and put it after the song so taken out of context, it sounds like Gina is asking Jerome for 600$ to pay for an abortion that we were talking about in the previous track.

Oh shit!

Mhm it sounds seamless like it makes the most sense. So we were doing that on most of the tracks. It was all putting it together like a puzzle.

Wow thats a hell of a journey. I feel like thats the biggest thing interviews and fans breeze over – the first few years of really grinding. Because those experiences really craft an artist and help them find their vision.

I gotta ask, on Kev’s beats.. what’s his tag saying?

His tag? Darnell turn that.. ok here, I’m gonna tell you the whole thing about this. So we’re at Kev’s house right? We used to record in Kev’s closet and Kev’s closet is like a little slide and mirror. I’m like ‘Yo Kev – you understand we’re about to be rich and famous? You need to have this FIRE tag like Metro Boomin has future saying ‘if young metro don’t trust you I’m gon shoot you’’ At the time his sound sound was kind of video games. And he…

Wait around what year would you say this was?

Uhhh probably like 2013 – 2014.

Aight cool.

You heard Fontane, the Musical, right? You know that song The Game?


I’m like you should go with the whole little kid type feel. Cause the fact that we were still recording in his mom’s house and he had the beat that sounded like video games and his mom would always yell for us to turn the beat down. When Kev’s working on a beat and we start feeling it he starts cranking up the volume slowly as the beat gets built. Then his mom comes yelling, his middle name is Darnell, so she yells ‘DARNEL TURN THAT BEAT DOWN’

That’s hilarious. So it’s a really organic thing – not staged. Did you ask her to record that or did the mic pick that up?

It started out as a joke at first. But he got his mom to scream it from a distance and recorded it.

So how does your mom feel about all your work? Especially now that you’re popping off. You’ve built quite the resume.

Oh she’s very supportive. Since day 1. But you know, you’re always going to go through regular shit when you pretty much go off the path that parents thought you were going to go on. Like when I dropped out of school and I got the whole ‘ well why don’t you at least look for a part time job while you’re chasing this dream?’ Stuff like that. She always pretty much believed in what I was going to do since I was young. She always had trust and belief that whatever I was trying to do I was going to go 100%. She let me learn, she let me live life. She was always the type to say ‘I cannot tell you not to do something’ you know what I mean?

I got my first tattoo with my mom when I was 16 cause you can’t get one alone until 18 but you can get one at 16 with a parent. So I ended up getting my first tattoo after my freshman year of high school. She had 6 tattoos and I was with her when she got one of them so how you gonna tell me not to get one?

We’ve always had that type of relationship. That it was me and her since forever. That’s like my best friend. There’s a lot of trust there.

I’m really glad you have that, man.

Thanks bruh.

Here’s a question about the music – I personally thought that you had a lot more storytelling on earlier project but with Camden, why is there less story telling? Cause that’s something you’re really good at. I your watched Sway interview and that’s something he even said. You are a storyteller.


I guess I can kind of understand because you want to appeal to a wider audience. As you, not you specifically but an artist in general, grow and build a fan base you diversify. You have some of your slow jams, you have your bangers, you have some ignant shit, you have your deep shit – you have a little bit of everything. So all in all, the direction that you took with Camden how was that different from your earlier projects? Were you influenced by the label signing to go a different route?

No not at all. The approach I took with Camden was.. Well, one, as far as story telling goes I’m great at storytelling. That’s what I do – I can do that in my sleep. So, one, I wanted to challenge myself on Camden. And, two, the storytelling tracks are not as fun to perform. You know?

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That’s true.

I wouldn’t say it’s stale but it’s like the old hip-hop type of ‘I’m gonna walk around stage real slow and give you these bars’ haha. But when I’m bigger and I have a budget and I can get on my Kanye type shit and I can play along on stage while I’m performing and do what I’ve got in my heart.. Then maybe I can make more of that type of music but for now when it comes to my live performances, I just get lit with the song and its better than going up there and reciting the song word for word.

Yeah, it’s more of a performance then.

I did that a lot during my earlier stages. I realized that when I was doing those storytelling songs the energy of the room is different, everything slows down even though everybody is paying attention to you its not… how can i put it.. it’s not as fun, honestly. When I’m doing songs like Still In The Hood and WYD and then you throw in a Shorty Story what do you do after that? Like what do you do to follow up a Shorty Story? That’s a dark ass story! You try to pick it back up with Still in the Hood? Ehhhh that’s a rough transition. People are still in that last song.

It’s similar to how people talk about Kendrick with To Pimp A Butterfly because he didn’t tour a lot of that.

He couldn’t! It’s more of a sit down, thought invoking album. I didn’t want to do that with all of Camden. I wanted it to be fun. I wanted to experiment with my vocals. I still wanted to get that commercial bill but not commercial? I wanted to pretty much take the reality, the darkness, and the grittiness of this city and try to doll it up but still making it ugly as possible.

And I think you did that very well.

Thanks, I tried to keep it as heavy as possible while still hiding it behind beautiful melodies and current kicking beats and all that. At the end of the day you’ll still listen to the content. I pretty much my whole career was trying to find the medium between lyrics, I’m a 90’s baby so I love all that Biggie Smalls shit but boom bap shit is so boring to watch on stage. And I also love the new trap beats where people get all hyped and shit but they’re not talking about anything at all. So to mix both of them, meet that in the middle – I feel like thats the perfect wave of where the game is going right now.

If you’ve got story telling behind dope beats. Energetic but at the same time you’re saying something so dark or so deep and thought provoking.. You win!

Exactly. That’s why I think XO Tour Lyfe was popping so much at first. People were calling it ‘emo trap at first’


To be fair, I think that’s the same reason Travis Scott popped off with Rodeo. The beats were amazing and there was some decent storytelling. There was a lot of emotion too. He was able to rep Houston and talk about all that but people could still go stupid when the crazy beat drops.

Yeah, a lot of people will remember the song even more if lyrics are just as good as the beat because then the two coincide and create an emotion. It creates a moment. So every time you’ll hear Down By The River you always gonna remember the first time you heard it, where you were at, why you were feeling that way, why it touched you, how it changed you… you remember why you’re a Mir Fontane fan. You’re gonna remember why.

Let’s talk about Camden a little. I’m not gonna ask you to pick your favorite track because that’s like picking your favorite child

MIR LAUGHS – thanks.

Frank Ocean – That’s the first thing I heard from you and it caught my attention right away. I remember thinking it was really good. Not just good, but smart. You picked a title that’s gonna get you attention, Frank Ocean. Then you interpolated Nights which is genius. The beat is great. You added, like you said, the element of story telling to the great beat. Could you talk a little bit about the composition of the track? Where were you in the timeline of the project when it came about? Go for it.

Frank Ocean came about during the middle. I think Blonde just came out probably a week or two ago. I was kinda late on Blonde… But I was listening to Nights and I was like ‘this is fire’. It gave me that feeling that I had with Nostalgia/Ultra. At the same time I’m signed to 300, I’m still living in Camden. You would think that I’m pretty much on top of the world.

But it pretty much brought up a situation where I am unsure in myself but as far as my city. Am I really the golden child that my city will accept even though I’m pretty much doing everything that the city has been begging for for years. It was about putting all of that into a song. So I personify Camden as a woman. As opposed to me actually talking about me a girl I’m with and she’s playing everyone except me. I’m with my city and I’m like ‘why don’t you love me the way that you love Drake when he drops his new shit or the way that you love Cole when he drops his new shit? When you gave birth to me how you gonna love all these other niggas? That’s crazy! I fucks with them, but I wanna be the one that you hold favorite over everybody else thats not even from here or could give 2 fucks about you once they got their bread. They don’t even know who you are.

I pretty much made Camden into a woman. Not only in this song but the entire album. If you listen to it with that ear you’ll be mind blown. Real Niggas, is about Camden. It’s not a woman. It’s me and Camden having a conversation about how she’s gold digging and the fact that I’m really on now and she wants to act like she’s been supporting from the jump. The whole ‘I’m a lover in the winter but a savage in the summer’ Camden’s quiet as shit during the winter cause it’s too cold to do anything but when that summertime comes around thats when everyone starts dying, people get shot, everybody wants to fight, it’s nice outside but for whatever reason when it’s nice I’m in a bad mood. The entire album is called Camden because it’s an ode to this bitch named Camden that I’ve known my entire life and its a love hate relationship.

I love that. That’s awesome – are you a big Kanye fan?

I love Kanye.

Good – I didn’t have to end this early haha. You know his song Homecoming right? The first time I heard that and at the end when it finally clicked that he was talking to the Chi as this girl.. that just blew my mind. What you told me just made me feel that way again. Where’d you film that video?

We shot it in Paulsboro, that’s where we shot the house scene. We shot the other scenes in Camden. I wanted to shoot the whole thing in Camden but it doesn’t have the type of houses that I wanted to get that scene off. They don’t have front yards or anything so I wouldn’t be able to get to the side.

That’s cool. It’s a really cool video concept. Who are the guys standing around you in that scene?

You got John, my manager, Chris, my promoter and assistant – he helps a lot. Fletch, my stylist…

You got a stylist? Woo – boy you made it!

Yeah it was pretty much supposed to be like a symbolic representation that I’m trying to get this girl’s attention but I seem to be getting everybody else’s attention but hers. Everybody wants to follow behind me or take my lead when I’m just focused on her which is pretty much how I started rapping in the first place. It was a call back to that.. I was trying to stunt on this jawn who didn’t see the potential in me, I was like ‘you understand I’m really bout to be a big time rapper?’ At the time I was going by the name mir got bars, I said ‘you understand mir got bars bout to be worldwide? Get signed all that?’

But growing up where I grew up, that doesn’t happen and you don’t see that happen so she ain’t believe none of that. Like I said earlier – people who doubt me.. I take that and I use it… it makes me angry. I want to do, not only do it but I want to do it 10x after I did it just to shit on you that much more. I hate people who doubt me. So yeah, that was pretty much that. I just wanted to add that symbolic callback that I was giving shorty too much clout know what I mean?

I feel that. It’s about you and not about her.


So on This Life, talk about how that track came together cause that’s another stand out to me. I really like the production and I think it’s a very powerful track to lead the project with. I was playing Camden in my car and my gf was with me, the intro just finished and she turns to me and asks ‘did she just get shot?’ and I said yeah. That really got her attention, you know? Then This Life came on and she was engaged. How did that come together?

So imagine the woman in the beginning is a symbolic representation of what’s about to happen as far as Mir Fontane, what’s about to be shown to the world. Theres a lot of envy surrounding all of that, There’s hope, there’s joy, theres a lot of things behind it. After that it leads into This Life which talks about me being the first person from the city to be in the position that I’m in, to see the things that I’ve seen, shake the hands that I’ve shaken. I feel like I’m in a position to tell those who are still in the city about how things have changed for me as far as my life now and its a song about the transition from this kid that was unknown a year ago and now getting crazy buzz, appreciation, and recognition from some of the higher ups in the game. I talk about where I came from and where I’m headed. It’s a summary before the album even starts.

I like that a lot. Is it Travis Scott influenced at all?

I don’t think so at all.

The first time I heard it I heard it I was driving around and I misheard it as ‘this side’ and the ‘ooo’s’ in the beginning reminded me of him.

I get what you’re saying – so ‘this side’ means south side, south side of New Jersey. Me, Kev, and Ish Williams created that. We call it ‘this side’, ‘the ends’, because the logo of south side is two dollar signs. Money is also called the ends, making the ends meet. So if I learned everything from the ends I learned it all from the money. I usually point to the dollar signs tatted on my wrist when I perform that so if I’m from the ends, I learned it all in the end, all from the money.

The oo’s and the aa’s are just about me experimenting with my voice. Using it as an instrument and filling out tracks. Even earlier in my career I didn’t like ad-libs or doubling. I felt like once I get it down, I got it down. No extra shit. But I developed as an artist. I used to think singing was stupid as shit! I didn’t think I was that good of a singer anyway. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself out here. But now it’s about different things that I can do and try, different things that me and my engineer can accomplish.

And who was your engineer for the project?

Kenif Muse. He’s awesome. He’s featured on Ain’t Afraid.

He makes beats too right?


He and Kev, whew. Their production is very tight. Those are some really good beats.

Yeah, they did their thing on that.

Well what can we expect from you next? I know you announced a few dates for a tour.

Yeah we’re still on tour now – you can expect new music soon. Just working hard. You can expect Shorty Story, a mini movie. I don’t know how I’mma do it yet. Other visuals for the album. Got some features coming out soon. Just keep on pushing forward.

You gonna come up to Boston and play soon?

Yeah I’ve been to Boston maybe 3 times now.

You gotta come through again!


I gotta ask, now you’re on 300..Have you met Lyor?

Have I met Lyor? I haven’t. I got signed to 300 after he left to go work with YouTube. I met Kevin though, I haven’t met Lyor personally yet.

How about Thugger?

I haven’t met Thugger either – every time I’m up there he’s not up there.

Real quick – Who would you love to work with in the scene right now?

Quavo. Me and Post Malone would probably make some fire. I got something for Travis too whenever that comes around.

And what are the last few things that you’ve listened to?



I try not to listen to everything thats out, cause then you start subconsciously sounding like them.

That’s true – you end up mimicking them.

So I try to stick to on what I just dropped, what I’m about to drop, or what I’m working on now. I’m out of the loop kinda but if one of the homies sends me something I’ll listen to it.

I just watched the Kendrick ELEMENT video. That shit was amazing. That might be one of the best videos of all time.

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What about outside of hiphop? Anything you listen to that people might not think you listen to?

I listen to Stevie Wonder. That’s one of my favorite artists of all time.

You like on the Frank album how he has Close to You and how he sampled Stevie Wonder playing that live? You know what I’m talking about? There’s this video of him with the talk box and Frank sampled that on the track.

Uhhhh I think i remember that… wait.. he put that on the album didn’t he?

Yeah –

Ahh I knew that sounded familiar – ‘Clooooooose to youuuu!


Yeah I seen that video a while ago but I didn’t even know, thats wild. I definitely listen to a lot of Stevie, some John Legend, Lauryn Hill.. but thats still hiphop.

Yeah, that’s all still pretty close to hiphop.

Uh Isley Brothers…

You said melody came to you from 90’s music – any pop songs?

Hmm…. I don’t know about pop. Well there’s a couple songs.. What’s that Justin Timberlake song… Gone?

With T.I.?

Nah nah nah… It was with NSYNC. It was called Gone though. it went…. ‘gone! youuuure gone, baby giiiirl you’re..’ and Cry Me A River. I like those two.

Oh oh oh yeah – Justin Timberlake is fire.

I listen to a lot of 90’s RnB, a lot of smooth jazz, a lot of slow jams that type of stuff when I try to give my brain a break. If i try to force myself to write I get into a writer’s block. I try to find balance, when I’m listening to RnB and stuff like that – slower and more soulful songs… it eases my mind so I can go back into writing.

Yeah, I feel that. Well that’s all I had. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

No problem.

Congrats on all the success, congrats on the new project – people really like it. I saw you did XXL, HotNewHipHop, you have some tour dates coming up.

If people could take 2 or 3 things away from you as an artist, what would you want them to know?

I want them to know that anything is possible…

‘Im from Jerseyyy babyyy’?

Haha definitely, I am from New Jersey. But yeah, I’m from Jersey, anything is possible, gotta find art in any situation. No matter how bad things look it never rains forever.

Thank you. ‘Preciate you man.

I appreciate you too! I’m rooting for you, alright? Come play a show up here.

Definitely bro, thanks.

Catch Mir Fontane on Instagram @mirfontane and be sure to listen to Camden a few times. All photos via his Instagram.

Kev Rodgers

Ish Williams

Kenif Muse

D. Sanders

On a Monday night I don’t typically do too much; I’ll go home and work on music or write for the blog. A paid job to an unpaid one. But this past Monday night I beelined from work out the door and impatiently waited for a lyft to take me to Cambridge.

I patted myself down in the the crisp Boston air to make sure I had everything I needed: wallet, phone, keys, hand recorder, headphones…. fuck. I left my headphones on my desk.

Oh well..’ 

I thought to myself, if I really need them I’m sure someone else will lend me a pair.

20 trafficky minutes later I found myself still in traffic. I thanked the driver and got out to walk the rest of the way. I walked past two tour vans and turned my gaze to the one with an Oregon plate to find some tired looking bodies past my own reflection. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about knocking on the door and introducing myself then and there but I didn’t want to ruin any pre-show rituals or prayers. If I were that far from home and fighting a cold on the night of a performance I wouldn’t want any surprise visitors coming to check out my already cozy quarters.


Chris Calor in the van. shot by @forrestjaqua

I walked past the van and towards the venue to find myself about 15th in line for the meet and greet event. The more shows I go to the older I find myself in comparison to the crowd. Again, oh well. The girl in front of me looked up who’s playing the show on her phone and told her friend she found him cute. Iz-eye-ah? The kids behind me thought out loud about how to pose for their pictures and mourned the lack of couches in what they thought would be an intimate meet and greet. Instead we were all in a line that looped itself past will call, down the hall, to the right, past the coat check and into the main room preceding the venue. Anyone who’s been to The Sinclair knows what I’m talking about.

Although I felt old compared to most of the fans I couldn’t beat the heartwarming father who had seemingly taken his young son to the event. My mom would never have taken me to meet a rapper.

Eventually Isaiah Rashad showed up in an Adidas clad outfit looking radiant and worry free. Very unlike someone that’s been on the road for a few weeks. The line slowly mulled along as I watched his interaction with each and every fan that came to support him. Isaiah followed the lead of the fans as they determined just how intimate the interaction would be. Some shy kids tried an awkward handshake, got their poster signed, picture taken, and then left. Others screamed and hugged him almost too hard as they soaked up the warmth from Isaiah’s generous smile. If it weren’t for his manager, Matt Miller, they would’ve stood there talking for well over their allotted time slot. This whole time I’m giggling at the funny encounters and watching from maybe 10-15 feet away. Now and then Isaiah’s eyes met mine and I wondered what he was thinking. Maybe he did the same.

I got to the front of the line and greeted Zay. I told him I’m a fan and to keep up the good work as we squared up for a picture.


Cambridge 1.30.17

Matt took our picture. Then I told Isaiah that in between student loans, bills, and an expensive music habit I had forgotten to buy a ticket to the show itself. I offered him 20$ then and there to get me into the show. Little did I know that the meet and greet line spat us fans out into the main venue area. But anyway Isaiah listened to my plea and then said ‘Sure man. Let me talk to Matt.’ He called over Matt, the manager, and they both agreed to add my name to a list. Eternally gratefully I shook his hand again and wished him luck at the show.

The Sinclair is a great and intimate venue. Getting to the stage is easy and the balcony is plenty close to the action as well. At this point it was only 6:15 and the show didn’t start until 7:30.

I wandered away from the young crowd swarming the vacant stage and noticed Chris Calor standing next to a wall watching the meet and greet. After telling him I’m a fan and asking some production questions he pointed behind me and said ‘D. Sanders right behind you, man.’ I turned around and quietly surveying our encounter was D. Sanders, a fellow producer to Chris Calor and a main producer for The Sun’s Tirade. We exchanged some pleasantries as well.


D.Sanders – TDE ScHoolboy Q Merch


The show started with TDE’s Lance Skiiiwalker crooning to the crowd off of his 2016 album Introverted Intuition. The crowd started to vibe with him as he danced about the stage with rope lights wrapped around his microphone stand.

Next went Jay IDK who spit fire emojis from behind a Reagan facemask. His claim is to be Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge. I got a vibe similar to Kendrick’s message in ADHD

we never do listen / / Unless it comes with an 808, a melody and some hoes

Then came the headliner, Isaiah Rashad. He played an energetic set and captivated everyone with his rapping, singing, and dancing. Seriously, if you’re reading this you should go see him.

The show ended and the crowd cleared. Another crowd started up in the same room as the meet and greet but this time circled around the merch tables that had been recently set up. I thought about buying some of the merch when I noticed D. Sanders selling the merch himself. I waited patiently for the crowd to funnel out until all that was left was me, D.Sanders, some security, and some girls trying unsuccessfully to get backstage.

We exchanged pleasantries again as I reintroduced myself and asked for his time. He was more than happy but had to consult with Matt first. I watched as he shimmied out from behind the table and over to Matt who was managing the second meet and greet of the night. After some motioning they both looked over in my direction and I smiled back at them while waving my hand recorder. Matt gave a subtle, approving head nod and D.Sanders came on over to talk.

We made ourselves comfortable in the plastic chairs behind the merch tables. I started to fumble with my hand recorder:

Neel: There we go. Think it can hear us now. Oh.. Check, check, check. Check, check, check..


D.Sanders: Nah man – you good. You do your thing.


This is Neel from the Neel Show and we’re with?

D. Sanders.

And what do you do?

I’m a producer, engineer, and dj.

He’s most recently featured all over The Sun’s Tirade – Isaiah Rashad.

On four tracks off The Sun’s Tirade Des, aka D. Sanders, shares production credit with only 1 other producer. You don’t see that much these days. More frequently you find 1 powerhouse producer with 3 or 4 other people and god knows who did what on the beat. Des is also the mastermind behind other hits like Heavenly Father and Smile.

How’s working on that?

It was a brutal two years.

2 years?

Yes. But you know, nothing of value comes easy so it was definitely worth all the struggle and everything.

So I gotta ask you about that – 2 years.. did you start at a certain date thinking ‘Alright this is for the next project’ or are you always just constantly creating and you know you have what you have and then Zay comes up to you at some point and you say ‘hey i got this but I’m working on these and these are some ideas.’?

How does it go for you guys?

We’re constantly working. Always working on something.. and then when we got kinda geared towards a project we were just focused on that I guess and then we thought it was coming out way earlier than when it did.

Yeah everyone was waiting for it.


Yeah It was just like we thought it would come out in 3 months and then 3 months turned into 6 months 6  months turned into a year and so on. It was just.. just a constant process I guess.

And what was, if you can remember, the crowning moment in which you realized ’alright, this is a sound that we wanna adopt for this album. This project.’?

Des sat back in his chair and took a deep breath as he looked up searching for an answer. His cool calm made me feel like we were just 2 friends catching each other up on some significant life events. He leaned in closer to me as he found an answer –

Probably close to when he heard ‘4r Da Squaw’

‘4r Da Squaw’?

Yeah by Francis.


Homie FrancisGotHeat.

Yeah, he’s great.

He played that and I don’t know.. that’s probably the one song that just stuck around the whole like at least like a year and a half. It was the most consistent…so I’d have to say ‘4r Da Squaw’ for sure.

Nice. Yeah I saw a video of Francis recently when he was doing the beat battles with Wondagurl.

Oh yeah, yeah. I know exactly what you’re talking about.


But his beats were banging.

He’s the shit! Yeah Francis is the shit for sure.

It was so funny. And I found out he was on that beat and I was like ‘Wow. That’s awesome’

Yeah. He’s tight.

Neel and Des LAUGH

That beat battle I referenced can be found below. It was FrancisGotHeat vs. Wondagurl. This was about 5 years ago. Funny how time flies and hard work pays off as the two producers recently shared production credit on Ab Soul’s Do What Thou Wilt. 


So do you work with Chris a lot?

Chris..? Calor? Yeah. That’s like my brother. He’s my homie. Chris is just like Zay.

And how do you divide ideas/credit amongst yourselves? 

Yeah, uh.. It’s more like if he has an idea I add onto it or if I have an idea he adds onto it. Other than that it’s just us two in the studio taking turn working on the beat.

Nice. And how many hours would you say you average in the studio… During the heat of the moment? You sleep there?

Easily 16-20 hours.


Wow. You get the food right there and back to work huh?

You get the food and sit in the studio… smoke.. get back home like 5, 6 o’ clock in the morning.


And head back to the studio around 11.

And you’re still living in LA right now?

Uhhhhm.. I don’t know, I’m just kind of a nomad right now.



Cause tour life you’re everywhere for 4 months. You’ve got no home.

Yeah everywhere. Right before tour I was in Korea so..

You were in Korea? What were you doing there?

I was just signing with a label in Korea.


Yeah so I was out there handling all that and then came back and then right into tour.

Des recently signed on with BANA aka beasts and natives. He comes from a Korean mother who met his father while he was in the air force and stationed in Korea. His mother taught him Korean from a young age and instilled on him a sense of Korean pride. We bonded over growing up and being interested in music while your mom shits on your dream. Thankfully both our mothers now support us.

Another name you might see on his social media accounts is his Korean name, Son Dae Hyun. Shout out to all my Korean friends from highschool and their moms that introduced so many wonderful foods to me.

How was Korea?

Korea was awesome.

What parts did you go to? I’m guessing like –

I was in –


– Yeah

– the whole time yeah.


It was amazing.

Were they crazy for you guys over there? You guys do any shows or any pop ups or anything?

Uhhm. I dj’ed new years eve right at 12 o’ clock and then I dj’ed like the night before I left so I had hella fun.


That shit was awesome!

How are Korean crowds? They turn up too?

Oh they love it. They loooove it. Hip hop is still such a new market out there so..

Yeah, definitely.

They loved everything. They loved every single song.

Its funny because I definitely feel like the KPOP is kinda coming over here. More people are like ‘that’s catchy – that’s happy. I like that shit.’ 

Yeah for sure.

And then hiphop over there.. They had that version of OG Maco’s U Guessed It called.. It G Ma.

Yeah It G Ma!

It really was interesting to think that Des is exploring and pioneering a subset of a genre that seems so commonplace to us here in the States. Feelings are communicated without language though, so I have no doubt that he will help build up the scene there. Same stuff, different language.

So yeah, how’s the future looking for you man?

It’s looking really good. As long as I just keep working. After tour I’m planning on going back to Korea for like a month and a half to work on my album.

In Korea? Shit. That’s awesome.

Yeah, come back and then just keep working on music. I’m working on music all the time so I mean I know that’s gonna remain a constant.

That’s awesome. That makes me so happy to hear.

Well thank you for your time man.

No, thank you, thank you!

Really appreciate it

Appreciate you, bro.


I have no doubt that whatever Des works on next will be great. At such a young age he’s already so driven and established in now 2 countries. His humble and patient attitude sets him far apart from his peers in the industry. Be on the lookout for his next project. You can be sure to find it on here.



D. Sanders Soundcloud