When you think of Hip-hop history in Harlem there is a pretty extensive list of legendary and influential emcees. We can go as far back as to the days of Kurtis Blow and Kool Moe Dee. The 90’s era of Hip-hop which produced acts like the legendary spitter Big L, and future stars who at the time were just young and upcoming acts Ma$e and Cam’ron. Take it to the 2000s and the arrival of the Dipset movement which influenced music and fashion regardless of region and inspired future Harlem conglomerate A$AP Mob. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of some of the cultural icons who’ve roamed these Harlem streets. Don Mykel is a product of that environment and that reflects in his music. I had the opportunity to speak with Don and see how these acts inspired him to become a dope emcee.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from ?
My name is Don MyKel Infinite, I am A Hip Hop artist, model, actor, screenwriter and creative director born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem.
Harlem has a strong lineage of dope emcees guys like Cam, Big L, Ma$e the whole Dipset movement, the A$AP Mob movement, Vado, and Dave East just to name a few, were any of these guys an influence on you?
Yea definitely, I grew up on Dipset, Ma$e and Big L freestyles and the Asap wave hit when I was In HS so they definitely became an influence to me and the rest of the culture.
When did you first start rapping, when did you realize I have a real talent with this?
I’ve been rapping since before I could formulate complete sentences. My pops had old VHS tapes of me flowing at 3 years old over beats with no real words yet. My first rap performance was in the first grade at my school talent show. My aunts and uncle sat me down from young and really molded my skills along with my pops. It wasn’t until I was about 14 when I realized I was exceptionally good and decided to pursue it as my career.
Back in 2017, you killed a 5FOD ( 5 Fingers of Death) Freestyle on Sway In The Morning. Do you prefer to freestyle or do you write lyrics?
Na I’m definitely a writer. That’s what I do. That’s what I pride myself on and its also my release. Writing is therapeutic for me whether its bars, poetry or a tweet. I write to vent and release my inner expressions, but I also love free-styling. It’s something me and gang practice every day.
NYC is the home of Hip-Hop but many of its artists are sometimes confined into a box trying to keep a sound that’s “true to the city” how do you make music that appeals to New Yorkers yet test new waters?
The New York sound or as I like to say the vintage sound of hip-hop is in my blood. I can make that type of shit in my sleep, but as a pure artist and a fan of many different genres and forms of music, I naturally express myself in a variety of ways through sound. I accredit my versatility to that. I can go from listening to [Big] Pun to Thug in one sitting so that tends to show in my music.
If you could choose anyone who would be an artist or producer you really would want to lock-in with and work on a track or an entire project with?
Damn, that’s a hard question. I would love to make an album with Erykah Badu. Like a soulful, Hip Hop and RnB collab. With Kanye on production. Smh that would be brazy.
In your opinion how can NYC get back to the top of the throne in hip-hop?
In my opinion, we never left, lol Hov is a billionaire. We got Cardi and Nicki at the top. And a lot of upcoming talent too. As long as we continue to innovate like we’re known for, we should be fine.
If you can give a shout out to anyone who would you shout out ?
Shoutout to the Whole city. Shoutout to the werewolves out there in the midst of the Jungle. Stay strong and stay aware. Shoutout to the gang. 2:23’s all my 545’s. They know the vibes. And shoutout to everyone supporting me and even if you don’t. I pray for light and creative energy across the entire universe. Shoutout to everyone. Love is love.
Lastly what does the rest of 2019 and the future hold for Don Mykel ?
2019 will be filled with more content, more music, and more advancements. As far as the future goes. We got a long road ahead of us. I plan on evolving and expanding and providing as much aid to the world as this vessel allows me before my time is up.