April 24, 2020

Interview: D Tha Don

AirdriftSignals: Hi D Tha Don, what’s good?!

D Tha Don: Just working on the music man. I gotta single coming tomorrow and another video shoot next week.

AirSig: That's awesome to hear! I see you are based out of Pittsburgh. Has the city presented a lot of opportunities artistically?

D Tha Don: Yes, and I would have to say the city did not provide many opportunities early on, however, I live in a city and country where if you work hard to put GOD first, you can create your own opportunities! As time went on support started to come from different sources.

AirSig: And the labels you manage, can you tell us all a little more about that?

D Tha Don: I currently manage 3 labels. I’m the president of Banditfide, manage Queenie Moët, and also a manager for her label QME. I also currently have my own company Phenomenally Dope Ent.

AirSig: In the social media age, what do you think it takes to market and take your team to the next level?

D Tha Don: Consistency and marketing.

AirSig: Is there anything that you’d like to share with us about your recent mixtape from November?

D Tha Don: Yes I dropped a joint project with Ruzee Ru called Banditfide Sh*t, one of the hottest albums to come out the city in a while.

AirSig: I see you’ve also recently released a new music video, America, along with several others. This one honors Black History Month and features socially conscious lyrics. How do you feel about using your voice and your talent as a platform for socially conscious messages and change?

D Tha Don: If GOD gives me the power to reach somebody through music or if He lets my music change life for the better of the people socially or historically then that would be one of my greatest accomplishments in life.

AirSig: And your other videos, Murder That, and In This World, is there anything you'd like to share about the messages you're trying to put forward? 

D Tha Don: Yes, in the Murda That video, I’m simply conveying if you love woman, been in love with before, or currently, you know what I’m saying if you listen to the song, I’m basically saying make love to your woman wholeheartedly in my own way! lol

And In this World I created because of my kids I have a teenager and she is very smart and talented she be teaching me stuff, I tell her and her brother “you can be anything in this world” every day because they can! With GOD anything is possible!

AirSig: Speaking of In This World, your video shows you wearing a face mask, and our interview and your music's timing is now reflecting a new post-COVID-19 world. How do you think it's going to change the business in the months and years to come?

D Tha Don: Yes in the In this World video I wore a mask because of what’s going on with COVID-19 in poor minority communities throughout the world. Like everyone else in the world I’m concerned about the virus I don’t think things will be the same, but rather they will be or not I don't fear about things that kill can the body, I fear who can kill the body and soul! I keep my faith in GOD and try to strive to be a better person I come from a rough past but now I see a brighter future!

AirSig: Could you name some artists who have specifically inspired you growing up?

D Tha Don: Nas, Tupac, Biggie, etc.

AirSig: Have you got anything else from you or your team coming out in the near future that you would like to share with us?

D Tha Don: Yes another album, Banditfide 2. Then I'm dropping an EP this year called Struggles. Be on the lookout for the EP and video coming soon!

AirSig: What would you give for advice to those who are looking to make a rewarding career in the music business?

D Tha Don: Make sure your paperwork is right, only work with people working hard like you, stay consistent, and lastly don’t give up!

D Tha Don can be heard on all music streaming platforms. Check out his latest stream of singles and check out his last LP Banditfide Sh*t with his group Banditfide as well! You can read our full review of his latest LP here.

Banditfide - Banditfide Album Review

Tryna Get It Entertainment presents Banditfide Sh*t, the latest LP from Pittsburgh hip-hop group, Banditfide, which stars D Tha Don, Ruzee Ru Sbz, and Queenie Moët.

The debut album is a promise of greatness and unending drive that doesn't pull any punches, and while each member has their own careers ahead of them, Banditfide Sh*t displays strength and prominence of the Pittsburgh trio as they come together.

Banditfide On Me Tee is the opening track, and it enters with dreamy nursery-rhyme style chimes that are quickly joined by trap hi-hats, bass, and a snare while the group chants their brand they represent. Their way of life is to rep Banditfide on their chests and trample over anyone who doesn't sport their mark with loyalty and strength. It's a powerful intro to an album that tells their respective stories of life in the city and the struggles they've overcome. Hores, featuring Ray Rocka takes a swerve into a dirty and trap-infused track about "hores", which is as tongue-in-cheek as it is bangin'. The wordplay is amusing, shocking, and humorous, but it nevertheless still pulls the listener in and elicits a curiosity at what they've got in store for this album.

Walk-Ins breaks up the tempo of the previous track and D Tha Don leads with his signature style of dark, tremolo-vocals with a front-facing message of how it's not about the tools you're given, but how you put them to use. The 808s, snare, and trap hats all make an atmosphere and headspace that is addicting as D The Don flows effortlessly with the knowledge he's gained. Camo continues this slow and dangerous drawl that crawls through the urban jungle while the militant gangster rap by Ruzee Ru Sbz forms an aggressive mantra that is chest-thumping and dangerous in vibe and lyrics. D The Don also takes a stab with a murderous verse.

Everything Banditifide creates an eerie whistle of a beat while D Tha Don focuses the track and raps about everything that Banditfide identifies with. It's a statement of life and death and the neverending promise to stay true and stay Banditfide. They Talk About Me is another angle to Banditfide's dynamic aura and while the trio addresses the talkers and naysayers, they set themselves up as the go-getters of the industry. They acknowledge that they've experienced the resistance of some through the years, their goals and passion remain unchanged. Different is the song that pulls the focus back and turns it toward the women. It's one of a couple of tracks that feature love interests, and this one gets an addicting club vibe rolling as it easily applies to their significant others while they make their promise to take care of and treat their women right.

Funeral, featuring Wave Prophet, gives D The Don the mic again with his observations about death being one of the only times people care and show their love, a sad truth for some who are in the crosshairs of those who hate. Its production mixes with Eastern flute melodies, which makes it a slow and unfurling beauty to behold. This beautiful mix of gangsterfied zen that D The Don fluidly builds is one of the many facets of Banditfide. Strap On Me feels like the next logical progression from Funeral, as it is the group's way to avoid a premature obituary. Rock & Roll, featuring Mil, is a play on the words, while D Tha Don repeats, "you know how we rock, you know how we roll." It's another bout of thug-life storytelling that D and Ruzee take turns to lay down hard truths that crush weak minds and break brittle bones. It's dark and a reality check for those who don't live in their city.

Really features Jaii Locc for more hardcore blasting the nonstop sh*t-talking that haters tend to do. Glo is a self-proclamation that these members will continue to shine despite the obstacles, while Wat It Do unveils a beautifully coated beat for Banditfide to roll to that proves both sultry and catchy. Live Life features another day in the life of Banditfide Sh*t. Break You Off strums with a creative and fluttering beat. Taboo Friday and Infrared grind the final moments of Banditfide Sh*t hard and doesn't stop for any weak-minded fools.

Banditfide Sh*t is the new testament this Pittsburgh hip-hop group lives by. Any hip-hop head who's into that deeper, hardcore vibe will dig Banditfide's flood of 808s, addictive synths, and real-world swagger. At the end of the day, it's a promising debut that shows that Banditfide has a lot of passion and stories to share with the world, and it's a chapter that will lead to even greater things in the future. You can read our exclusive interview with member D Tha Don here.

Recommended Tracks: Camo, Funeral, Rock & Roll

April 14, 2020

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts V: Together & Ghosts VI: Locusts Album Reviews

Just over 12 years since the debut of the instrumental, ambient, and cinematic soundscape series Ghosts I-IV, seasoned film and television composer duo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, aka Nine Inch Nails, release their surprise twin albums Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts, to help aid an ailing world in the midst of a global pandemic crisis.

As opposed to their earlier 4-LP project, which was released as a singular 36-track drop, these two LPs feel more fully developed and focused, while I-IV consisted of a 36-day project that was a reactive experience to various environmental and urban visuals (which are a part of any purchase of the release). It is important to note that Ghosts I-IV preceded a lengthy string of soundtracks composed by Reznor and Ross for various films and television shows, most notably The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Patriot's Day, Bird Box, and Watchmen.

It is then easy to see, along with the cinematic aesthetic of some of the tracks on their Bad Witch EP, how much Reznor and Ross's musical landscape from soundtracks to Nine Inch Nails blend into an ominous, sonic, purgatory or no man's land, where hope and danger lurk around every corner. In 2020, however, Nine Inch Nails surprised a world sheltering-in-place with a pair of companion albums that both offer hope of togetherness and also shadows of doubt.

Ghosts V: Together

Together, as the name suggests, is the more ambient and hopeful release. Beautiful piano melodies, swelling voices, and cautious synths encapsulate a mood that Reznor and Ross have been known to highlight in the quiet spaces of previous Nine Inch Nails albums. Letting Go While Holding On is a perfect example of a meditative, transportive track that is meant to be experienced rather than listened to; its length borders on the 10-minute mark. Other tracks follow the same trajectory, such as Together, With Faith, Apart, and Still Right Here, which all meet or exceed this runtime.

While some of these songs could have easily been purposed for a film or television score, the message of togetherness over loneliness is instead conveyed through their popular industrial, electronic, ambient, rock moniker, a vehicle which by default will get more attention from a suffering world. Hope We Can Again serves up this message just right, as an expectancy of normalcy after the fallout is performed by a slow and innocent piano as droning echoes slowly fill the space and eventually overpower the track with an ear-splitting hiss. It all breaks away though and relieves the tension with a sweet and melancholy piano coda.

Your Touch opens with an almost religious-like atmosphere as if being performed on an organ in a cathedral, with angelic choirs and a free-floating synth that is playful and contrasts with the somber walking piano. Still Right Here, the album's closing track, is easily the most Nine Inch Nails-y of the eight. After a few minutes of quiet introspection, a repeated and distant guitar riff starts to enter from the haze, and it builds into a crescendo and flurry of electronic syncopation and drum beats, reminiscent of their Add Violence EP released a couple of years prior. Its presence is short-lived though as it quickly dissipates into radio static and unsettling atmospheres, a fitting transition into the darker and more dangerous backdrop of Locusts. 

Ghosts VI: Locusts

If Together could put aside all the concern and despair, then Locusts fully leans into it, with more chilling textures and foreboding atmospheres to match. Its opening track, The Cursed Clock, turns the piano melody over and over, as if hoping that things will change, all the while doom slowly rolls in. The dissonance from extra sounds and tones that enter the space work to disorient and almost sicken with its engineered physiological aura. Obviously, Reznor and Ross have become masters at capturing and encapsulating a mood into music, and the remainder of Locusts drives this point even further.

Around Every Corner is a stylistic departure from the signature NIN sound in the sense that it pulls from a dusty and deserted alleyway with its muted trumpet that wails through the darkness. It still has the piano walk and armada of drones at the ready, but the inclusion of a trumpet gives Locusts a slightly dusty and jazzy vibe, which is a welcome addition to the pair's overall sound. Run Like Hell, like the rest of the tracks, puts forward a feeling and sound that perfectly matches up with its title, as acoustic percussion beats to the rhythm of running before taking off into a manic race for survival, complete with several woodwinds, unnerving static, and instrumentation that puts the horror right in front of the listener. It eventually crashes right into its following track, When It Happens (Don't Mind Me), which is a dizzying house of cymbals and chimes that sounds as if an alarm is going off.

The feeling of this album as a soundtrack to the movie of our lives is a hard notion to shake, as several more tracks continue this suite of overwhelming despair and anxiety. Another Crashed Car comes off minimal and effectively eerie, which ushers in the horrorscapes of Temp Fix, and eventually the more straight-forward, piano-driven, but nevertheless reinvigorating Trust Fades. Your New Normal is a track that almost introduces a hint of hope amid all the chaos and downward spirals present in Locusts. Overall, the album is a triumph for the instrumental Ghosts album series. 

The timing of a new pair of Ghosts albums from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross couldn't have been more perfect, with the world staying inside and the growing concerns over a spreading virus. While Together seems just right for the quiet moments that we are all living in, Locusts feels like a more active, interesting, and signature Nine Inch Nails approach. The ghostly visitations through these melodies of cautious hope and existential dread reveal that these two artists are just as human as the rest of us, and remind us that we are not alone. 

Ghosts V: Together - 8/10
Ghosts VI: Locusts - 8.5/10
Ghosts V-VI Average: 8.25/10

Recommended Tracks: With Faith, Your Touch, Still Right Here, Around Every Corner, Run Like Hell, Trust Fades