At the forefront of an independent movement within Baltimore strengthened by a collective of creatives known as All Real Thinkers, Dawson is a dope MC and solid spirit. I sat down with him recently to highlight not only the collective but his perspective on and love for his city. Baltimore this is for you.
Jason Bourne: When you think of Baltimore you think of negativity; the city's struggles with crime and poverty is well documented. You and your team, All Real Thinkers are bringing a different energy to the city. Can you speak on that?
Don Dawson: Of course that’s the message behind the movement. We have to shed light on the positivity that is often buried underneath the negatives. Hip Hop started as an intelligent movement we have to push that, especially in Baltimore. I care about the youth more than I care about the hype.
Jason Bourne: How did all of you brothers come together under one goal?
Don Dawson: We have the same vision for the city. We all have different experiences that tie into one common theme. Change is needed for the city. We push ourselves not only to make us better but to make the city better and change the conversation. It’s rare you get people to come together from different parts of the city but we do and we see each other as brothers first before anything else.
Jason Bourne: Where does music play into the game plan of making an impact in the city?
Don Dawson: Music has a huge influence on the youth. In so many ways it sets the tone of what’s going on. Music creates trends, conversations, cultivates actions and more. We have to get our voice into those conversations and allow our voice to be heard.
Jason Bourne: How is the Hip Hop scene in Baltimore? It is a big city. Does it have the kinds of resources that other major cities possessor is the overall feeling that u have to try and break somewhere else?
Don Dawson: Unity. Baltimore lacks unity 100% and I can’t say that enough. It’s beautiful to see the love other cities give but here it’s rare but it’s needed. Instead of complaining I support the people I love. I have to start the change I want to see. I’d rather break here but who knows. Regardless I’ll always get back to my city because Baltimore needs it.
Jason Bourne: There is a big art scene in Baltimore - how is the comradery between say rappers and musicians?
Don Dawson: It’s coming together but it goes back to what I said earlier about unity. There isn’t much of that here and the music suffers. Jordan needed Pippen, not another Jordan you know? I hope to be a part of the movement that bridges that gap.
Jason Bourne: Your new video is shot by Devin Allen. How dope is that?
Don Dawson: It wasn’t shot by Devin but he was a huge supporter behind it. Honestly, we thought it would be cool if he just heard it. Hearing his reaction to the song blew us all away because it was more than we expected. Devin is a huge part of where Baltimore is going we wanted to shine the light on him, and let the kids know we have heroes here you don’t have to outsource. You can be great in your own city.
Jason Bourne: What was the motivation behind the black and white theme?
Don Dawson: Hip Hop! The gritty cipher feels. Old school vibe of bars, bars, and more bars. We wanted to give it that type of element and show exactly what the game has been missing.
Jason Bourne: What are some other things on the horizon for you guys as we move along in 2019?
Don Dawson: Projects, videos, and shows. We all have projects to push this year. The vision will be shared. Be prepared to have those conversations and think beyond a pill being popped or a gun being shot. The thinkers are here.