"Hip-Hop was never a fad, it was always a permanent thing." - Toine
Toine is one half of the Maryland duo DTMD (Dunc & Toine Makin' Dollas) and is praised for his merticulous and intellectual delivery coupled with the depth of his music knowledge.
Photo courtesy of Orlando Urbina
Can you remember the first Hip-Hop song you ever heard and what feelings it inspired in you?
Toine: I don’t really remember one that stood out. I grew up with it, so to distinguish a song as Hip-Hop and not Hip-Hop, I never even thought about it. I was lucky enough—or I don’t even know if I’m lucky enough—to grow up always having rap as an option. I’m not old enough to have had R&B be the main level of music for the youth. Hip-Hop was never a fad it was always a permanent thing. I remember being really young, I guess like two years old my mom had me on tape talking about “Too Legit to Quit.” And “Gin and Juice.” I was sipping lemon juice since I didn’t know what Gin was back then. Those two songs stand out in my earliest memories.
Who were the artists whose career and work has been a source of inspiration to you?
Toine: I’ll have to say Common from about '94 to '05…I feel like Common with his albums really grows [as an artist]…I don’t think he really made the same album twice. He’ll make an album then give a more polished feel on it in the next one…when he was Common Sense he was weird, he was sharp, extremely sharp and he was a real serious battle rap cat. He was the first rapper I really paid attention to with intellectual punchlines. He would have “I’m nicer than you, I’m this and that,” but a lot of his lines that had punch to them would be really introspective stuff that kind of made you think. When I really first started writing I was modeling myself after Common of that era.
What do you consider some of the most influential contributions made to Hip-Hop in the past 40 years?
Toine: Sheesh okay. I guess the invention of rapping over breaks [laughs]. If no one ever rapped over breaks whatever we have today would not exist in the same way. DJs would still be the kings and not the rappers—which I have no problem with but I feel like it should be about the music and not everything else. But just the thought of people rapping over breaks that makes Hip-Hop what it is today.
Where do you see Hip-Hop evolving in the next 40 years given its current direction?
Toine: I really don’t know. Hip-Hop follows the people and if the people stay on this trajectory I can see this, not ceasing to exist but…people’s appreciation for music dwindle. It’s too easy to put music out. The internet is giving people a false sense of entitlement, putting them on a pedestal that may or may not be warranted. The music industry as a whole is uh—quality control is a thing of the past. I’m not really as optimistic about the quality of the music…I hope it will be good.
What do you consider your generation’s great contribution to Hip-Hop?
Toine: …We’re a lot more technologically savvy. I feel we embrace more alternatives than rap. A lot of people, even Hip-Hop artists, are into more genres than rap, and even incorporate non-historically Black styles into their music now.