Darren Anthony is a talented rapper/producer from Cleveland, Ohio. An underrated talent in the music industry that not only has placements such as “We Good” with platinum selling artist Fabulous but has an accomplished catalogue of music which includes releases such as the highly underrated The Restaurant mixtape and his debut EP Unbelievable. I caught up with the uplifting artist from Cleveland Heights for an in depth interview with Audio Fuzz.
What was it like growing up in Cleveland and how did it influence you as an artist?
Growing up in Cleveland I had a pretty diverse upbringing. Growing up in my community Cleveland Heights it’s an arts community and because of that I could say I was exposed to people from all different walks of life rather they were from the hood or a different country. It was a cross-pollination of people, that really helped me develop my artistic abilities early on. I started playing the saxophone in elementary school and got my first musical start. My community was the biggest influence because I was exposed to a lot of things like being in choir and in the band, it was all a big impact.
It just helped with my diversity and with who I am as a person. Being from Cleveland its a real working class city. Everybody has to kind of go out and get it on your own, no matter what it is. The grind is very familiar to people from Cleveland. Not everybody has that. It’s the biggest influence, I’m able to survive because of it.
Tell me about being featured on the single “Living Better Now” with Jae Mansa?
So that came through my homie Phonix Beats. Basically we got together and went to the studio, he made the beat from scratch and I just layed the hook. We were working on that project, so I just came through. It didn’t take a long time at all, which is nice as a songwriter seeing how you can do something thats natural and see what sprouts from that.
What do you think of Los Angeles?
I live in Atlanta now. I was in Los Angeles for three years and I like Los Angeles a lot. I have to answer this very carefully (laughs). I was homeless in LA, I feel like everyone come out with the idea that they are going to make it big and that your dreams are going to come true. Everybody out there really is trying to get by. I was working until I came out here, I was grinding it out for three years trying to maintain my head. Beyond the living and how saturated it is, I did get to where I needed to. I think it’s a great place if you’re trying to connect into the industry and get plugged in and network. It wasn’t the best place to live for me. The best thing that happened out of going to LA was that I got the “We Good” placement and I met Phonix. That came about, I was homeless at the time. I got a call to go to the studio from 2Gun from there we went to Atlantic Records Recording Studio and met Phonix for the first time and I cut six records that night and one of them happened to be “We Good” and three months later I got the call that Fab was gon’ do the record and it was gon’ drop. It literally happened at my lowest point.
How would you describe your style?
My style of music is the perfect blend of style and substance. I leave you with something. A good song is like food, you can microwave something or leave it in the crockpot and stew it. I feel my music gives an inspirational feeling but in a way where its still contemporary.
Can you talk about past releases such as your debut EP “Unbelievable”?
Unbelievable was the first project that I ever released, I released it in 2006. The story from that is I took my final loan check from school, I was going to Cleveland State and I stayed a semester and realized the school thing wasn’t for me in that structure and environment. I got my final loan check and printed a 1,000 CDS and got my car fixed. I didn’t know it would be on iTunes because iTunes didn’t exist. I did that as a declaration that I wanted to be successful in music, a year after that I was signed to an independent label and was able to release The Restaurant.
What current projects are you promoting?
I’m working on my project Hackers. Its going to be real dope, I have a fine balance of introspection, social consciousness, and soulfulness. Its going to be a real dope project once I’m finished. I have about twenty records for the project but I want to just keep working because it keeps getting better. Thats the fun part of being an artist.
Whats next for Darren Anthony?
I’m just looking to solidify my business so I can release music at the highest level. To be a staple in the industry where you can always find my music.