A former member of the Detroit rap group D12, rapper and producer dEnAuN pOrTeR is set to release his solo album titled NiNe at the top of 2014. Also known as Kon Artis as well as Eminem’s hype man, dEnAuN shares how he finds inspiration and stays at the leading edge of his craft.
Do you most often actively seek inspiration or does it find you? Or is it a combination of the two?
It usually comes to me. Sometimes, when I watch movies or National Geographic channel, I get ideas but usually it just comes to me out the blue.
What led you to art in general and to your art form in particular?
Music was not my first love. It was only after being shot when I was young and nearly died that when I woke up, I realized that I loved music. It was a spark — like meeting a girl that you like for the first time or like when you first realize that you are in love.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I’m always listening to everything. Even the guy that I don’t know and no one has ever heard of before. Listening to my peers and never thinking I’m better then anyone else … not thinking I’m good enough. It makes me stay up on my game.
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about artists? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
Yes. The men in this business party all the time and that we’re all [sexually promiscuous] and disrespectful. Sometimes when you are dating women, they cheat on you because they think you will cheat on them. Sometimes, I hesitate to tell women what I do until after they get to know me. Then, they realize that we are all not like that and that some of us are respectful and well-grounded family men.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I don’t. I say what I plan on doing one time and keep it to myself and it happens. People made a big deal out of the secret, but I realized before the book came out that when you think something and put it out in the air it will happen. It’s like when I was young I would always think that I would get shot. I thought about it so much that it happened. That’s when I realized that I could do that same thing with things that I wanted to happen in my life. It’s like working with producer J Dilla and Robert Glasper, who is my favorite jazz artist.. I did not realize this until one day when I was talking with DJ House Shoes and he said do you realize that you have music out with Robert Glasper. So I used it for good. Set out to do something, keep it to myself and it happens.
Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see or use as examples to emulate?
My peers — Eminem and Royce da 5’9. I always wanted to be myself and show the world that I’m somebody. I’ve always felt invisible and I don’t self promote. I’m just going to show you that I am smart, that I am somebody and to be noticed by the people that I admired.
Name two of your top role models: one in the art world and one from outside of it.
Eminem and besides my father, I was heavily influenced by my uncle Kenny.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life, yourself or both.
After reading the The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, it made me realize that anything is possible. It may take you longer than others but anything is possible and always treat every person equal[ly], even the bum on the streets. As far as art goes, I’m not into paintings but I do love my telescope. Twelve years ago, after looking into my telescope at the sky, which is like art to me, it made me realize how small this planet is.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
“I am a radiant child of God and undefeatable” I say it three times … every day.
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Unfortunately, I am one of the people that rely on technology a lot. My computer [and] my phone. Especially, my notepad and voice memo on my iPhone. I used them for writing lines or making beats. I can be out at a restaurant and will go into the bathroom and use my voice memo to record a beat that may be in my head at that moment.
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life or career?
My timer — it’s an app on my iPhone. I use it to stay on schedule. Because if I get behind schedule, even a minute, it will throw my entire day off and I will end up doing nothing. So, it keeps me on schedule.