Back in July, we stumbled upon a new rap song about the Razorbacks featuring Arkansas wide receiver Reggie Fish.
The song was called “I Ball,” and as far as we were concerned, was pretty freaking awesome. In a matter of days, the song was all over the local media / local interwebs, and the video featuring the song edited with footage of last year’s team received thousands of views on YouTube before it was removed “due to a copyright claim by Collegiate Images, LLP.”
What seemed to be lost on all of us, though, was that there were two voices on the recording, with one in particular doing a majority of the lead vocals. That voice belonged to Kenyon the Dawn.
Kenyon is originally from Little Rock, but moved to Fayetteville in 2004 to attend the University of Arkansas. He has performed for the last 5 years on campus and has recorded songs with Fish as well as with Razorback Women’s Basketball players Shanita Arnold, Brittney Vaughn and Whitney Jones.
After checking out some of Kenyon’s other material on Myspace, we got in touch with him for an interview.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Kenyon the Dawn: Right now I listen to a lot of my own music and a lot of local artists here in Fayetteville. Guys like me, Yung Bloka, Showstealla (Fish), Kahotic from Imperial Family, Smurf from G-Entertainment and Q.T. Those are the people in my MP3 player. I mean I listen to the usual too just like everyone else. Drake, Wayne, Kanye, Jay-Z, Naz and Pac. To be honest though, it gets old. There is an underground game growing here in Arkansas and in parts of Texas that is full of a lot of different styles people may never get to hear.
FF: We’ve been listening to some of your tracks on your Myspace page, and we’re impressed. Where did you record them?
KtD: I do all my own recording and mastering. I learned from a guy that worked at Crisp Recording Studios here in the area. He didn’t know it but every time I came to record I was picking up on his technique of mastering. After that with a little bit of practice I started to get how to master and mix my own ideas on the track. Like, “Dang Shanita, you’ll sound good if we reverb that part at the end” or “Reggie you have to do this one with Auto Tune.” I just let my creativity come out and my guys usually go with it because they know I got a good ear for music.
FF: Do you perform live very often? If so, where?
KtD: Yeah I do perform live. Actually, this summer I wrapped up a four-date tour around the Northwest Arkansas area with some other local artists. It was a lot of fun. I’m used to performing on the University of Arkansas campus because I used to attend the college.
FF: Where’d you get the name “The DAWN?”
KtD: Well it’s really a long story, but I’ll make it short. The definition of a DAWN is like the rising of the sun, or in my case the rising of the son. See all my life I lived in the shadow of my father’s greatness because we share the same name. When I started rapping I also felt I was the rising of a new style of rapper. See I’m a mix between up-north lyrics and a down-south bounce. I try to make my presence known when I step on the track.
FF: We first found out about you through your song “I Ball” featuring Reggie Fish. That song seemed to really take off. Were you surprised by its popularity?
KtD: I was really surprised it would happen so fast. I work at the gas station down the street from the school and I get girls coming in there all the time asking for my autograph now ’cause they think I might be about to blow. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m just trying to stay positive.
FF: Had you ever collaborated with Reggie before?
KtD: Yeah, Reggie and I actually did a whole CD together on my indie label K&K Unlimited Productions. The CD was Street Frame and it had 21 songs on it. It also featured B-Nel and Yung Bloka. I’m actually helping Reggie finish his own album right now. We’re almost done too, and little do people know Reggie can really rap. It’s actually me and him on the song Back 2 Da Basics on my MySpace playlist.
FF: You’ve also collaborated with Shanita Arnold of the Arkansas women’s basketball team, correct? How did that come about?
KtD: Correct, and to be honest it was the same thing. Shanita heard about me because I was the only guy really doing shows and putting out CDs on campus. I told her about K&K and she came to the studio. It was magic from the first day. She’s a good artist and athlete. Our song How U Do It has the most plays on my top ten.
FF: It sounds like there’s a good underground hip-hop scene coming together in Fayetteville. What are some other local artists we should check out?
KtD: If I was to say some it would be Kahotic from Imperial Family, Smurf from G-Entertainment, Q.T. and last but certainly not least P-Paul. Those are my go to guys. We have so much music together in the vault that I think the music industry would implode if released.
FF: How much recorded material do you have, and where can folks get their hands on some of it?
KtD: I’ve put out 4 CDs underground and I’m working on my fifth. When this CD gets done I’ll let you guys know first, but for now just keep listening to what I have up. I’m more than likely going to make this first album a free downloadable file. Just to get out there. The album is going to be called Aggressive Pursuit.
FF: There’s some great things happening in the hip-hop scene in Little Rock right now too. Epiphany, 607, Rockst*r, and others seem to be making a name for themselves. Ever play with any of those guys?
KtD: I’m actually from Little Rock and when I got started here in Fayetteville some of my first shows were with Epiphany and 607 and the whole Conduit Family. I was just starting out then. I hope that in the future we can go on tour together and put Arkansas on the map as a true musical powerhouse.
FF: What’s next for The Dawn?
KtD: Aggressive Pursuit, KTDTV, Reggie “ShowStealla” Fish’s album Showstealla N’an Realer, Yung Bloka’s Bloktober Mix Tape, and a DEMO for Shanita ‘Nita B’ Arnold and Whitney Jones of WBVJ.