Being a West Coast lurking goblin I don’t tend to have the honor of seeing all the talent coming out of the East Coast’s debut performances however, earlier this year I did have the pleasure of being persuaded by a playfully erratic monochrome portrait of a family, centering what can only be assumed to be the aforementioned, Niontay.
Bursting onto the scene with the hottest mixtape titled ‘Dontay’s Inferno’ and selling cassettes as his first analog music, that's crazy. Dontay’s Inferno is clearly a labor of love drawing from several different regions to hone a sound that’s new and uniquely from the life experience of a kid who moved from Milwaukee to Florida to New York (although one thing he is absolutely not is a “Milwaukee rapper” as stated once in a tweet). It’s a love letter that wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve as Nion pulls out these jazzy simple beats with a tempered Midwest flow with a little bounce that immediately reminded me of some early fellow Flordian Kodack Black or more recently Babyface Ray hailing from Michigan. With such a cool and even tone over his tracks and some nice talking mixed in it was only a matter of time until someone picked up, but none of this came as any surprise to the underground’s Rick Fox: MIKE. In conversation with Alphonse Pierre Niontay talks of the carefully curated mixtape that didn’t come so naturally until MIKE came in with some words of wisdom ‘Bro your strength is that you can do all that shit in one.’ After that it was only a few more until we reached the completion of Dontay’s Inferno. With clear hits as THANK ALLAH, the mixtape was an immediate hit attracting attention from all over such as Earl Sweatshirt (My personal favorite was the opening track Da City of a Hunnid Plays).
Soon enough Nion was opening shows with his friendsSlideshow,454,El Cousteau, and Pig the Gemini all formidable artists in their own right. Next thing he’s selling out shows in D.C., London and landing a spot in Mavi’sYoung World IIIgetting write-ups from FADER and big supporterAlphonse Pierreover at PITCHFORK. Shortly following Niontay would keep up this momentum by releasing a new single featuring Earl Sweatshirt,El Cousteau, andMIKEtitled Real hiphop kicking off the announcement for his next EP. Fast forward to the release ofDemon Muppyfeaturing production fromSurf Gang’sHarrison,454,Taka,Vinny FantaandTony Seltzer. This bouncy 6 track EP is exactly what I needed to get through the remainder of the school semester. Supa Bowl LVIII is an all-star track with tons of fun written all over this EP, in comparison toDontay’s Infernothis just seems a lot more light-hearted with the lyrics and delivery. Niontay has had an absolutely explosive year and it’s only the beginning he hasn’t even released a full album yet. It’s been nothing but up for the young upstart and the rocket isn’t landing any time soon
If you’re interested in more details of Niontay’s journey to this point check out his interview withthe Pitchby Alphonse Pierre.