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AN INTERVIEW WITH DESTRO

Hip-Hop artist Destro treated the Central Valley of California to a recent series of live, public appearances, to the delight of his countless fans.
Hip-Hop artist Destro treated the Central Valley of California to a recent series of live, public appearances, to the delight of his countless fans.Photo of Destro and fans courtesy of the artist. Copyright 2014.

Undoubtedly one of the hardest-working artists in Hip-Hop music today is Destro, and his latest release "Destro & Slowe Burna: D&S" is garnering good reviews from the critics, as it widens his ever-growing circle of fans.

Marking his third release on his independent label "Wig Splittin Entertainment" his hard work and dedication to his craft has brought Destro a long way from his beginnings in Oakland, California where, as a young kid listening to artists such as Run DMC, Public Enemy and NWA, he was first inspired to begin a career in Hip-Hop.

His career in Hip-Hop got its official start in 1996, when Destro was signed to an independent label called Cemetary Records, out of Pittsburg, CA. He has since worked with a truly impressive array of artists, among them Too-Short, EA-Ski, Keak Da Sneak, Andre Nicktatina, and Sean T.

We caught up with Destro, as he made his whirlwind tour of public appearances throughout various locales in the Central Valley of California, in promotion of his latest release. His lively personality and warm smile did much to chase away the chill of the cold night air, as he happily posed with fans and shared his thoughts with Examiner:

For our readers who are not familiar with your musical history, would you tell them briefly how and where you first got started in music?

I knew I wanted to be a rapper ever since I was a kid and used to watch Run DMC, Too-Short, Public Enemy, and NWA rock the mic. I was always writing raps and free-styling where ever and whenever I could. I got my official start in the game in 1996 when signed to an independent label called Cemetary Records, out of Pittsburg, CA. I was on a few singles, but didn't get the support I needed. From there I decided to start my own label, Wig Splittin Entertainment and released my first solo project "Hustlas on the Rise". After "Hustlas on the Rise" came "True 2 It" in 2003, then "Rap Music" in 2007, and now "D&S".

Destro, can you tell the Examiner readers all about your new CD "Destro & Slowe Burna: D&S."

D&S is the third release from Destro & Slowe Burna. We make what we call MOB music. It's not gangster, but definitely underground, hardcore, gritty and grimy. Our content reflects the streets and speaks to the life of our fans. Our fans show us love because we have our own style. It's nothing that you would hear on top 40 radio.

How is your new CD different/unique from your previous two releases?

D&S is different from our previous releases because we've grown so much as artists since the last project.
This is our biggest project that we've done so far and we're really proud. We had the opportunity to work with legendary artists like Too-Short, EA-Ski, Keak Da Sneak, Andre Nicktatina, and Sean T.

How did you come to meet and join musical forces with Slowe Burna?

Slowe Burna and I knew each other from high school, but we rapped with different crews. Years later, we reconnected and did a song called "A Day in the Life" and released it as a single from my (Destro) first solo album, "Hustlas on the Rise". The song became popular and was featured in the popular documentary called "Sydewayz" about the sideshows in Oakland.

Slowe Burna and I have a chemistry that can't be denied. Although our styles are different, they compliment each other. Slowe Burna is a little bit more relaxed and laid back, my style is more rough and high-energy. In 2003, we released our first album together, "True 2 It" and been rocking with each other ever since.

What are the biggest challenges and rewards with starting and running your own record label? ("Wig Splittin Entertainment")

There are a lot of challenges in running our own label. You have to oversee all aspects from creation to marketing. You have to learn how to wear a lot of different hats, like setting up shows, dealing with distributors, and networking with other artists. It's a full-time job and complicated juggling act, but we've managed to pull it off.

Then you have the financial challenges. If you want to be a successful independent artist, you have to spend money like the major labels to create a high quality product with good production, artwork, and promotions. Even with all the extra work, having complete control over the type of music we produce makes it all worth while.

Your current tour bus can be summed up in one word: awesome! Speaking for myself, it's one of the coolest ones I've seen in years. Would you tell our readers a bit about it?

This is our 3rd tour as Destro & Slowe Burna and every tour has had it's own vehicle. Our first tour was low budget and we had an old school, Scooby-Doo, Mystery Machine van, and we hit the road with "True 2 It". We sold a lot of units independently, and upgraded our tour vehicle to a wrapped Chevy Astro Van with speakers in the grill and rims. With the D&S tour, we knew we had to continue to step it up and separate ourselves from everyone else, so we got 33ft. RV and pimped it out. It's wrapped with our album, we made some upgrades and it's now the "official" D&S Tour Vehicle.

Where/in what direction would you like to see your career go in the next ten years?

Over the next 10 years, we plan to expand the D&S brand to a nationwide product, not just a regional act. I plan to establish Wig Splittin' Entertainment as an entertainment powerhouse, expanding into feature films with our first project being Dark Divas, an urban crime drama. I would also like to work with and develop new artist from the Bay Area and give them opportunities we didn't have. In the long run, I plan to build an enterprise that includes music, film, real estate, and adult entertainment. "I'm the King of Streets and I won't retire!".

"Destro & Slowe Burna: D&S" is available at Amazon.com and CD Baby for $14.25.
All photos used with the permission of the artist. Copyright 2014.