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  • The Courier

    Houma hip hop artist lands in iTunes' Top 10 for weekend with new song

    By Colin Campo, Houma Courier-Thibodaux Daily Comet,

    2024-04-22
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4C50FI_0sZY9q0k00

    What began as burning his own recordings on CD-ROMs to sell to high school classmates, has led to D-Allen holding a spot in Apple's Top 10 for a weekend.

    Mixed at a wooden desk in the living room of a small Houma apartment, Donald Allen dropped his album "Rare Air" April 12, and it hovered at 10th place on iTunes over the weekend. The album is a motivational piece, with lyrics about overcoming life's obstacles and features three other artists, including Shante Scott Franklin, known as Curren$y, of New Orleans; Keyia Folse, of Raceland; and Leury Pereyra of New York.

    "It's been a journey, man, for a long time," Allen said with a smile. "Like when I was going to South Terrebonne, I had like a little computer mic. I used to make CDs on there, buy 100 CDs from Walmart, burn 'em up, take 'em to school and try to sell them for $1 a piece. I've been trying to record myself ever since I got my first computer, like it's gone all the way from a cassette player to a computer."

    Allen's first album in high school was titled "Ima Beast," scribbled in sharpie on the small plastic discs. From those high school years onward, Allen says he has always kept a setup to create his music. There's no soundproof room or studio for Allen, but technology has come a long way since his South Terrebonne years. Instead, he has a microphone on a stand that's about 6 feet tall, with built-in sound dampeners. He works on his music when the apartment is quiet, or when his daughter and fiancé are out.

    The muse for "Rare Air" is Allen's late brother, Patrick Williams. Allen said a close friend told him about a dream he had where Williams was proud of Allen's work but wanted to see him be more confident.

    "So I took that voice note to heart, so much that it created the whole style of the album," Allen said.

    Each track on "Rare Air" has a slow, rhythmic opening, lasting between 10 and 14 seconds leading to the vocals kicking in. On the first three tracks, Allen's lyrics have a fast-paced, rapid, tempo. That tempo slows in later tracks.

    The first song, "Reintroduction," hits with an explosive beat right on the 14 second mark, and the pace stays strong through the track. The second, "Set the Tone," is just as fast-paced, punctuated by Allen's rapid delivery of lyrics. Around track six, "Undeniable Hustle," Allen settles into that pace. The tempo slows, but Allen's rapid delivery persists. The signature track, "Rare Air," follows:

    "I had to up the hustle, got some muscle. Flip the wrists on me," he sang. "Don't make me get to poppin' that s---, I can teach you how to hustle. When I get to droppin' that s--- with action my mind was muscle. Make them lay down, I'm collecting everything, this rap s--- like my playground.".

    Inspired by the Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Wayne, Mos Def, Nas and Kanye West, the 32-year-old said the most important aspect of each song is the story that's being told. Working 12-hour-shifts as a security guard, Allen keeps notes and recordings on his cell phone, and on his days off can spend up to six hours a day working on his music.

    For now, the music remains a side hustle. Allen said he hopes some day he can support his family with his music, but either way he'll keep putting out albums.

    His music can be found on most platforms: Spotify, Youtube, iTunes and TIDAL. The album is just under $7, and can be found here: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_m9tVzZyDQGf1iEEe9n3CKIIAdFSMgvD1Q.

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