Towards the end of 2016, shortly after the release of his debut album No Title we featured London rapper DINO as a Hype Player Introducing artist in Hype Player Introducing: DINO.
During our time with DINO, we quickly realised that his story was more interesting than most, and because of this we've done something that we don't do too often. Alongside the Hype Player Introducing article, we're posting the full interview transcription that we used to aid in the creation of the Hype Player Introducing piece. We thought both DINO's story and his insights were too good to not portray in his own words, so here it is Hype Player Interview: DINO.
Interview: 14:12, 22/12/2016, London
“We know you currently reside in London Dino, but that isn’t where you started off was it?”
That's right. I was born in Bosnia, eastern Europe in '92 just as war broke out in former Yugoslavia. We were brought to the UK as refugees and settled in Watford on the outskirts of London and have been here ever since. Like you said, London is somewhere I live but not where I dwell, I have often bounced around growing up and lived in places like California just in search of new adventures.
"For those that haven't heard anything from you, how would you describe your sound?"
Relaxing but thought provoking. Something you can leave on and just listen to without thinking too much but find yourself picking up the odd punchline. If you love jazz and that old school style of hip-hop with a new age twist, check me.
"Do you feel your surroundings have influenced the music you’re making?"
Most definitely, I’ve been around a lot of b******. But always managed to keep my distance. I’ve watched people do great things, but I've also watched people throw their lives away - I’ve always been aware of this fine balance that only takes one decision to tip over to either side. So my music always aims to be positive and encouraging rather than glorifying certain activities and just tries to tell people there is a way out if you just stay positive.
"You've previously said that you've pulled outside influence from artists like Kendrick, J. Cole and Skepta - though many are drawing comparison between yourself and another London rapper, Loyle Carner, was this a conscious effort?"
Not at all, I first heard about Loyle when I went to see Joey Badass a couple years ago in Shepherds Bush when he opened up for him and thought he was good but never really followed up. Then a few months ago when I released my album in April someone told me I sound like him so then I went back and did my research, he an amazing artist and I can see the comparisons but our styles are different. Big up Loyle.
"Do you think that the rise of London grime has made space by association for music like yourself and Loyle?"
Yeah, this is something I've thought about quite a bit. I love grime, but I’ve never felt like I had to jump on that bandwagon just to get a bit of buzz. If anything, like you say, it’s given me more space to be myself and I think people can see that and appreciate it. I think all eyes are on the UK at the moment anyway regardless of the genre people are finally giving us the credit we deserve.
"After making waves with your album No Title, do you have any plans to take it to the stage?"
I’m going to get my band together so we can get some live performances done, I’ve always wanted to perform with a full band - I just feel like it is the only way to honour the production of No Title. We're setting the year off by getting together and practicing for some shows later on in 2017.
"Looking on your album cover you can see your name formatted as D.I.N.O. I'm assuming that is an acronym, yeah?"
Yes man, well spotted - it stands for 'divine.individuals.neva.oppress'. The thing is, I used to hate my name when I was younger and wanted to change it. But as I’ve got older I’ve embraced it and became a lot more comfortable in my own skin so I decided to flip into something empowering.
"Leave us with your favourite lyrics from No Title Dino."
From the opening track - "It’s been a month I can feel the change coming over, it’s been a month and I’ve barely been a day sober, glazed over, I’m dreaming again, they’re keen on me now that I lean on the pen."
You can check out DINO's debut album No Title on all streaming platforms now - and we suggest you do just that.