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HEAT EXCLUSIVE:DON FLAMINGO TALKS MIXTAPE RELEASE DURING IN DEPTH INTERVIEW

The Heat Magazine had the opportunity to garner an in-depth interview with EGMG The Show as he prepares to release his latest mixtape, Bloody Roses, brought to you by Mannie Fresh. Uniqueness and a revelation of truth help shape our identity. The Show, a New Orleans lyrically skilled rap arist, recently underwent a moniker change. It is our pleasure to introduce our readers to Don Flamingo.

The Heat Magazine: Being one of New Orleans lyrical gems, how long have you been rapping?

Don Flamingo: I vividly recall penning my first rhyme on a sheet of paper in 1995. It was the year my father passed away and the first verse I ever wrote was about him, what he meant to me and about his passing. It was 3 months after his death.

The Heat Magazine: What’s in the name EGMG Show?

Don Flamingo: The acronyms for E.G.M.G stands for “East Gang Music Group” which I always said as a kid whenever I create a record label, company, or crew, I wanted to incorporate the East somewhere in the company’s name or title being that it’s the section of the city I grew up in New Orleans. Now the reason it’s EGMGshow is because I couldn’t use my stage name which is “The SHOW” because it was taken on twitter and instagram already. But I’ve recently changed my name to “Don Flamingo” because to me it’s more suitable for industry purposes.

The Heat Magazine: What’s in the name Don Flamingo?

Don Flamingo: Well for starters my real first name is Donald. I came up with Don Flamingo because when we were doing the group “The Rap Pack”, I needed a more sophisticated name that represents class and elegance and also still matched with the dynamics of the group’s appearance because of course we wore suits. When I wore my suit, I used to put a rose in my jacket pocket. And according to the group, I would be more so the ladies man. One day it just hit me out the blue! I thought of Don Flamenco, which is a character on the 80s Nintendo game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. He’s a smooth boxer from Spain who enters the ring with rose pedals flying everywhere and he also has a rose in his mouth and if he won he’d give roses to the women in the crowd. Being that his characteristics matched mine, I changed the last name to Flamingo because I didn’t wanna blatantly take the guys name. Strangely, I do like Flamingo better because it’s original. So I used half of my real first name, added Flamingo, and the rest is history. It has way more depth than “The SHOW” to me and also it’s just time for something different. Period. You have to learn to adjust with time.

The Heat Magazine: What type of music artists inspire you?

Don Flamingo: Honestly I’m inspired by good or great music period. It can be any genre, any race, creed, color, sex or ethnicity. It doesn’t matter. I have a wide variety of different artists I listen to on a daily basis. Truth be told, somedays I may not even listen to hip hop at all. Depending on how I’m feeling, maybe even weeks at a time. I’ve always tried to stay well rounded musically and always ventured as an artist and as a fan of music.

The Heat Magazine: Describe what makes you unique as an artist.

Don Flamingo: This may sound crazy but I think what makes me unique as an artist is, I don’t rap for the people. Everything I write or record is always what I wanted to hear. Maybe it’s me being stubborn but I feel like if you’re not comfortable making what suits you, then why be in the business in the first place. See all unique artist have a certain distinction about themselves and their sound. And I notice that it’s always the artist who rebel against what the sound is for the moment, or rebel against what’s considered tradition all together. And every artist you name that has a career extended more than 4 to 5 albums is most likely one of those artists. Now granted, it does take those artists longer to become successful most of the time, but what’s better than getting paid for music you enjoy doing as opposed to a label making you sound like whatever is the hottest trend for that moment?

The Heat Magazine: Tell us about your experiences as a solo artist and as a group artist with the Rap Pack.

Don Flamingo: Let’s just say for starters, if you’re an artist in a group, or if you’re a solo artist, you have to work…..”PERIOD”. I can say that’s the main thing that runs parallel with the two! But, its a huge difference. First of all as a solo artist, you have way more work cut out for yourself. Everything you do will fall on “YOU” no matter how you look at it, no matter who you try to blame. So if anything don’t go as planned, if you didn’t make a deadline, if you felt like a certain song should have or shouldn’t have went wherever, if the lyrics wasn’t up to par etcetera, all problems and pressure falls on “YOU”. And you have to accept the responsibility because you’re the only person in charge of your career and your project. Now, as a group artist it’s more lenient but it’s more finger pointing than anything. Say for instance, if I was suppose to do a verse before we have a studio session for a certain time. If I don’t have it done, the group members can blame me. However, I can argue that whoever is in charge of the group should be on top of everything and make sure everybody is ready no matter what. See? And whoever is the head of the group most likely gotta take responsibility for all of the other members actions in the group. So it’s kinda frustrating but on the other hand, work gets done extremely fast in a group especially if it’s 3 members. That’s one verse a song as opposed to writing 3 verses and a hook as a solo artist. Then if it’s a four man group sometimes somebody can’t make the cut. They’re both extremely different to say the least.

The Heat Magazine: Is it difficult to record multiple projects considering the results you have accomplished both as a solo and group artist?

Don Flamingo: As of now I just finished a mixtape which is entitled “Bloody Roses” and it’s scheduled for release on February 14th. This is my first tape in 2 years being that I was busy doing projects with other artists and also touring with the “Rap Pack”. Now since I changed my name, I’ve decided on this mixtape to give the people a full project with no features. I think I owe them that much to make up for a 2 year absence. But this year I will be releasing a mixtape every two months along with a relentless worldstarhiphop campaign under the like of Mannie Fresh. Don’t blink!

The Heat Magazine: Tell us about your hobbies.

Don Flamingo: This is a very short list: Smoking and recording. I’d be a lie if I said it was anything more than that. I love creating new music and I love smoking to help me create new music.

The Heat Magazine: As a New Orleans native, what do you love most about the city?

Don Flamingo: The culture! Every single individual in that city especially on the music scene has their own way of life. Hands down, no two people in that city are the same. Not even if they wanted to be. And that’s what I love most about it. The diversity inside the city makes it a culture within a culture if that makes any sense. There’s no place I’d rather be from in the world. That city has given me all the tools I need in my life to survive any and everything. There’s no place like it!

The Heat Magazine: What advice would you give upcoming artists in the music industry?

Don Flamingo: Never surrender, Never say die! And that’s a quote I stand firm by. It was a point in time where my mother didn’t believe in what I was doing which only added fuel to a blaze that was already burning. You have to believe it can happen. I still have a long way to go but if I passed on today I can honestly say I went far. And I know the reason is because I rode off sheer belief. Your mind is the most powerful tool you can ever have access to. You have to utilizee it. Once you realize that, you can crack any code. The impossible becomes possible. Never give in. Not in just the music business but whatever your goal is in life.

The Heat Magazine: What’s your view on artists as it relates to balancing music and being single or in a relationship?

Don Flamingo: First of all your companion has to believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself. It’s hard when you’re working toward a dream or goal and both parties are not on the same playing-field. I was in a similar situation recently where I was trying to balance the two and the scales were tipping more toward the music opposed to my family. It was causing more turmoil in my household which spilled into my craft and it was hard trying to work at a steady pace as an artist. You both have to find common ground and also your companion has to respect your craft as a job. Most people are not familiar with the long hours in the studio especially if they’re not artist themselves. So you have to find a way to incorporate your companion into your realm. It’s possible. Trust me!

The Heat Magazine: How do you handle adversity as an artist in the area of creativity?

Don Flamingo Adversity is something that just makes me go harder point blank period. There’s an old saying: You’re only good as your last song. Which is true. But also you can either let adversity break you, or you can use it for a tool to sharpen yourself ever more. I just try and raise the bar higher and higher. I don’t limit myself to anything because it’s so much you can experiment with especially as a musician. Adversity, I laugh in the face of adversity.

The Heat Magazine: Describe your style.

Don Flamingo: This maybe be somewhat oxymoronish if that’s even a word, but my style is no style. Now, I once got into a argument with somebody because their point to me was, having no style is a style. Point being, if every song I’m flowing unorthodox with no set patterns, no specific flow etcetera, that is a style. It make sense to a degree and here’s why. I heard Bruce Lee once say: Be formless, be shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. If you put water into a teapot, it becomes the tea pot. Water can slide, water can creep, water can drip, and it can crash. BE WATER. So I base my style on that quote. But in essence, I’m still telling you what I base my “STYLE” off. It all sounds tricky but I always said my style is no style.

The Heat Magazine: Tells us about your releases.

Don Flamingo: Urban Gurillaz (1999-00), Language Arts Vol. 1 (2003), I DO DIS (2004-05), F.E.M.A (2005), Victory Lap (2007), Victory Lap Reloaded (2007), Real Life Music (2008), DOB Vol. 1 (2009), DOB Vol. 2 (2009), Eastside Uptown (2010), DOB Vol. 3 (2010), Suit Music (2011), Under The Influence (2012), Next Up Vol. 1 (2013), and of course “Bloody Roses”, February 14th.

The Heat Magazine: Tell us about any features or notable performances.

Don Flamingo: Since the start of my career in no specific order the list goes as follows: I’ve done songs with Lil Wayne, Mia X, BG, Chopper City Boys, VL Mike, C Murder, Curren$y, Gudda Gudda, Skip UPT, David Banner, Boss Man, 6 Shot, Lac & Stone, UNLV, Mannie Fresh, Freestyles with Mystical and Juvenile, J-Dawg, PNC, Nut the Kidd, and almost any underground rappesr in the city of New Orleans that you can name off the top of your head. I’ve most likely done a record with them too. It’s just too many to name and I don’t wanna forget NOBODY! They’re all one of the main reasons I’ve gotten as far as I have.

The Heat Magazine: Do you have any other plans as an artist?

Don Flamingo: Really, I don’t have too many plans. I’m a real simple man. I just wanna be known as one of the dopest or best artist that ever came out of the city of New Orleans. I wanna be mentioned with the greats and the likes of Nas, and your Jay-Z’s but of course in the era we’re in, it’ll be with the likes of your Drakes, Kendrick’s, Coles, Wales, Meeks, etc. And I just wanna call my mom and tell her she doesn’t have to work another day in her life. Not too much beyond that. I feel like I’ve been chasing this dream so long that I’ve grown out of the material phase. At this point I just wanna be happy, be comfortable, and murder whoever think they can out rap me. Just simple ****(expletive)

The Heat Magazine: New Orleans (how has living in New Orleans impacted your life and music?

Don Flamingo: Here’s how. Mostly every song I write, especially when it’s about something serious or heartfelt, comes from all experiences I’ve had in New Orleans. And currently still having. Whether it’s bad or good. I mean, for now it’s the only thing I know. And growing up there, you will learn from experience because it’s so real. It’s harsh, it’s unforgiving, and it will eat you alive if you let it. But somehow that’s still the beauty of if. The rush. The what I call: Dying To Live. But see that goes back to the question about adversity and how will you handle it? Or how does if affect you? As long as I have a mind to think with, New Orleans will always give me something to write or create music about. I’ve lost so many friends I call my brothers and family members to the harsh realities it has to offer. Whether through the penal system of through violence. But again what are you gonna do? Let it break you or sharpen your edges.

The Heat Magazine: Fresh has been a mainstay in the development and advancement of New Orleans hip hop, what was it like for you working with him?

Don Flamingo: Not only is he a mentor but he’s like a brother. Genuine dude man. I remember I used to look at old Cash Money interviews and videos and say, I know Fresh the coolest out of everybody because he just had the persona. Crazy thing is, he’s exactly the same dude I been watching all these years. And personally, I wanna thank him for giving me an opportunity. It’s amazing working with someone you’ve looked up to your whole life as a pioneer and to be able to work side by side with them is amazing. I still look at it sometimes like damn. I can really call him and vent even on some personal **** (expletive). That’s my brother man. That’s big homie!

The Heat Magazine: What are your thoughts on education?

The Heat Magazine: Truthfully, although it’s important it didn’t have any effect on me. As far as I can remember, I always wanted to do music. I’ve always said I’m gonna be a rapper and nothing else. I had no intentions on going to college. Personally, I think I’ve learned more since I’ve been out of school oppose to when I was attending. Now this is in no way form or fashion telling kids not to go to school but it really didn’t make a difference for “ME”. My mind was made years ago. Really I think shortly after my dad died I went into revolt and I didn’t bother much with school but I was always a heavy reader. Still to this day I pick up on anything and read whether is literature, science, economics, novels, magazines whatever. But I do stress to my kids how important school is because music isn’t for everybody. And even if they do wanna do music they should still stay in school because it’s much easier than show business. This music business can be harsh and very strenuous. I always tell them to stay in school and Daddy’ll handle all the dirty work.

The Heat Magazine: How do you feel about community issues? How will you help?

Don Flamingo: I can honestly say whenever I become a multimillionaire, of course I’d give back to the community. It wouldn’t be right not giving back to what made me the man I am. I will always involve myself in any charity events that I know for sure will help the less fortunate. You gotta understand coming from New Orleans it’s no in between. Either you have it or you don’t. Simple. And I was less fortunate growing up. Problem is some people figure out a way to overcome their situation and some people haven’t the slightest clue they’re in a situation. It’s almost like you accept what’s going on only because you don’t know. And how would you know if everybody in close proximity has the same situation going on in their lives? It’s a real place to grow up in but if I can help change someone’s live even if it’s just for a day I most definitely would.

The Heat Magazine: What are your future goals as an entrepreneur/rap artist?

Don Flamingo: Well besides myself, I have a couple artist on the EGMG imprint that I most definitely have to showcase. One in particular is BRONCO, which he’s actually dropping every two months with me this whole year so look out for him. He’s one of my favorite rappers. Also, we have Bruce Lee, and egmgMENACE which is another dope talented artist. I just want us to be recognized as one of the dopest crews to come out the city and not just because but because we deserve it. These dudes work just as hard as I do, if not more and we all deserve what belongs to us! EGMGGGG BABY!!!

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DionNorman
DionNorman
Dion Norman is a professional music artist/journalist from Louisiana. Norman is an urban music enthusiast and has been writing since the mid 90s. He is also a stakeholder in the newly found New Orleans Union For Entertainment which is a new resource provider for New Orleans artists and businesses as well as a collective. For more information, feel free to email him at itsdevious@yahoo.com
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