NY-based rapper and songwriter, Don Modus, discusses his new release “East 2 West,” featuring Iz Sosa. The Brooklyn native explains how the song, which comes with an accompanying music video shot by Marv, represents a fast rhythm with laidback energy and incorporates elements from both coasts.
In this interview, Modus reveals how he brings his unique style together with Sosa’s freestyle flow to create a balanced and varied sound. Additionally, he talks about his evolution as an artist and his upcoming single “Crocodile Tears.” Finally, the Hip Hop artist shares his hope to unite people through his music and clothing line: Collective.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind “East 2 West”? How do the lyrics relate to your personal experiences and the overall message you want to convey in your music?
So this is the first track I’m dropping that’s part of my new rollout. I haven’t released music in about a year so I wanted to come out with a splash. Biggest way to do that was to do a collaboration between the two coasts. There’s too many lines/references for us to go over in such a short time but I will say that I wanted to convey a fast rhythm with a laidback energy.
The visuals for “East 2 West” feature a lot of vibrant colors and lighting effects. How did you come up with the concept for the video and what do you hope viewers take away from it?
This video was a change of pace versus how I usually shoot videos. Most of the time we’ll have plans and shoots scheduled. This time everything was done on the fly. I picked up Sosa and the camera guys in the Tesla and we just cruised around Southern California. The model x that I was in had a feature called “Merry X-mas” that would make the lights flash and doors swing open. You can’t hear it in the video, but it also blasts Christmas music on full volume. It’s pretty entertaining, I would recommend looking it up. Overall, I wanted to capture the California vibe which is why we got palm trees and the ocean.
“East 2 West” is a collaboration with Iz Sosa. What was it like working with another artist and how did you bring your unique styles together to create this track?
He’s a good friend and we’ve recorded a few different times. He actually freestyles all of his verses which is always entertaining and different. When I originally made the beat I thought it would be good for him. I wanted to start the song off fast with more complex rhyme patterns and then let him come with his relaxed freestyle flow. My favorite music always has variety and balance.
Your music often incorporates elements from different regions and sounds. How do you approach blending these different styles and sounds to create something new and fresh?
When you got motion and live a busy life like I do, it’s easy to come up with cool stuff to write about. Mentally I try not to let my music get too one dimensional. If I feel like a concept has run its course, I’ll introduce a new topic with something to bridge the two subjects.
You released your album Instapound in 2019. How has your creative process evolved since then, and what can fans expect from your upcoming single “Crocodile Tears”?
The process has evolved a lot. Back when I released that album, I didn’t truly know what type of sound I was going for. It was very experimental in nature. The music I’m making now still has plenty of range, but I’m more confident in my writing and engineering process. “Crocodile Tears” is a change of pace from my usual music and has more of a chill melancholy vibe. I would say it’s a good smoke song for sure.
You own the clothing line Collective, which reflects an “outstanding individual capable of writing their own destiny.” How do you hope to inspire others through your music and other endeavors, such as your brand?
At the end of the day I want to unite people which is why the brand is named Collective. By being successful and pushing myself I will attract more people to the brand. The goal is that they will align with our message and realize appearances are less important than shared beliefs.
Hip hop music has a long history of regional pride and rivalry, particularly between the East Coast and West Coast. How do you navigate these tensions as an artist who draws inspiration from both coasts and beyond?
I’m aware of all that history and respect it. That being said, I would rather have a healthy and competitive rivalry rather than one of tension and conflict. When I do a track with a west coast rapper you know I’m gonna do my best to outshine him. I would hope he’s bringing that same energy too so that way the listener is the real winner.
Watch the official music video for “East 2 West” here:
Listen to “East 2 West” on Spotify: