When was the last time you heard of an artist, specifically a rapper from Washington D.C.? Fat Trel and Wale are the only two who come to mind. Aside from the MMG duo, I’m here to introduce you to rapper and fashion designer Von Black.
Tell me where you’re from and who you are?
I’m from Washington DC. I go by Von Black, and I’m an artist and designer with a mission to inspire and empower the inner city youth!
Where did you get the inspiration for your name?
Well in high school people knew me as Late Night Von and when I graduated I wanted to reinvent myself and I just came up with Von Black.
Why’d they call you Late Night Von?
Haha because I’m dark-skin and I was always out at night time. So Von Black is still Late Night Von just a more evolved version.
You said you’re into fashion?
Yeah I’m into fashion, I’m still a student of the game. Lately I’ve been studying designers like Virgil Abloh, Nigo, and Raf.
What’re you trying do with fashion?
As far as fashion I’m really focused on producing exclusive merch and collabs for my brand “District 8 Worldwide”.
As well as doing some modeling for brands that I’m inspired by such as NikeLab, Ksubi, & Gap.
What is District 8 Worldwide?
District 8 is a muli-media creative brand that I founded. A lot of people think it’s a clothing line but it literally can’t be defined! But I can say District 8 will influence the young innovators and outcasts of the world from art, music, culture, and fashion!
How’s the local scene in D.C.? Like is there a community of creatives who work together and support each other?
The local scene in D.C reminds me of how it was in high school. People support their own squad and movements at their own lunch table. It can be discouraging for new artist because people already have their own thing. But the whole school would always notice the new kid in school. So Von Black and District 8 is the new shit!
Who are your influences in music?
Right now everything besides music is influencing me to make music if that makes sense. For example films and design. But I do still listen to a lot of Wayne’s old mixtapes like “The Drought 3”. I like Travis Scott too, his energy influenced some of my music.
What films would you say have the biggest impact?
Films that I can relate to the characters, like “Slum Dog Millionaire” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”. It just influences me seeing people go from nothing to something. Which is really what my album “Lumière” is about!
Tell me about your album.
I got the name from my brother TJ. “Lumière” means light in French. He never really gave me his reason for giving it to me, but I look up to him spiritually and I didn’t hesitate to run with it. I’ve been working on the project for the past 2 years. It’s was created to inspire individuals that grew up in unstable conditions and unsafe environments with no guidance in life.
The concept is really dope. When do you expect to release it?
Thank you, I really appreciate that. And we’re aiming for the middle of April. We’re getting things in order like the merchandise, documentary, and other visuals. Everything has to coincide.
Oh damn, seems like you’ve got a lot of things incorporated in this album. You’re making a documentary on it?
Yeah brah I’m going all out. Like I said I’ve been working on this project for 2 years now. And over that time I went through different stages of my life, and I want people to see it.
You have any features on the album?
Nope. No features at all. I wanted to give all of me to the world with this project.
What about production?
As far as production it’s mostly low key producers. My favorite right now is Afterparty. He produced ‘T.I.W.O’ which is my favorite song of mines.
Do you already have cover art made or in the making?
I’m working with some other designers. But this is the one I designed.
Are you gonna give a release date for the album or drop it out of no where?
Release date was actually finalized today it will be March 30, 2017
What do you do in your free time?
I just like to spend time with my family, and create in my free time. Oh and I like reading too. People should do more reading.
I agree. What do you read? Like genre, favorite writers?
I read anything I can get my hands on. I mostly like financial and self help books. Like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki is a must read for anybody trying to be in control of their financial life. Also “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill is an all time favorite of mines.
I’ve never delved into the self help books, I mostly read manga and fiction. What’s there to do in DC?
It depends on who you know and what you’re into. You’ve got the hipster scene uptown, you know them fly skateboard fashion niggas; And then where I’m from over South you got your gritty scene where it’s a lot of niggas just trying to survive and take care of their family.
So that does it for this Senclaire exlcusive. Follow Von on twitter to keep up with future news and peep some of his music below.