Twenty-year-old Dino is Portland's latest up-and-coming hip hopper who just released his super first album, Stay Lit. (available at Everyday Music, Ozone Records, and other local stores). Though he's not signed with anyone yet, the Teen Mercury office flipped for his beats, and wanted the real low-down on the new kid before he's the big kid in town!
What's your favorite food?
I love sushi. It just gets me pumped up. I eat some sushi and it's like protein in my head.
How tall are you?
5'10, 5'11 at the most.
So what do you like in girls?
I like girls to be real. I mean, if I see some superficial bullshit, I'm like, "Hey, I'm the type of cat who wants to open up--I'm here to say, 'I'm the cat you can trust, confide in.'" That's me. That's Dino.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Yeah, I got one. She's knows I'm not about that corruption bullshit. She's the best critic. I'll play some bullshit for her and she'll totally call me.
That was a great night. I'd be watchin' her eat and she'd say "Quit watchin' me!" and I'd say, "You're so cute. I can't help it." And she'd say, "I'm not cute!" And check this out. I got a cut on the back of my feet. [Shows me a cut] She's got the same one in the same spot! It's crazy, crazy, crazy, and she's a Pisces too. We got the soulmate thing goin' on.
What about your mom? I noticed that you thanked her on your album.
Man, she's my angel without wings. There's nuthin' I wouldn't do for that woman. I could be in the bottom of a cell in Alcatraz and my mom would be there for me.
Tell me about your first album.
It's some'in to laugh at, some'in to get into, to have fun with, ya know. But pretty soon I'm gonna start with my next album, which will really take my lyrics to a deeper level. While you and every other kid is in the library, I'm in my room, droppin' a hit of acid, takin' my mind to the next level. My next album is gonna be called Grease Lightnin', and it's gonna have a picture of me on the cover: Me layin' back on the couch, with a picture of grease spattered on the microphone, grease on the can. Well, grease is really grimy, but through the griminess is really prolific stuff, and that's the lightning. It's the power I'm giving to it.
[He breaks into rhyme for about 2 minutes.]
How come you don't like Missy Elliot?
She's exploitin' herself in all these obscene, commercial-like videos, dancin' around and showin' her body, and I just feel like, all right, you got the audience, now where you gonna bring their minds? Ain't nuthin' wrong with doin' a little dancin', but just don't let that become your whole thing, ya know? Young girls are watchin' you.
Let's talk about the fact that you're white.
Hell, I'm the first person to diss myself when it comes down to the white shit, ya know. Man, I'm a cracker. But hell, my boys on the album, they're like my brothers, they don't care. They look at me like, we know other people always gonna have that thing until they hear you, but they look at me like, I got your back more than a lot of my other homies. I mean hell, I lived in Georgia and that's like the down south. And all my friends, I mean... I didn't have one white friend when I lived there.
What's your favorite color?
I just love a nice shade of beige. It's nice and flowing, relaxing. Whenever I got some beige on, I'm calm.