Donny Blot Is Finding His Voice in Denver's Hip-Hop Scene

Donovan Blot, who performs as Donny Blot, will celebrate the release of LowKey at the Denver Art Society on Friday, January 12.
Donovan Blot, who performs as Donny Blot, will celebrate the release of LowKey at the Denver Art Society on Friday, January 12. Matt Mooney
Rapper and poet Donny Blot, born Donovan Blot, says the members of his Cap 6 hip-hop collective have given him a nickname: .WavMan (pronounced "wave man"). "Everything I do has bounce; it has a smooth quality," he says.

Blot wrote poetry from a young age, learned about spoken word from his best friend in high school, and carried his passion for writing and performance to college at Florida A&M University. As a freshman, he met Andre Carbonell, aka Hakeem Furious, and other poets and musicians at Black on Black Rhyme, a poetry event. Those friendships evolved into what is now Cap 6, a group comprising five emcees and one DJ, some of whom live in Colorado and others in Florida.

Each member of Cap 6 makes music individually, and they collaborate and perform together as a group. "It's like Wu-Tang," Blot explains. Blot moved to Denver from Tallahassee in August 2017 and has been making waves in Colorado's local scene, performing at open mics and releasing a music video for his single "Please Get the Fuck Out My Face." He will release his newest project, LowKey, this Friday, January 12, at the Denver Art Society.

We sat down with Blot to discuss his beginnings in poetry, his transition to rap and his recent move to Colorado.

Westword: When people talk about rap on a fundamental level, it’s poetry. Were you writing poems that worked better as raps?

Blot: Yes and no. There was a point when I was writing poetry and the poetry turned into a rap. I broke away from rhyming in my poetry nowadays. It almost felt limited when it came to poetry. It was a good experience and exercise to take poetry and turn it into a rap and vice versa – rap into a poem – and perform it in a spoken-word style. I’ve done some of that, too. It works perfectly. They go hand in hand. It’s how you say it, not necessarily what you’re saying.

How did rap and poetry resonate with you?

Everything is passion…. When you perform something, you go back to the first time that you wrote it. It always resonates through that, the experience. You’re speaking through your experience, no matter what it is. Whether it’s a rhyme or a poem, you’re speaking through your love, your heart, your heartbreaks, your sadness, your happiness, your joys, your laughter and everything like that. That’s what’s great about rap and poetry; you’re able to trigger and tap into that first time you wrote it. All your poems and raps can connect with your audience and fans. That’s the main key — to be able to connect.

Did you learn a lot about performance and what works for you when you were doing poetry? And what did you find works for you?

Absolutely. My energy is punchy, a lot more energetic, just because the music I have is more bouncy. Everyone would sing along with the hook and wave their hands. The other guys in the crew…Andre is more abstract; he has a more poetic flow. The other guys are a lot more hip-hop, as in old school hip-hop with a new-school feel that’s really electrifying.

How has your style changed?

My style has changed from rapping "A,B,C" and "1,2,3" to “please get the fuck out my face.” My raps back then were a lot more childish, lyrics-wise. Basic subjects, basic rhymes. "I’mma kill these beats, you’re suffering defeat” — that’s how I was rapping back then. Now I rap more poetically and have actual formats and [am] writing what is within. “Damn, what’s all that passion for/I don’t know what you been looking for/I’m here to tell you the sun is shining, the moon is smiling and you’re looking so incredible” — things like that. I’ve definitely grown a lot. Everybody has been telling me that out of the group, I’ve grown the most. 

Do you think that’s from frequency?

I write every day. Even writing little things. If I think of a rhyme, I write it down. And feeding off these guys' energy and listening to different music, you get a lot more different styles, flows and cadences.

Poetry is so vulnerable, as is music, but in a different way, since there are distractions in the melody or the beat. What hinders a lot of artists is putting the meaning behind something. So was that a natural thing for you?

Already being a poet helped me so much, because I can write concrete stuff and something that has feeling and meaning, even if it’s a fun meaning. “Please Get the Fuck Out My Face” has a fun meaning. Once I have the opportunity to explain it to people, [it’s clear] that there’s depth to it. What do you want from [a song]? Do you want to form it into a fun thing? Do you want to be deep? What beat are you listening to? Sometimes the beat can help. What message are you trying to relay? The beat goes hand in hand [with the message].

What are some challenges and benefits you've noticed navigating a larger scene here in Denver compared to the smaller scene in Florida?

One challenge that I'm facing now, being in a larger scene in Denver, is actually finding the scene that's right for me. For instance, finding the right crowd, right music, right vibe that fits my aesthetic. On the other hand, it was much easier to do that in a small town like Tallahassee.

Donny Blot, LowKey release show,
6 p.m. Friday, January 12, Denver Art Society, 734 Santa Fe Drive, 720-583-3728.
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Riley Cowing has been writing with Westword since July 2016. She is originally from Kansas City and graduated from the journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She enjoys connecting with local artists, drinking all types of espresso and loves any excuse to watch The Devil Wears Prada.
Contact: Riley Cowing