Lil Donald has loftier goals than many of his peers. “I feel like I want to be like the Martin Luther King of Hip-Hop,” he says. “I don’t wanna die and it just is like, he was a great artist. When I leave I want it to be like, “he changed how people thought. He changed how people acted toward other people, and how people treated other people”. A huge impact on the world. When you go to every city it’s an MLK Blvd there.” Born Donald Brooks, the 27-year-old Decatur, GA native has already begun to make an impact in his region. Now, he plans to share his story with the world.
His aspirations to change the world with his music are rooted in pain. Growing up in poverty with a drug-addicted mother, Lil Donald was exposed to significant hardships early in life. At age 10, his mom left him, his two older brothers, and younger sister in an abandoned house with no food, and no way to contact her. Lil Donald expresses, “we had to survive in that house for at least a month. We were going to the store stealing food, just trying to survive. I was the one that had to go to the store and steal it because I was small and I was quick, so if somebody chased me, I could get away,” Donald remembered.
Seeking an outlet for that pain, a young Donald turned to poetry. He entered a contest at school at age 13 and won, which inspired him to keep writing. But it was Tupac who inspired him to begin making music. “It was Dear Mama because at the time his mother was on drugs real bad. He just felt like he could relate to him. So he felt like, “damn if I could relate to him, how many people could relate to me?”.
That desire to make music that’s not just heard, but felt, comes from his many influences. Besides Pac, Donald was inspired by artists with emotional gravitas like Biggie, Eminem, and Outkast. Artists that weren’t afraid to share their fears, family drama or their darkest thoughts. Problems that real people deal with every day.
When it came to music, Lil Donald gravitated toward the raw, unvarnished truth. No song in Lil Donald’s catalog, to date, exemplifies his commitment to putting real-life situations into his music like his single Do Better.
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