ESSENTIAL TRACK: “Oceans”
FOR FANS OF: J. Cole, Dom Kennedy, A$AP Rocky
When you look at his body of work, it’s hard to not see NE Portland hip-hop artist Donte Thomas as one to watch. Whether it’s battle rap, pop or R&B, working solo or in a group, Thomas always finds a way to stand out. Heavy drive, slick delivery and relatability have kept him relevant for years as he’s built his brand and progressed musically.
The leader of the influential collective STRAY in years past, Thomas really came into his own with his 2016 solo album Grayscale, which established him as a premier lyricist with the ability to string together a cohesive project. The rollout of his highly visual Garden Boys EP with East Portland collaborator Bocha successfully influenced local fashion, garnered critical acclaim in 2017, and led to Thomas landing the #8 spot on Willamette Week’s coveted Best New Band poll. Watch the duo's latest video for "Venus Fly Trap" below.
In 2018, Thomas made his energetic PDX Pop Now! debut and wrapped up his second solo album—COLORS (Continuation of Love of Real Sound)—16 tracks of smooth rap listening that boasts production from some of the scene’s best (including EYRST’s Sxlxmxn) and showcases a strong selection of featured guests like his regular co-conspirator Bocha. With song titles that read like paint chips, flowers and jewels, the project is expected to produce a number of (what we assume will be colorful) visuals as well. True to his collaborative nature, he has also been building the roster of an upcoming music label (Produce Organics Records), which he plans to correlate with his forthcoming fashion line (Produce Organics).
As Donte Thomas lines up the new promotional run, the skies seem clear for the young go-getter with the silver tongue. Now is a great time for new fans to get on board.
UPCOMING RELEASE: COLORS out this summer