International artist.?Community involvement.?Artist development
D.O. has defied the odds as a rapper from Canada, becoming a certified international artist, a successful record label executive and a socially active community ambassador. He set a Guinness World Record when he freestyled for nearly nine hours in 2003, sold tens of thousands of CDs, hit #1 on U.S. College Hip Hop Radio charts and travelled the world performing for sold out crowds; D.O.’s success is defined in his own terms.
“I have a song called ‘Can’t Tell Me I Ain’t Made It,’ and it’s about how success shouldn’t be defined in terms of being only the .01% that ‘blows up,’ reveals D.O. “I tour the world on a regular basis, my music is consistently critically acclaimed and I influence hundreds of thousands of kids through my Stay Driven program. I come from a different side of this game, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t made it. Then again, it also doesn’t mean I’m finished.”
Born in Watrous, Saskatchewan, D.O. moved to Ontario with his family at the age of two. Growing up, he spent summers visiting his father's family in Cape Breton and his mother's in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 2003, XXL featured D.O. for his Guinness Record and he hit the road for the first of many tours, selling mixtapes from his trunk in the north-eastern U.S. Around the same time, D.O. created his school tour program, Stay Driven, and started investigating the inner workings of the music business. By 2007, D.O. was ready to release his debut album, Northstarr, the name which would eventually double as his label. D.O.’s music was instantly recognized and the album was nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award. Northstarr also kick- started a spree of radio hits that would land him on Flow 93.5’s countdown at least once every year from 2006-2010.
D.O. found success in 2008 as one half of the duo Art of Fresh, whose music was featured in a television ad campaign for Volkswagen. The duo struck again in 2010 when their song “Get Free” was featured in a television ad campaign for Orville Redenbacher Popcorn. Later that year they released their sophomore album, When The Night Comes In, with the breakout single “Out Of This World” soaring to #1 on the U.S. College Hip-Hop Radio Charts. They reached international audiences with performances at the CMJ music festival in New York and MIDEM in Cannes France. In the last two years, the group has toured Canada twice, Europe (France, UK, Netherlands), Asia (Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong) and the US (Miami, NYC, Vegas).
Between his debut solo album and the Art of Fresh releases, D.O. released another solo album in 2009 titled Stay Driven. The album featured JUNO nominated production across the board from the likes of Classified, Slakah The Beatchild, Marco Polo and Metty the Dert Merchant (Sweatshop Union). “Now I Understand” was the lead single featuring Classified and achieved medium rotation on MuchMusic as well as 25,000 Youtube views.
Throughout this string of releases and constant domestic and international touring, D.O. also found time to build Northstarr Ent and established himself as a go to music executive for independent artists. Northstarr has represented up to 15 artists worldwide.
Somewhere between Tupac (in terms of social consciousness), Common (in terms of artistic integrity) and Jay-Z (in terms of business sense), stands D.O., a man who is bounded only by the hours in a day. And in 2012, D.O. will make his biggest splash to date with the release of Heavy In The Game. The album features the Classified produced singles “She Likes You” and “It’s On.”
Legendary MC Chuck D of Public Enemy said of the artist, “D.O. represents the new breed of MCs putting heat on the status quo of the rap game.”
D.O. - MC / rapper
Nana - DJ
Slakah the Beatchild - Singer / Rapper
Poizunus - Beatboxer / Hypeman
"Stay Driven" album - 07/2009
"The Northstarr" album - 04/2007
"Young Brother" Single - 2006 - Listed as one of top songs of 2006 on Toronto's FLOW 93.5
"Just Forfeit" Single - 2006 - Video in Rotation on Muchmusic
"Rhyme Til I Can't Rhyme No Mo" EP - 2003 - 2000 Units + Sold.
"Zone Out" - 2004 - Single - Rotation on Radio.
D.O. Stay Driven Chatham
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Toronto rapper D.O. knows words can hurt. The 28-year-old entertainer, whose given name is Duane ...Toronto rapper D.O. knows words can hurt.
The 28-year-old entertainer, whose given name is Duane Gibson, shared his personal experiences of being bullied with students at Winston Churchill Public School Wednesday.
The creator of the Stay Driven program, D.O. tells students about the first time someone directed a racial insult towards him when he was the new kid - and the only black kid - at an elementary school in Sault Ste. Marie.
Knowing that if he fought, he'd get suspended and would give the bully the power.
He decided to use rapping as an outlet.
"Rapping was . . . a way to get all that aggression out in a powerful way," D.O. said.
He focuses on how bullying through words can affect a person's confidence and self-esteem.
D.O. gets the students to join him in singing rap songs to get the message across about positive ways to handle situations where they or their friends are being bullied.
Students and staff were all encouraged to sing "let it go" as D.O. rapped about just walking away from a bully.
It was apparent the students got D.O.'s message when he closed the presentation by asking what students will say to someone trying to knock them off their game.
"Can't nobody hold me down," the students yelled in unison.
"It was awesome," Grade 8 student Rachel Cole, 13, said of D.O.'s presentation. "He made talking about not bullying people fun."
She also liked D.O.'s positive message that "if you want to achieve try your best."
An aspect of the program that stood out to Grade 8 student Ryan Cartier, 13, is not empowering bullies by saying nothing when somebody else is being picked on.
"Stand up for your friends," Cartier said, "and not just sit back and do nothing - at least try."
Jordan Breault, 14, also took the anti-bullying message to heart.
"If somebody is bullying you and saying something rude, do what D.O. says and just let it go," said the Grade 8 student.
Sarah Richards, 13, believes the rapper is an inspiration.
"Once you see a normal person like D.O. could become something this big, kids probably think their own dreams can come true," the Grade 8 student said.
D.O. is bringing his message to D.A. Gordon and H.W. Burgess public schools in Wallaceburg today and St. Ursula and Georges P. Vanier Catholic schools in Chatham on Friday.
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“Vocal style reminds me of the whisper-y quietness of later Jay-Z mixed with some of the cadence of ...“Vocal style reminds me of the whisper-y quietness of later Jay-Z mixed with some of the cadence of Talib Kweli. AND IT'S CANADIAN!”
- 91.5 CJAM, Windsor ON
“D.O. is moving audiences around Canada with his music and his mind”
- Sean Watson, Urbanology, 03, 07
“True freestyle king”
– Amy Lindon, XXL, 11/03
Set is 1 hour and includes full discography.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.