There was so much enthusiasm beneath DTMD’s 2011 debut album Makin’ Dolllas that it’s hard to believe the Prince George’s County, Maryland, duo hasn’t issued a followup LP yet.
Or maybe it isn’t: Despite that record’s solid grasp of hip-hop history (and the attendant cynicism about commerce), DTMD had much to learn about the music business, says beatmaker Duncan “Dunc” Wintermyer. Four years later, he and the group’s MC, Antoine “Toine” Jameson, have grown up a lot.
“When Makin’ Dollas came out, I was still in college, Antoine was between jobs … so it was literally that we had just gotten our first deal and we didn’t know how to handle it,” Dunc says. “We got a first-person look on how the hip-hop game works, I guess. How it is a business and how it’s not just ‘for the love.'”
Another album is on the way eventually, Dunc says, but for now DTMD is releasing a handful of tracks online to rebuild its momentum. One of them, the appropriately titled “While You Wait,” pushes DTMD into a sound that’s less directly indebted to the ’90s while giving Toine a chance to riff on the audio and video ills he sees on Twitter and elsewhere.
Warning: Explicit lyrics.
“And every motherf****r got a mic and a cam/With a license to spam/But I’mma claim what I rightfully am/Analog mindstate with a digital plan,” Toine rhymes with a hint of impatience.
The song “isn’t a far departure from where we were at, but it’s more about where we want to go,” Dunc says. It’s sonically firmer and more propulsive — and certainly more evocative of beats made by Oddisee, their critically acclaimed, industry-savvy friend and P.G. County contemporary. (He’s the guy on the digital artwork for the song — Toine took the photo while on tour with Oddisee earlier this year.)
“He’s the one who taught me how to make beats. We pretty much grew up in the same area. He took us under his wing and kind of taught us how to make music,” Dunc says. “Me and Antoine aren’t shy about saying that we look up to him. We’re proud that he’s gotten so far, because he’s from where we’re from. You’re walking in a random store and you just hear his music, you can’t help but smile and be proud.”
When Dunc talks about what’s next for DTMD, in a way he’s describing what Oddisee’s career has been like in recent years.
DTMD wants to “make music we love, and live off the music we love. I’m talking about touring constantly, doing shows, constantly putting records out, just doing stuff that we’ve always talked about doing,” Dunc says.
The producer doesn’t offer any specifics about the industry pitfalls that DTMD faced. Channels are still open with Mello Music Group, the label that released Makin’ Dollas, he says, but there have been conversations with other labels. In 2014, Dunc self-released Cycles, an album of instrumentals, and Toine released the antoine jameson mixtape. “While You Wait” was issued at the same time as “The Tunnel,” a posse cut featuring some of DTMD’s longtime collaborators. Another digital single, the soulful banger “What They Ask For,” dropped Tuesday.
Whatever the case, Phase 2 of DTMD now has a lair — a new studio that Dunc opened in Brentwood, Maryland.
“Me and Antoine are in there all the time now. I had a little home studio, and now I’ve got this pretty ballin’ studio that I’ve been building out for the past seven months. Now we have a bunker, we can just lock the doors,” Dunc says, laughing, “and make music all hours of the night.”