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Student rapper releases first mix-tape

Onyinyechukwu Igboanugo | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hailing from Zahm Hall, Damek Mitchell, also known as Slank, is creating buzz as an underground rapper. The sophomore is part of E.O.P. Goon Squad, a group made up of friends from Louisville, Ky., Damek’s hometown. Slank released his mix-tape, “Nikez and Nikeportz,” earlier this year.

“I grew up in a family with music, and I’ve always lived in a home with music,” the music major said. “I actually play the piano. I’ve been playing since I was about 5 years old.”

His father was signed to Atlantis Records as a soul singer in the 70s, and Slank said that he has been tremendously supportive of his venture into rapping.

The young rapped added he would consider rapping as a possible future.

“I’ll definitely do something musically-inclined if that doesn’t work out.”

Besides rapping, the 19-year-old likes to party and hang out with friends. The name “Slank” was reportedly given to him by friends he played basketball with back home.

“I played basketball at this community center gym in my friend’s neighborhood,” Mitchell explained. “Everyone there called me Slank as a nickname because I was tall and lanky. People just kept calling me that, so I made it my rap name.”

Slank gave The Observer an insight on his life as a rapper, and what else characterizes the individual besides rapping.

Onyinyechukwu Igboanugo: When did you start rapping?

Damek Mitchell: Um … I started in 2008.

OI: So, how exactly did you start rapping? What inspired you to start rapping?

DM: Well, I went out with a couple of friends. When we were coming back, we were all drunk at the back of his car, and I just started free-styling. Yeah, that was how I started rapping.

OI: Do you remember what your first punch-line was?

DM: I can’t actually remember, but I’m pretty sure it was something lame (laughs).

OI: So we heard that you performed at the underground rap show, how did that go?

DM: Well, it was actually a competition, and I won. They’ve had a couple rap shows in the past, and I’ve won a couple times.

OI: Cool. Besides the underground rap show, have you performed at any other shows?

DM: Yeah. Actually, when Big Sean came here last year, I rapped for him in Legends. They’ve also had other rap shows in school. I’ve rapped on North Quad before. So yeah, I have.

OI: If there was any celebrity you would love to meet or rap with, who would that be?

DM: I think that would be Juicy J from Three 6 Mafia.

OI: What was your greatest challenge when making and releasing your mix-tape?

DM: I think it was just trying to get the music out there. I mean, trying to just get people to hear your music. That was definitely the greatest challenge.

OI: So how do you think people responded to your mix-tape when it was released?

DM: I feel like people really like it because we got really good reviews on it when it was released.

OI: When you start off rapping, it’s really cool to have a lot of fans and a lot of people commending your work. Have you gotten any fan letters?

DM: (Laughs) Not a fan letter, but there’s this kid on twitter who was always tweeting my lines. I don’t know who he is, but I found out that he had been tweeting my lines. I thought it was really cool that someone was doing that.

OI: What have been the major setbacks to your rapping and music production?

DM: The problem is that most of the members of the group stay in Louisville, Ky. The distance makes it harder to produce songs together. But the guy who does my beats, Menace Rodman (also known as Tom Mealey), is a junior here, so that makes things easier for me.

OI: Besides your dad, how do your other family members react to your interest in rapping and music?

DM: My mom? She doesn’t really care. My brother and his friends are actually really interested in my music. I know they are big fans of my rap.

Slank has been “killin’ every sentence” in his mix-tape. Look out for this young rapper who hopes to go places.

Slank’s mix-tape can be downloaded free and legally from Hulkshare.com/eopgoons

Contact Onyinyechukwu Igboanugo at oigboanu@nd.edu