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D. Montayne is ‘Goin Up’ at Legends

Chris Collum | Thursday, September 23, 2010

D. Montayne is an up-and-coming underground rapper, who also goes by Dylan Walter on campus at Notre Dame. The sophomore’s second mixtape, “Goin Up” dropped recently, showing improvement in leaps and bounds from his freshman release “Extracurricular Activity.”  He plays a show at Legends tonight.

In “Still True,” the first single off of “Goin Up,” he raps, “I know at times life is crazy, yo / But I ain’t ever have an option to be lazy, though / Even if I’m never spun up on the radio / I’m still true / ‘Cause I’m just doin’ what I love to do.”

He echoed these lyrics when he spoke with the Observer early this week.

“We’re all stressed out, we all have a lot going on,” he said, “but by doing this music thing I’m being true to myself because it’s what I love to do, even if it doesn’t amount to anything.”

These sentiments ring true throughout his mixtape and should strike home with many students. Walters’ greatest strength is one that he shares in common with many underground or relatively undiscovered rappers or musicians in general. He has an earnestness in his lyrics and delivery style that makes his material not only accessible but relatable, especially to someone of his age group who is sharing a lot of similar experiences.

In terms of his songwriting, Walters says that he was somewhat disappointed with “Extracurricular Activity.” Recorded entirely in his dorm room last winter, he says no one had heard any of his material prior to the release of that mixtape.

With “Goin Up,” Walters said he put an emphasis on writing his lyrics down as opposed to freestyling.

“‘Extracurricular Activity’ tries to do too much, ‘Goin Up’ focuses on quality,” he says.

This emphasis on quality also filters across to the production of “Goin Up,” which is far more professional than that of “Extracurricular.”

Kid Classic, who Walters says is another name in underground hip-hop in his hometown of Santa Fe, N.M., produced several of the tracks—including “Still True”. That track and others call to mind the production styles of Kanye West on his early albums or on some of Jay-Z’s early-2000s work.

“Goin Up” also features female vocals on several tracks by “Hayley J,” a friend of his from New Mexico who had never been recording singing before, but whom Walters knew had a good voice. Her presence adds variety to those songs, especially “Justice,” which would be a logical choice as a second single.

As far as long-term goals go for this mixtape, Walters said he simply wants to “get the name out there,” and hopes that people will hear his work and be willing to collaborate with him. He said that to his knowledge, there is very little underground hip-hop scene at Notre Dame, but would like to change that.

“I’m doing this first because I love it, second because I want to be heard, and third because I’m kind of upset with what people are obsessed with musically,” he says.

“Goin Up” should see Walters garner more exposure both at home, where he played his first show over the summer, and here, where he plays his first show tonight. While still a new artist, Walters shows a lot of promise, and with continued work and growth, the next time he talks to someone from The Observer, he shouldn’t have to be introduced. Keep an eye on him, because he is most certainly “going up.”

His mixtape is available for free and legal download approved by the artist on datpiff.com.

What: D. Montayne and Cookies and Cream

Where: Legends nightclub

When: Thursday, Sept. 23, 10 p.m. How much: Free with ID

Learn more: legends.nd.edu