Published on March 5th, 2022 | by MuzikScribe


Tanya Morgan: Brotherhood



First things first, please introduce for me the members Tanya Morgan…

Von Pea: I’m Von; I’m a producer, and MC in the group.

Donwill: I’m Don. I mainly rap in the group, but I’ve been doing more production as of late.

Now let’s hop right into this latest single / video “No Tricks” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition? 

D: I dropped by Brickbeats’ studio when I was in Cincinnati and challenged him to a sort of songwriting drill, simply pull up a beat and let me see if I could come up with a song. My part came together pretty quickly, and then we sent it off to Von to finish up. Brick is one of my oldest friends, and our longest collaborators. He produced half of Moonlighting and Brooklynati, so he is partially responsible for our sound. The only reason we really started moving away from albums being produced by Von Pea and Brickbeats was that when Ilyas left we needed to fully honor the change and alter the sound of the albums moving forward.



Of course “No Tricks” comes courtesy of your latest project, Don & Von — Although self explanatory still tell me, conceptually, what that title represents both to and for you all?   

V: To me, the title represents brotherhood. We have been through a lot within the music industry for many years, and we have been weathering the storm together. To me, the title is like a celebration.

D: It’s a celebration of us being our full selves and not rap caricatures. Not that we haven’t been our full selves before, but as Von says we have weathered a lot; both professionally and personally.  The cover art does a bit of the explaining, too. Like we’ve always been on our own shit, building our own universe and for a bit we are just taking a minute to admire all the work that we did. It’s a tenured album.



How then does Don & Von either differ and / or compare to that of your previous bodies of work?  

V: I believe with every project we do it’s simply an update on where we are creatively, and as Black men in America. This is where our skills are now, and where our headspace is now. With that said, there is a certain wisdom to this particular project based on where we are currently.

D: This album also didn’t have a concept tying it together. It’s just us being us over fly ass beats. That departure from our usual overt sense of humor leaves it up to the listener to engage with the album how they see fit, because there is less hand holding on this go round.

Reflecting, tell me y’alls whole inception into music — When did you all first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Tanya Morgan?

V: Growing up in Brooklyn, I have always been around Hip Hop and always been interested. I can’t really remember where it began, but it’s always been there for me. Don and myself met on a Hip Hop message board like 20 years ago, and we had similar ideas for music. The chemistry was there from the start.

D: From an early age – like elementary school – music and fashion were the two ways I could relate to people in my age group. They were also identifiers for finding your tribe. So as time went from high school into college on, I just began to identify more deeply and try my hand at making songs instead of just being a fan. For a while participating in the culture was less about “trying to get on” and more about personal identity, but at a certain point it just graduated to, “okay, somebody gotta hear how nice I am,” which is around the time I met Von.

Now y’all are natives of where exactly? And growing up there, who all did / do you all consider to be your strongest musical influences?

V: I’m a Brooklyn, New York, native. I’m from Bedford Stuyvesant, and I grew up on all of the Hip Hop from the late ’80’s / early ’90’s and was influenced mostly by Native Tongues.

D: I’m from Cincinnati, and I always cite Too $hort as one of my biggest influences growing up. De La Soul was another one along with Pharcyde, Black Moon, Souls of Mischief, Alkaholiks, N.W.A. and other groups. I didn’t start trying to make music until much later in life, but early on those were a few of the artists that truly captivated me.

How did the two of y’all even come together to form Tanya Morgan?

D: I had a crew in college I would make music with, and after connecting with Von via Okayplayer I mailed him a cassette of some of our songs to see if he wanted to collaborate. He honed in on me and Ilyas, and said we should do some stuff and that was more or less the formation. A year or so later, I linked up with Brickbeats and me and Ilyas would go there to record and his beats became an integral part of the sound. It took a while for things to coalesce, and as time would go on the group just became us two…but that was how it all started.

Where does the group’s moniker originally derive from?

V: Our name came from a conversation we were having one day about the first album titled Moonlighting; it goes with the concept of that project and it was supposed to be a one time thing, but it took off and we decided to remain a collective.

In having said that, how do you all classify your overall sound and / or style?  

V: I think you would describe our style as post Native Tongues…or even just indie Hip Hop.

D: Yeah, at this point I would just say indie Hip Hop. If a person needed a cleaner genre classification, I’d say ‘backpack’ or ‘underground’ or ‘boom bap’ but genre classifications can be so limiting in a way that it can sometimes inhibit music discovery.

Switching gears here…

Success, what do you all attribute yours to?

V: I definitely feel successful when I think about all of the music we’ve made, and the people that like that music a lot and have considered some of our stuff classic material. That’s a big deal for me.

D: Consistent quality and personal relationships. We have largely operated as a self managed group, and even in the times that we’ve had management or booking we’ve been very involved in maintaining existing relationships and cultivating the ones they may have brought to the table. Any amount of success we’ve had had been largely due to understanding that there are real people helping us along the way. We also care deeply about the quality of our work, and I think that translates across the board.

What do you all want people to get from your music?

V: I’m hoping people can relate. I’m hoping people can laugh along, feel something and hear something that sticks with them.

D: I’d hope one of the takeaways is inspiration. Knowing that you can make space to dream and practice whatever it is you consider to be your art, while simultaneously being an adult and handling real life shit that isn’t fun but is still necessary.

On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of Hip Hop? 

V: I think Hip Hop is fine, but I’m concerned with the current state of entertainment consumption. There is so much of it, and the artist of every medium are working really hard. So much is falling to the wayside and being buried.

D: Yeah, I 100% echo what Von said. The sheer volume of music makes it easier for people to brush aside stuff that you need to sit with to appreciate. I am however happy with how much cool dope new shit that crops up. There is definitely something for everybody, and now it’s almost like an endless buffet of it.

Do you all have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music? 

V: Personally, I just enjoy being a creative person however it decides to come out; it’s usually music as far as me making my own music, but I do like to DJ and I’m trying to get back into video stuff.

D: To be honest, most of my dreams / aspirations are tied to music or can somehow tie in to music. I’ve built most of my life around music, so it’s hard to imagine a world where I am not involved in it in some way. I do, however, think I’d be a kick ass comedy writer, and have even toyed with writing a few scripts.



To date, what has been y’all’s greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?

V: I think still being able to make quality music and really good albums at this point in our career is a big deal, especially since it only gets harder to cut through.

D: I’d say seeing our songs on TV is always a ‘holy shit’ moment. Like having people tag me in videos of them hearing our music in shows they are watching never gets old. That and playing the Vienne Jazz Festival.

One track of y’all’s that you all think defines you all and why?

V: I can’t think of one song that really defines us, but I would love to know what our fans think. They probably have a better insight to the definitive TM song.

D: “Afterschool Special” from Don & Von. It really gives a glimpse at the conditions and environments that shaped us.



Finally, what’s next for Tanya Morgan?

V: Tanya Morgan is for the children, and Tanya Morgan is forever and ever haha…

D: Rubber Souls 2 coming at some point. Some new merchandise, and maybe some shows haha

Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?

V: Find us online!

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

D: If you are a fan, thanks for your support…and if you’re new to the crew, start with the last album and go backwards haha.



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