The search for Godfather Don
Thursday October 07th 2004,
Filed under: Features,In Search Of...
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During those oh-so-mediocre days of the “indy revival” in the late 90’s, one of the few artists to actually put out records that still hold up today was Godfather Don. Although he was no stranger to the rap game, as he had dropped a great album on Select back in 1991 (“Hazardous”) which nobody heard, as well as becoming an honourary member of the legendary Ultramagnetic MC’s on “The Four Horsemen”, it was his involvement in the seminal Cenobites project that had lyric nerds pricking up their ears. As the opening salvo fired by Bobbitto’s Fondle ‘Em imprint, this collection of Kool Keith and God Don madness was never intended for commercial release, but after much pleading from Bob it hit the stores, and generated a significant buzz which resulted in a glut of Kool Keith records, each one less interesting than the previous, as well as a renewed interest in Don.

Linking up with Queens-based Hydra Entertainment, the Godfather went on to release a string of strong self-produced 12″singles. Starting with the incredible “Styles By The Gram”/”World Premiere”/”Properties of Steel”*, he followed up with the superb “Piece of the Action”/”Seeds of Hate”, straight into “Life Ain’t The Same”/”On The Other Side”, and finally “Fame”/”Da Bomb Baby”. When he dropped his second album, “Diabolique”, he made the commendable decision to record ALL NEW TRACKS, instead of throwing together all his old songs with a couple of new joints as most people seem to do.

Vocally, Don evolved from an abstract, left-field lyricist to a jiggnorant flowmaster by the time the “Diabolique” album hit, but I wasn’t complaining. His beats were a testament to the the stripped-down minimalism perfected by Showbiz, and his contributions to the Hydrabeats series (Volume 3 in particular) are some the rawest, most enjoyable instrumentals ever committed to vinyl. Sadly, he appears to have retired from microphone duties (rumour has it that he’s “found God”), but continues to bless the boards for hardknocks like Screwball, Royal Flush and Mobb Deep.

Anyone with information as to Godfather Don’s whereabouts, please let me know.

* Note to vinyl geeks: God Don’s first Hydra release was actually meant to be “Stuck Off The Realness”/”Status”/”Burn” (HYD-413), but only 100 copies of the test pressing were ever produced. A handful of these were later made available through Sandbox, and I was lucky to grab a copy. Shit is dope, if you didn’t know.

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25 Comments so far
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so has does anyone know where he is or whats he up to?

i was listnening to diaboloque..did a google search and i end here..i wasnt ready for it in 1998 but i love how this LP sounds right now

Comment by c 02.21.05 @

Nice Site Rob
I saw a new? Don instrumental album with picture cover the other day but didnt have time to listen.. it was called Hydrabeats: The Next Level, or something like that, never seen it before, it was like he was starting it all up again

Comment by Sandro 12.29.04 @

that shit he did for scaramanga was hot too.

Comment by cole 12.12.04 @

he had a song called 7 degrees of elevation that bobbito ued to play wow

Comment by the illest 01.25.05 @

Don’s a legend. I was once on a trip to new york and me and my man bumped into Don, stood outside the office where his day job was. We took some pics, chatted, laughed as he hit on some passing girls, and later that day we took him out for dinner, and did a little interview for Hip-Hop Connection. he was a charming guy and a dope lyricist

Comment by Drew Huge 01.31.05 @

where is that don article

Comment by the illest 02.02.05 @

I’ll dig in my archives and pass it on to be posted – it’s about 5 years old. however

Comment by Drew Huge 02.07.05 @

Yeah he is dope. This is a good website

Comment by AirAlex 02.15.05 @

BTW Godfather Don does production on both the new Screwball LP, Screwed Up (dope album if you don’t know) and also the new Hostyle LP. But they actually reused two (Godfather Don produced) tracks from the Screwball LP on the Hostyle LP and arguably two of the best tracks at that. Screwed up is good, I have the vinyl version but it seems as if the CD version is double disc with alot of extra shit. Hope that helps.

Comment by AirAlex 02.16.05 @

i spoke with somebody recently…a good authority…that says godfather don has been on some jesus shit for the past few years.

Comment by Benny Blanco 03.15.05 @

wow some jesus shit?
thats ill because son used to be on some crazy shit
but thats good anyway

Comment by illest 03.16.05 @

Where’s that Don article from Hip Hop Connection? I’d love to read that!

Comment by Funcrusha 07.25.05 @

No mention of his work with V.I.C. as the Groove Merchants? The One Love 1L Remix??? Kurious’ Mansion and a Yacht? For shame.

Comment by marcos 07.26.05 @

The way Godfather Don formed his patters was sick. For a long time I considered him the best lyricist in hip hop. Just the way he flipped syllables and his vocabulary, it was incredible. I’m a huge fan and have been looking all around for other releases he may have had. Im very glad to know he’s back to making songs.

Comment by syllable structure 10.18.05 @

Well anybody know anything about this vinyl album I found on the net, I’m wondering how old this is.

Comment by DJ Joey Joe 01.27.06 @

hydrabeats was by Nick Whiz, is he godfather don in disguise? if he is i have a lot of beats from him :)

Comment by skunk 04.17.06 @

I really hope he releases some new material soon..i really wanna hear some new styles of the godfather don..the stretch armstrong shooooooowwww

Comment by Rhyme patterns 09.10.06 @

Does anyone know wut Demo or something has the song “We Can Do This” by Cenobites. I found it on limewire. And who is Mike L.

Comment by MC Bucky 04.08.07 @

Bucky – Mike L is an MC, appears on the Diabolique album Robbie mentioned. Mike L can be heard alongside G.D and Scara’ on the dope ‘No competition’..thats as much as i can tell u, anyway.

Comment by P.m.ES 04.10.07 @


Comment by MC Bucky 04.11.07 @

That new ’90s Sessions’ CD by Godfather Don is incredible! Anyone peeped it?

Comment by Mike G 03.29.08 @

I just went to dig out ‘Styles By The Gram’ and remebered I sold it in 04 to some guy in the Bronx! I just remembered that it was weird that I was sending a Godfather Don record brought in Leicester UK…to the Bronx! WHEN WILL I LEARN TO NEVER SELL ANYTHING BECAUSE I ALWAYS REGRET IT. I can hear Properties of Steel in my head right now and I wish I still had it. Arse.


Comment by ED209˚ 03.30.08 @

Read the question about Mike L.. I’ve been digging around, searching for information about dude.. Can’t find shit. Definitely a top level MC, up there w/ Kool Keith GD and Scara. Wish I could find more of his shit. Anyone know anything about this mysterious man?

Comment by matthew 05.06.10 @

Here is a new article that mentions what he has been up to:

Present & Future:

Don isn’t doing hiphop anymore. He stepped his game up and became a more live musician and next to his guitar which was already presented on his first album, now plays the clarinet, piano, sax, bass, you name it. He plays in a sort of jazz oriented quartet called ‘The Open Mind’ who like to categorize themselves as improvisatory experiments in sounds.Godfather Don

“Once I played live music, man I realized the other thing is a job now. This is pleasure, this is the love supreme! The other rap thing was like a job. Like “Can you program this thing for me?” Okay. “Can you arrange something for me?” Okay. But now it’s like “Hey, can you guys play a tune?” Sure!.. You know, you don’t know what you’re gonna get. But it’s great, just the concept of live improvisation. To me it’s very powerful and very now in the moment.”

Comment by The Afro Viking 07.28.14 @

That new ’90s Sessions’ CD by Godfather Don is incredible! Anyone peeped it? @Mike G-
ive been trying to track down a version for a friend and its a pretty rare find. The ryhme patterns on this were on another level. Cheers for the read on theTika .

Comment by Dontez43 08.31.14 @

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