Born 1991 in El Paso, Texas as Robert “RJ” Jackson, Dopus Pennington grew up moving around a lot living in various places in the US (Alabama being the longest, most often tenure). A fan of music his entire life, he has always been doing something musical. Whether he was singing songs with his grandma in church choir as a young boy or marching in band from 6th grade until graduating college. With his dad being a classic rock fan and his mom strictly listening to gospel he didn’t really get to listen to a lot of hip hop at home growing up. He would take every chance he could to find it when his parents weren’t around. “I had to find any rap on my own or listen to what everyone else was listening to.” High school is where he really started getting into hip-hop with a passion. Starting out as the person who would do the beat for lunch and break cyphers (aspiring only to be a producer at the time), RJ eventually found that he also had a talent and love for wordsmithing. This is also when he got his first taste at engineering. Which would later become his fulltime gig as he and several friends would get together after school sometimes to record at his home studio. His studio consisted of just a microphone, $30 recording program for windows, and a cheap drum machine at the time. After a few years of sub-par stage names RJ finally landed on Sir Dopus Pennington I (Dopus Pennington for short) based on some faux Latin meaning “dope with the pen.” This came after a short trend on twitter occurred when he and a small group of friends were changing their handles to humorous, fancy sounding names. As a result of moving around and seeing so many different styles and backgrounds and ways of life, Pennington’s music contains many different, varying elements that might not be found in a single region or subgenre.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: I’ve moved around most my life, but I’m gonna go with Birmingham, AL since that’s where I did most of my musical development at.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: I grew up in marching band playing trombone and baritone. In high school, I found a love of making music, especially on the behind the scenes part. I’ve been an artist/producer/engineer since around 2006.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: For me, music is life. When I’m recording and am in my zone, there’s no feeling like it. It’s even better when I release a track or project and the people who listen to it can really dig it and catch the vibe. I’m actually not much of a talker, but give me a beat (or better yet, ask me to make you one) and I’ll paint you a vivid scene that you can only see through music. Every song to me is basically an escape from any negativity/BS you might be going through, much like any other medium of art.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: I write what I see/feel at the moment. I may give you a story, real or metaphorical, in one song. Then on the next just straight rip it on some super lyrical wordplay type stuff. Sometimes I might switch it up and get on some artistic avant garde stuff with some other genres. I try to use my music to provide asylum from the insanity of the day to day, but even I have made my share of venting songs.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: Truthfully, anyone who makes music, cliché as it sounds, even if the style differs from my usual tastes I still can either find maybe one idea that’s good or interesting or I’ll use the song as elements to avoid. I honestly listen to way too much music to pick and choose my influences. Most heavily, I pull from a lot of jazz and blues sounds and concepts when making my beats. Lyrically I like to listen to a lot of thought heavy stuff like Talib Kweli or Lupe or The Roots – artists like that.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: It’s a little bit of conscious rap mixed with some hard times, some good times, and a little weed and liquor to set the mood. I used to say that I make stoner music without the use of or rapping about drugs which is kind of true. Really I just make the type of music that you press play and vibe to, chill out or ride to. I’m a big fan of (spoken word) poetry and have been told that a lot of my songs sound like poetry set to music. At the same time, I’ve been told that I sound like a mix between Three Stacks and MF DOOM (probably the greatest compliment I’ve received).
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: As a producer and emcee both, I would say that my experience as a musician is what makes me stand out. I write my lyrics more like musical notes than words as far as rhythm and how the words sound/fit into the music. My ability to be easygoing and my adaptability gets almost completely transferred into my music. Yet even with that, I still bring a kind of energy and type of subtle wisdom that really draws the listener in.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in your music career and how did you overcome?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: Doing everything on my own. I have good family and friend support as far as fan base goes, but any work I need done, it’s either do it myself or come up with the scratch to pay someone. That being said it adds more incentive to try to collaborate with other artists. Also, I’ve had run-ins with a few shaky venues and promoters trying to take advantage of local independent artists by not paying them or cancelling shows/changing times with no warning or notice. It’s caused a setback or two. At the end of the day if the fans enjoy the show and someone comes up to me afterwards wanting to buy a CD, that makes it worth it to keep pushing and making good music.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: As a producer, I’m always making beats that end up on other folks’ projects, but personally I do have 2 upcoming projects that I’m working on at the moment. The first is a beattape entitled “Smoke Breaks”. It’s on a similar vibe as “Candlewax”, my first beattape, but is a little more thematic and will most likely be longer. The second project is a full-length hip hop album that I’m calling “SolidStreamofConsciousness” which I plan on releasing in late spring, early summer. SolidStream is a more conceptual offering, yet still brings the poetic flow with the two-ton wordplay that you would expect from me. Other than that, you can find me on tracks with my partner in rhyme Brilliance Proper as the duo Calligraphy (Check out our album, Film School) or with the Alabama collectives District Phive/Nu Nation.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: My career goals are to perform as an artist while freelancing (or working in-house) as a producer/engineer. In 10 years, I see myself doing music, still producing and performing, but on a bigger scale, and possibly teaching audio technology.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
DOPUS PENNINGTON: Facebook – www.facebook.com/penningtonthefirst For updates/new music releases.
Soundcloud – www.soundcloud.com/penningtonthefirst
This is my producer music page. Beats for sale and remixes are on this one.
Bandcamp – http://mrmusicman.bandcamp.com This is where all of my full projects are including any Calligraphy projects
Email – email@example.com For booking/collaborations, etc.
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