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Donnis, “[I'm] Trying to Make Sure People Get a Classic Album.”

After gracing XXL’s 10 for ’10 Freshmen cover, Atlanta’s Donnis has garnered a series of wins. First, he signed a major label deal with Atlantic records, then, he dropped two mixtapes (The Invitation and Fashionably Late) and hit the road, touring most of the year.

Last month Fashionable Late was retailed as an EP by Atlantic and Donnis’ latest single “Tonight” has been making some serious noise, spawning a 106 & Park performance and a new video which has made its way onto MTV. Unfortunately for his detractors, the young spitta shows no signs of slowing down. The ATL brave continues to feed fans with freestyles like “Paparazzi” and “Black & Yellow,” all while preparing his debut album, Basic Training.

Currently, the rapper is on an U.S./Canadian tour with Brooklyn-based indie band, Matt and Kim. caught up with Donnis to get the latest details surrounding his debut and his feelings on his critics. Now, we just got the Fashionable Late EP, but everyone wants to know what’s up with your official debut album?

Donnis: Debut album, right now it’s titled, Basic Training. [I’m] cooking up, been in the studio for the past 72 hours. Getting it right, you know what I mean? The big homie Needlz, Yonny, Boi-1da… we workin’. Trying to make sure people get a classic album.

Are you recording it in Atlanta?

Out here in Atlanta [and] in hotel rooms across America. We got the portable studio there; airports, wherever we can record, we record.

Is there a solid release date?

No, we’re saying April [though]. ’Cause if I don’t turn it in… I’m supposed to turn it in mid-November because of whatever circumstances then we gonna have to push it back, but right now we pushing for April.

Your label Atlantic Records and Lupe Fiasco have been making headlines with his release date and the drama surrounding that. How do you feel about Lupe’s situation?

I can’t really speak on the Lupe situation because of what happened. I just know hearsay and then the fact that me and Lupe haven’t met yet, we keep passing each other in the halls. But he just got a date, so you got to be happy whenever you get a day. I think it’s like March 8, [2011] or something like that. I’m looking forward to it, he’s a phenomenal artist, and I can’t wait to hear what he’s been working on. I heard some of it.

Critics have said that your stock as an artist has plunged since appearing on the XXL Freshmen cover. How did that make you feel?

Yo, it hurt me when [The Smoking Section] did that because it didn’t make sense to me. I was like, “Yo, how do you say Donnis has it all and then give me a D.” I don’t get it, it was crazy for me. But, it’s okay I got a record deal and I got on the cover of XXL with one mixtape [2009’s Diary of an ATL Brave]. So for me it’s a different type of grind. No cosigns, no nothing. It’s just me and the record label, so the record label just kicked in with the Fashionably Late EP, we [just dropped] the ["Tonight"] video that we just shot out in Tokyo. So, y’all about to eat them words, y’all about to eat them words. —Nicki Nahmeanez

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