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Can You Identify Future Industry Trends?

David Shands & Legendary Producer Don Cannon Discuss The Skills Needed to Catch Future Trends

No matter what industry you are in, there are two things that are important to know—where it's going and where it's been.

There are people in each industry that know how to spot trends and move toward them, ready to capitalize.

Don Cannon is one of those insightful individuals.

The legendary hit-making music producer was in-studio with The Social Proof Podcast host, David Shands, talking about all things hip-hop and the future of the music industry.

Would you like to learn more about Don Cannon and how he stepped into his calling at an early age and built his musical legacy brick by brick? If so, we got the episode queued for you. Just click below.

"Do it all, because you never know what people are looking for. " - Don Cannon
David Shands & Don Cannon in The Social Proof Studio
David Shands & Don Cannon

Table of Knowledge

Philadelphia, PA, born and bred, David Cannon is a musical wonder. We're not just saying that either.

He began DJing literally out of the womb. His musicality growth began at 2 years old and found him doing his first DJ gig at the tender age of six. He was making beats by the age of eight.

Now you see what we mean, right?

He was born with music in his veins. His uncle, upon discovering Don's gift, nurtured it and taught him how to turn his love into a fully established skill. Little did they both know this knowledge that would bring him a huge amount of success.

Thank God for his uncle, because Don couldn't depend on the Philadelphia school system to support him, because it didn't.

The school counselors treated him like most black men were treated in our nation's flawed educational school system, like a criminal.

Don recounts being told by "professionals" at the school that he would never make it and he'd most likely end up in jail.

Then let's consider the ramifications of where he grew up. Philly is one of the roughest areas in the Northeastern region of the United States. Don reminisces when he was a teen coaching tennis and had to remove needles from the courts so his students could practice.

He never let his circumstances keep him down, but he credits his upbringing with a heightened sense of awareness that he uses in every aspect of his life.

(More on that later)

Despite it all, Don rose above the chaos and developed a vision in his mind, which consisted of two goals. #1 get some money and #2 go full out on his passion for creating music.

His passion and goal found him in Atlanta, making money while attending Clark Atlanta University. Pretty soon, it became evident that school wasn't his focus, and he got kicked out.

It was for the best though, because he'd made his rounds in the local clubs of Atlanta and soon became the DJ for Philly's Most Wanted and then hit the road with hit-maker Timbaland and early 2000 talents Miss. Jade and Bubba Sparxxx. Then he started doing celebrity events, Whitney Houston's birthday party and Shaquille O'Neal's parties, to name a few.

Then the second song he ever produced in the industry was Jeezy and Jay-Z's "Go Crazy."

At that moment, he knew he was on his way.

Don Cannon on the Social Proof Podcast Set
Don Cannon

While he was tearing up the club scene, he met DJ Drama. The two became friends and were on the come up along with the third member of their crew, Trendsetter.

Although there were opportunities for managers and business opportunities to split them up and work on their individual brands, they remained a collective.

The three friends were so tight-knit and cool that they became associated with several people and crews.

An acquaintance of Don's moved to Atlanta and when he witnessed how the three of them moved, he told them that they were cool with everyone and had affiliations with different people.

This trifecta's bond as friends increased as they became a bona fide company.

They grew together and made names for themselves as a collective.

Arguably, DJ Drama is the facial recognition of the group. When asked if this bothered him, Don replied as cool and chill as his beats, for every movement there is a Jordan and Pippen. Then he summed it up that it never bothered him because he knew he was better than them. Again, peep his pedigree!

Although they were able to communicate after it happen, its effect on the group was undeniable.

Don found himself in a new opportunity and became the Vice President of A&R at Def Jam.

This was a turning point for him because he became more aligned with what he wanted for his company and future. He gained an increased awareness of sub-genres in hip-hop and their power.

The store's clientele consisted of outside of the box artists like Dom Kennedy, Asher Roth, Big Sean and Curren$y.

In this environment he would like with certain artists and do their mix tapes. He was an entry into the industry that many of them could not have gotten otherwise. He made his footprint as an innovator during this time.

Because he was constantly at the precipice of different seasons of hip-hop, he began to spot trends and watch their progression.

When asked what he thinks contributes to the gradual evolution or change of direction of music, he states clearly and firmly—fearless artists.

He credits Missy Elliott, P. Diddy, 50 Cent, Jeezy, Drake and many others. They all made music shift from where it was before.

"Every time someone's not scared to do something, the lane is being created for the next trend of music." - Don Cannon

Again, Don found himself in a new opportunity with the development of his record label.

His artists are some of the most eclectic and innovative names in the industry. They all share a unique aspect, their conviction.

From Lil Uzi Vert to Jack Harlow, his artists are in a league of their own. They did things by their standards and their terms.

While other music industry executives depend on metrics and tools to monitor what's next, Don, on the other hand, doesn't care about that. He builds things from the ground from instinct and what the artist represents.

Additionally, he attributes his success to his ability of not overlooking what's next.

He shares the story of an emerging artist who got on his radar by pretending to be an intern.

He moved like he should be there and then waited for the appropriate time to tell a member of the team he had skill.

Don and his team respected his drive and although they have since changed their business operations, the intern turned artist is now in development.

And Don isn't stopping there. He is making his presence known in the tech space with his app TmrO, a creative marketplace for creatives to find work for refutable clients.

In closing, a combination of fearlessness, innovation and a dedicated willingness to be original will keep you aligned with the progression of your brand and trends.

Don & David covered way more than this in the full podcast episode. Would you like to watch it? Catch it all by clicking below to see the entire episode.

We'll see you in the next upload!

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