Born in 1999, Nicolò Bonafede aka Don Said is a rapper from Catania, based in Milan, who has already written 11 singles independently. With “Non mi disturbare”, his last single available on all digital stores since February 22nd, he approaches the gloomy instrumental of producer and musician John Lui tying a text very similar to a stream of consciousness, free and impetuous, without rules.
The short film accompanying the single, directed by Daniele Fazio, written by Alessandro Timpanaro and produced by Collater.al Studio, is inspired by the narrative noir and exploitation, to tell the night journey of Don Said and John Lui aboard a vintage Mercedes.
A disturbing race through the dark streets of Milan lit only by car headlights and street lamps, which show ambiguous characters and distressing stories.
Watch now “Non mi disturbare” official video here and read our interview with Don Said to find out more about him and his music!
Let’s start from the beginning, “Said”, the name you chose, is inspired by the protagonist of “La Haine” by Mathieu Kassovitz. A cult movie that has already made its appearance in the world of Italian music thanks to Achille Lauro and Marracash. Why did you choose this name? What do you think you have in common with Said and which is the link between the film and rap culture?
When I first saw “La Haine” I was about 14 years old and I had approached hip hop and freestyle for a short time. There is no a real similarity between me and the character, but the soundtrack and the scene in which Said writes “Said baise la police” have made me revive many of the things I was beginning to live. For me, it’s still the most hip hop movie anyone has ever done. Although I have some great memories of this culture and that period, I’m now more attached to music and art in general than to the dogmas of classical rap.
In your musical career you released 11 singles, how has your path changed from “Russian Roulette” to “Non mi disturbare”?
The first single I ever recorded was in my bedroom with a friend of mine. It was called “Russian Roulette”. I just remember that we were very excited despite the poor sound quality, but we liked it, we wanted to make people hear what we were doing, for us it really rocked, we believed in it a lot. Since then, about 11 singles have been released. The first real single, the one that made me take the music seriously, was Pillole, released in January 2017: from that moment on I started to do a lot of live concert and totalizing a certain number of listenings that led me to have more confidence in the project. “Non mi disturbare” is a very important track for me, I always made music for myself before the others, but with this single, I really understood what kind of music I want to play, I found my own artistic identity.
You are one of the youngest rappers on the scene and you arrive at a time when rap and its “children” are on the stages of the most mainstream programs of the Italian tradition. How do you live this phenomenon and how do you think it will change the culture of Italian rap?
Maybe we are living the real golden age of rap. We have the opportunity to make ourselves heard on all the stages, the radios are playing more and more rap tracks and everyone is talking about it. It’s a very varied genre and people are beginning to notice it, the new sounds are no longer demonized as before by those who come from the 90’s rap, finally. It’s a genre that’s constantly improving, especially because there’s so much competition.
A great controversy is the one related to tracks contents, too focused on the use of drugs and addictions, what do you think of those who ask artists to justify their lyrics?
Drugs exist even if they are not mentioned in the texts, those about contents are sterile polemics. Art is free expression and the truest thing you can do is talk about what you live. The real drama is the misinformation about substances, not the fact that they exist and that people use them.
Your music is much closer to old school rap than to the sounds that have been taking hold for some years now, why this choice, maybe, “less clever” than that of your colleagues?
Actually, I think that my music is largely up to date, maybe the things that refer to the most “old school” rap are the fact that I use very little the autotune (I like a lot, but not on my voice) and the themes that I speak of.
On the other hand, I have freer writing than before, I tend to write a few rhymes and I prefer that the words sound good to each other. It’s a good compromise between the new sounds and the music I come from.
How did you know the producer and musician John Lui? Can you tell us how this new track was born?
I met John Lui in his studio, Dubrum, where I had to record a track and he immediately liked the way I wrote and sang. I already knew him artistically and I really liked his work, it all started very spontaneously. “Non mi disturbare” was written on a plane, I have very confused memories of that period, I remember that I was returning to Catania, my hometown, to work in the studio with John, I couldn’t wait to record it and let him hear what I had written. The beat comes after the lyrics. The same day we had the track almost ready, which was then perfected over time. We are very meticulous about what we do.
When do you think you’ll be ready to release your first EP?
I’m ready, I’m just trying to create the right thread between all the tracks. We’re almost there.
Shot & Directed: Daniele Fazio
Written: Alessandro Timpanaro
Production: Collater.al Studio
Executive Producer: Ivan Donadello
Costume Designer: Stephen Ajao
Set Photographer: Any Okolie