Couch Time: In Session With Johnathan Tillman – DTMD “Above the Clouds”

Above the Clouds


By Johnathan Tillman.

DC-area hip-hop is on the rise. One of the up-and-coming acts is DTMD, which stands for “Dunc & ‘Toine Making Dollars.”  They’re a two-man group flipping the EPMD moniker, with Duncan as the producer and (An)Toine as the emcee. Using the same chemistry other duos such as Reflection: Eternal and Pete Rock & CL Smooth employ, their sound is a laid-back, mellow groove—fitting of their demeanors.

The song I’m going to talk about is the last track from their EP, “The Basics;” and features a very introspective verse from Antoine. It begins with ‘Toine cleverly spitting bars about how things are backwards, ending it with, “…you got it backwards.” But it’s the second verse that I’d like to focus on. Normally, there are a few lines in a song that may resonate within a person more than others. But with this verse, its entirety is a personal truth for me. This is how it begins:

“To tell the truth, I had some disparity.
Had to divorce irregularity
‘Cause seeing me in PG (County) forever was scaring me.
Tearing me apart at the seams, but something told me to follow my dreams.”

So often are we afraid to take a chance with the talents we’re given and choose to be “normal” despite various opportunities for greatness. This verse is a reminder that following dreams can be a beautiful thing that sometimes shouldn’t be ignored.  ‘Toine says that he’s, “humble, but hungry to attain more,”  and takes us through his mindset when deciding to pursue his ability to rhyme. Despite whatever obstacles and detractors he encounters, he feels that this is what he’s meant to do. I share similar sentiments with my gift of writing, as well.  But this isn’t about me.

Full disclosure, I’ve known ‘Toine for about three years, and I’ve known Duncan for almost one year. Yet, that doesn’t distort the fact that their music is incredible. Soon, these young dudes will be heard from nationally.  “Above the Clouds” is one of many songs in which Dunc’s producing genius perfectly complements ‘Toine’s smooth but profound lyrics. I encourage you to pickup “The Basics” and vibe to their sound.


Listen to Above the Clouds here.

Download their album The Basics here.