Time and Trees recently caught up with Dan Cody Marston, a newcomer based out of Potomac, MD, for what ended up being one of our most intelligible yet controversial interviews ever. He spoke with us about his new EP, “No White Vans,” his political affiliations and his plans for the future.
Ever solemn, Dan Cody’s self-assured good nature sometimes walked the line of confidence and cockiness. He shared views that some readers may find unsavory, but I must commend him for speaking his truth. Dan Cody is not your average rapper, and this is not your average interview. You must read for yourself:
First off, explain the name.
It’s a combination of two of my favorite characters, Dan Cody from the Great Gatsby and Tony Marston from And Then There Were None.
They have very small roles in their books.
The seemingly insignificant ones are always important.
What is your connection to the DMV?
I was actually born in Maryland, near College Park. I’ve since relocated to Martha’s Vineyard, but my grandparents still live in Potomac. It’s one of my favorite places.
What made you want to start making music?
It’s proper easy. I just tried it a few years ago, and it was very easy. Writing a verse takes me just a few minutes. If it didn’t come so easily, I wouldn’t do it quite honestly.
How does your background influence your style of rap?
I come from a pretty well-to-do family. I mean, we’re not in the green book or anything, but I’m not like most rappers in the way that they had to struggle growing up; you’ll never hear me rapping about that. I didn’t experience that first-hand. I stick to my boats, my polo fields, my trust fund, politics. These are some of my favorite topics. I know about this stuff.
Yes, politics. I actually started out as more of a political rapper. I changed that for the most part, though. No one wanted to hear that shit, unfortunately.
Did you vote for Trump?
What’s the meaning behind the title, “No White Vans?”
“Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the white Vans.” That video really spoke to me. I don’t wear Vans, though, so I couldn’t very well call it “White Vans.” That wasn’t going to work. When I recorded “No White Vans Freestyle,” we had no name for the freestyle or the EP. We were gonna call the freestyle “Dicks out for Harambe,” but my engineer googled that and some Jewish rapper named Rockie Gold had already put out a song by the name. Re-recording the intro, that was just the first thing I thought to say. “Damn, Daniel. Back at it again. No white Vans.” People liked it, so it later became the EP title.
What’s your favorite track from the EP?
They’re all good. I encourage everyone to listen to all of them.
Who are some of your favorite artists of all time?
I really don’t listen to much rap anymore, but as far as that genre goes, I really appreciate Kanye West. Moreso for what he did outside of music. Maybe it isn’t true, but at least for me, rappers weren’t wearing high-end brands before Yeezy. I mean, except Coogi. What in fuck’s sake is Coogi anyway, though? I have never actually seen Coogi. Still, polo-style shirts, trousers that fit, I’m a big fan of the revolutionary role Kanye West played in the culture worldwide. It’s also pretty brave how he supported Trump.
So you voted for Trump?
I also really admire this guy named Bill Reber, you should check him out.
Are there any artists from the DMV you’d be interested in collaborating with?
With whom I would be interested in collaborating? No one comes to mind. Then again, I don’t really know of too many other artists from the area. Most of the ones I knew are no longer pursuing music.
That’s sad to hear. What do you think of the other talent in the area?
I’ll be honest. I’ve been to a couple of shows in DC in the past few months. Some of these local acts, a lot of them, actually, are absolute rubbish. It amazes me that they keep getting to perform. Promoters should have the good sense to not let that happen. I guess they’re so hungry for another artist from this area to get on that almost anyone who raps and fits a specific mold can perform at their event.
You don’t fit that mold?
No. I’m not pro-BLM or I don’t have dreads. I don’t rap about any matters of the hood and if I’m in DC it’ll probably be Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Observatory Circle or the Palisades.
What do you have against Black Lives Matter?
A few things, but this is the biggest: They’re outwardly anti-Israeli. I’m living in Tel Aviv right now, today. I’m here. Literally, I just attended a basketball game in Jerusalem the other day. I’m out here interacting and connecting with the Israeli people every day. One of my best friends is in the Tzahal, the Israeli Defense Forces, he just got sent to the Syrian border last week. I would never support any self-proclaimed “organization” that condemns the Holy Land.
So All Lives Matter?
No, I get the phraseology. Black Lives Matter, because in America, in recent years, black lives are the ones that seem to be most in jeopardy. I agree. My mother is African-American, my father is Melanesian, a black pacific islander. I feel that. I don’t feel the Communist Manifesto-style platform they released. There was very little in there with which I agreed.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I’ll have received my AB from Dartmouth College, bought a few cigarette boats that belong to no one but me, made some extremely smart investments. Hopefully I’ll have been on a nice tour or two with the whole music thing. I’m realistic, nothing too maij.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers in the DMV?
You really need to give me a chance. Like, no bullshit. Kill. I represent the area whether you like it or not, just maybe not the same part you represent. Still though, a win is a win. When Wale got signed, win. Fat Trel, Logic, Shy “Jefe” Glizzy, those are W’s. Stop supporting your 30-year-old former roommate who went to the HBCU with you, just because he has a studio in his closet and made some doodoo ass tracks. That’s dead. There’s just nobody else in the area who isn’t already on that can touch me. I get so much love in Massachusetts that it makes me kind of bitter that I can’t get the same from the place where I was born. I’m out here. Dan. Waterfront.
Are you concerned about how some people may view you after this interview?
I’m always concerned. I want people to like me. I don’t want a reader’s views of me to be why they won’t support my music. You know how you like an artists work, then you read an interview and you see some things the artist said that you detest, so then you fire off tweets about not supporting them anymore? Yeah, please do not do that with me. If you don’t like farts and you think a girl is extremely beautiful, would you stop thinking she was beautiful because she let out one extremely loud, smelly fart?
Back at it again. No White Vans.