Major Van Winkle “Bikini Bottom”
Named after his grandfather, Maje McDonnell, a 1950’s Phillies pitching coach and son of well-regarded Philadelphia guitar player and songwriter, Don Van Winkle aka Major Van Winkle spent his childhood growing up in a musical South Philly home.
From falling asleep in his crib to Mozart-baby cassettes, to learning how to play the theme from Jaws on the family piano, Major became obsessed with music. Major grew up constantly listening to his parents’ eclectic collection of classic Rock n’ Roll, R&B and Soul records. On weekends, Major had the unique opportunity to see his father perform at live gigs, as well as watch his Uncle’s band, Philly’s own Soul Survivors, perform.
Major adored the classic, soulful, oldies sounds that made up his first exposure to music. Due to these influences, Major started playing drums as his first musical expression.
In his pre-teen years, Major discovered a subset of music called ‘Hip Hop’. At first, the genre was foreign to him, but something kept intriguing him about this mode of music as he began to mentally blend it with the classic sounds he grew up with.
Then an XBOX video game called Tony Hawk’s Underground brought it all together and changed Major’s musical outlook forever. He was introduced to a soundtrack full of sample-heavy, golden era and underground hip-hop–Jawns” filled with classic horns and jazzy piano riffs cut up over the swinging ‘boom bap’ of hardcore drums.
He was all in. Major Van Winkle fell in love with hip-hop! Major was thrilled that the soulful vinyl sounds he grew up hearing were being reworked and brought back to life. The melding force of modern hip-hop instrumentals drove Major to delve deeper into this genre. He discovered and immediately became infatuated with the sample-driven sounds of producers like J-Dilla and Oh No. It was now clear what Major wanted to do with his music.
Self-taught in almost every aspect of his musical life, Major eventually became very fluent with the critical computer software and built up a plethora of short instrumental beats inspired by all the music that forever influenced him. Creating a catalog of self-made beats. Major inevitably became a closeted rapper. Testing out every beat he made with a freestyle, or self-written verse.
Major slowly honed his craft as a lyricist. Driven by the goal of blurring the line between technical songwriting, pure entertainment, and thought-provoking shock value rap, Major Van Winkle is an artist with mind-bending blendabliltiy. “Bikini Bottom”, his first musical offering, is a sweet gem – smokin’ beat, dope lyrics, and delivers urban humor like a 97’ Michael Jordan in Game 5. At the end of the day, music is art and art is subjective just like love.
Born out of human expression, delivered by sound, Major’s goal is simple, to create masterpieces stamped from his words, his rhythm, and his soul.
Original verse, original beat, spread love.
DIRECTOR: @maxmilianimages RAPPER: @major_ityrule
Co/Directed by: @_L3IGH