From A Blank Canvas: Rahn The Don

Interview By Nasa Lamode

Follow Jerahn “Rahn The Don” Thomas:

From a blank canvas, 27 year old Houston rapper and entreprenuer, JerahnRahn The DonThomas, is building his foundation. Rahn doesn’t just stop there, he also skates, is a photogrpaher, videographer and much more than meets the eye. Rahn recently dropped an EP on all platforms named after his staple slogan “From A Blank Canvas” with features from fellow artists, Jonathan Rashun and AdéLese. I got the chance to shoot the camera and shoot the shits with Rahn The Don about his latest drop, his lifestyle and his goals. Here’s what the future mogul had to say:

Nasa: Yo Jerahn, or better known by “Rahn The Don”, thanks for fading through to my studio today. How you feeling?

Rahn The Don: I feel good man. I feel like a new me. All this is fairly new to me since I’ve stepped into my role as an artist, so I’m here for the journey; Taking it all in day by day…you know?

Nasa: Ya, I can dig it. You brought with you a camcorder from like 1997 and a film camera. Those are both dope and nostalgic. I kinda want one now. Whats the deal with those?

Rahn The Don: So my camcorder is a ‘Sony VX1000’, very popular amongst the skateboard community. I actually got it from a very well known videographer out here, John Danielson, who’s done a plethora of dope skate videos out of Houston. So he’s definitely been an inspiration towards my skate videos that’s I’ve filmed personally, in that regard. I just started shooting photography. I started off with a ‘Sun600 Polaroid’ camera, but the film camera I have with me is just a ’35mm Pentax’ point and shoot camera. Much like every other vintage camera I’ve acquired over the years, I got it from thrifting. Literally one of my favorite things to do. I just ain’t finna give up my spots though so I hope you don’t ask, haha. Nah it’s just jokes, but for all y’all out there just Google thrift stores. It’s a hunt sometimes you hit – sometimes you miss. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

Nasa: Yea, documenting is mad important. When I saw that, I was like na, we GOTTA add these to the shots. Give your shoot some personality. I be so bored with all these basic photos you feel me? 

Rahn The Don: I definitely feels that man. Mind you, I’m a young guy; only 27. But honestly, I’ve just always been attracted to vintage things. Like the old school aesthetic is ME! I honestly feel like I’m just an old soul here living in a new age. I collect vinyl records, I still collect and read old magazines. I’m stuck on 90s-2000s Hip-Hop & R&B, and I love watching older movies. I’m embodying that. Hell, since I’ve started filming, everyone always calls me the “VHS guy”. So now I’m finna coin it. I’m “THE VHS GUY!”

Nasa: That’s funny. But definetely something cool to be known as. So we did get some conversation in during the shoot and I did my research on you, but for those who don’t know you, what exactly do you do?

Rahn The Don: Aah man. Let’s get into it. I call myself a “Jack of all trades” because honestly I don’t think there’s anything I can’t and haven’t been able to do. I’m an artist; I make music (write, record, produce) and on the visual aspect of that, I make scrap art. “From A Blank Canvas” out now too for the sonic and visual representations of me. I’m an alumni of “Savannah State University” with a bachelors degree in accounting. I’m an audio engineer, recently certified from “Avant Media Institute”. I film and do photography. Check the IG and YouTube for allat. I skateboard. I repair iPhones through my company “Mobile Mechanics HTX”. I’m a video editor/content creator, and poet. 

Nasa: Wow, that’s a a lot. How do you manage to tackle all of that and still have time for sleep? Haha. 

Rahn The Don: That’s actually the problem. I have a hard time sleeping to be quite frank. Even with all that, I do I still have that feeling in me of “man you could still be doing more” or “you can go harder Rahn.” Workaholic type, but when it comes to doing all those things individually, it all comes in waves. Each specific thing that I do I’ve spent a significant portion of my life honing in on those things in itself. Like the music, I’ve been doing for almost 10 years. Filming and editing 3 years, iPhone repairs 4 years, and so on. So the inspiration and motivation to do all those things honestly just depends on if the work is presented to me. Mainly based on how I’m feeling and what I’m trying to do to express myself because they are all expressions of me.

Nasa: Since I’m also a musician, I wanted to go over that first. How do you describe your sound?

Rahn The Don: My sound I’d say is really for the LISTENERS. It can be many different things sonically because I’m a very diverse artist and inspired my all different types of music. Solely based off my first project “From A Blank Canvas” though, I’d say my sound is like a new school blend of Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, and Kanye. Soulful, relatable, and positive. It’s a positive sound I’m tryna raise the vibrations. 

Nasa: What about your audience?

Rahn The Don: My audience and who I speak to through my music specifically is for the Black boys, girls, men, and women around the world. Outside of that it’s for any and everybody who likes positivity, who actually wants to listen, likes wordplay and wittiness, and in need of that SOUL FOOD, music with depth, not that FAST FOOD that lead to death. 

Nasa: Who do you listen to? Like what some stuff on your playlist? 

Rahn The Don: Everything. And when I say everything, literally everything. I get it from my dad. He exposed me to a lot of different music as a youngin. My taste in music varies occasionally, but mainly I listen to alot of Sade, Leon Bridges, Khruangbin, Wu-Tang Clan, and specifically this new artist I stumbled across named Dijon he has a new album “Absolutely” 10 out of 10 would recommend. 

Nasa: Let’s talk about the photography, videography, and creative direction. How did you get into that?

Rahn The Don: So shout out to my big brother, Jermaine Thomas. He’s the one that got me into filming, back in college, even though I didn’t do much of anything with it. He sparked the idea of me getting behind a camera, because he’s an award winning short filmmaker himself. My filming journey started off through skateboarding. My best friend in Houston, John Clark who runs “Spotwatch Houston” used to to make monthly edits of us and all the homies skating. Eventually I thrifted this “JVC” dad camera and started bringing it out on sessions. I fell in love with the look and before I knew it, I was filming the homies and putting together my first ever skate video, “It Is What It Is” that YouTube so unfortunately just took down like a couple weeks ago. But I have some other skate videos out so watch them while y’all can. Photography I seriously got into it because of my grandparents they’ve always had scrap books so just seeing the physical history in my family through photography sparked me getting a Polaroid camera to take pics of my grandparents when I went to to Arkansas to visit. Somehow it’s turned into me creating a multitude of lifelong memories for me and the people I come in contact with. And I’ve only been doing it for a year.

Nasa: When we spoke during the shoot, you mentioned that you plan on upgrading your equipment in the near future and getting into bigger projects. What are some of those projects?

Rahn The Don: So eventually, I want to get into filmmaking, directing, and production. I really feel like I have a keen eye for capturing certain things, creating scenes, and being able to just tell a story visually and entertainingly through my videos. Trying to become the new age “Spike Lee“. I want to do everything from corporate commercials, to movies, to documentaries. Speaking of, I’m actually working on my first home grown documentary centered around my project, “From A Blank Canvas”, centered around artistry in Houston through all avenues. So all my creatives who made it this far- TAP IN!

Nasa: Understood! Yeah same here. I remember telling you I initially wanted to have other photographers work for me, but I decided to shoot on my own and create my own vision. I don’t regret it now. I’m proud of my work so far. Where would you say you’re at in your career right now?

Rahn The Don: Right now, career wise, creatively I feel like I’m still on the come up. Still feel I have a lot to prove and I got a lot of hunger in me. I am definitely gaining more traction and getting more attention to my work, but I honestly just be keeping my head down and steady working hoping that it all pays off sooner than later. I need to see some M’s like yesterday, type beat.

Nasa: So you mentioned your usually BEHIND the camera, but we was able to get you in front of the camera. How did that feel? Was it a little weird at first? 

Rahn The Don: Yeeeeaaaa man for sure. Perfect example is that pic you said I looked scared in. Haha. I’m a reserved and laid back guy so being in the spotlight always has made me nervous, but on the other hand I’ve always felt like I should be in the spotlight, so it’s something I’m still gaining the confidence with doing as I step into the light. This is like my 3rd photoshoot I’ve done over the span of about 6 years. I like it though, all of this is very much so new to me.

Nasa: Ya no doubt. That’s what I’m here for. Im glad you jumped off the stoop and did it. So you a skateboard P as well? 

Rahn The Don: Yessir! Certified skater, shoutout to Jorge and KC over at “Geometric Skateshop” for keeping the kid rolling. I used to skate when I was like 13 and I used to get bullied a lot for it. So to stay active, I started playing football, basketball, and running track to fit in. Picked the board back up my Junior year of college for my birthday and it’s been history ever since. My progression was at a very accelerated rate cause they had a skatepark on campus, which was very strange for the oldest HBCU in America to have on campus. It was my stomping grounds. Pretty much skated everyday and by the time I came to Houston, I hit the ground running and eventually got on with “Geometric Skateshop“.

Nasa: That’s so lit, I always wanted to skate but never really dedicated myself to it. I was always too scared of bustin my ass  or breaking a bone. Not you?

Rahn The Don: That’s really the beauty of skateboarding that shit teaches you the essence of life, I feel like. Skating is hard and you’ll fail, fall, get injured, but if you really passionate enough about it and “landing the trick” you keep making the necessary little adjustments along the way and learning from your mistakes until you finally get it. So people be saying I’m crazy for the slams I’ve taken and the things I’ve tried skating but I be looking at them like “Nah you’re crazy for having something you’re passionate about and not be willing to fail behind trying to see it fulfilled.”

Nasa: Haha, well I’m glad you still learned how to do it and made it happen. Any other knowledge you wanna drop on us before you slide?

Rahn The Don: Just want to say thank you to any and everyone who truly rocking with me and support anything I’m doing. Be sure to follow me on all social media @rahnthedon, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and TAP IN if you’re a creative and want to be a part of the biggest documentary to come out from Houston’s underground talent! 1 love to all.

Nasa: Well it was dope meeting you. Can’t wait to work with you again in the future!

Rahn The Don: Likewise king, keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s