Don Cannon

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Don Cannon
Cannon in 2011
Cannon in 2011
Background information
Also known asDJ Don Cannon
Born (1979-08-02) August 2, 1979 (age 43)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Disc jockey
  • record producer
  • songwriter
  • record executive
Years active2003–present

Donald Cannon (born August 2, 1979) is an American DJ, record producer, songwriter, and record executive. Cannon is a co-founder of the Atlantic Records imprint, Generation Now. He was also a member of the prominent Atlanta mixtape collective, Aphilliates Music Group, with his long-time collaborator and fellow Generation Now founder, DJ Drama. Over the course of his career, Cannon has produced tracks and albums for artists like Jeezy, Logic, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, 50 Cent, and numerous others. He also served as the Vice President of A&R at Def Jam Recordings.

Early life and education[edit]

Cannon was born on August 2, 1979 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] He was raised largely in West Philadelphia. At the age of 5, he received his first set of turntables, a mixer, and a karaoke machine.[2][3] By age 11, he had DJed numerous events, including his aunt's wedding reception.[2][4] After high school, Cannon moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Clark Atlanta University. While there, he met up with other Philadelphia natives, DJ Drama and DJ Sense. The three formed the Aphilliates while in college together as a loose collection of DJs. Cannon also began DJing parties and clubs in Atlanta's inner city.[2][3][5]


Cannon, along with DJ Drama and DJ Sense, officially co-founded the Aphilliates Music Group (AMG) in Atlanta in 2003.[6] Cannon often produced tracks on DJ Drama's prominent mixtape series, Gangsta Grillz, which featured artists like Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Fabolous, T.I., and numerous others.[1][2][7]

Some of Cannon's most notable early production credits with Aphilliates included Jeezy's "Go Crazy" featuring Jay-Z, 50 Cent's "Man Down," and Ludacris' "Everybody Hates Chris." Cannon also helped develop mixtape series like Lil Wayne's Dedication, T.I. and P$C's In da Streets, and Jeezy's Trap or Die.[8][9] He would go on to co-host a show on Atlanta's WHTA and became a music director for the show Streets Iz Watchin on the Sirius XM Radio station, Shade 45. Good Day Atlanta, the morning show on Atlanta's Fox affiliate, also named him "Atlanta's Best DJ."[3][10]

In September 2006, the Aphilliates Music Group entered into a strategic partnership with Asylum Records.[6] In January 2007, however, Aphilliates' Atlanta offices were raided by local police at the behest of the RIAA, and Cannon and DJ Drama were arrested on RICO charges. Authorities seized 81,000 mixtapes and various pieces of recording equipment in the raid.[11][12]

That raid and others like it were subject to public outcry in the aftermath, with some music industry insiders describing the RIAA and its constituent members as "schizophrenic." Aphilliates had largely operated with the express permission of major record labels at the time, because AMG helped promote their artists.[13] Neither Cannon nor DJ Drama were ever convicted in relation to the raid.[14][15]

In December 2008, Cannon announced his departure from the Aphilliates, opting to focus on his own production and promotion company, Cannon Music, LLC.[8][10] In 2009, he produced the theme song for Tyler Perry's TBS sitcom, House of Payne. He also produced season themes for the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers.[10][16] From 2009 to 2012, Cannon produced, mixed, and/or hosted numerous mixtapes and tracks for artists like Big Sean (Finally Famous Vol. 3: Big),[9] The Cool Kids (Gone Fishing), Curren$y (Smokee Robinson), Jeezy (Trap or Die II),[17][18] Trouble (Green Light),[19] and Lil Reese (Don't Like; hosted with DJ Drama).[20]

In July 2013, Cannon was named the Vice President of A&R at Def Jam Recordings.[10] He is credited with signing and fostering numerous artists while at the label.[9][21] In August 2013, Cannon reunited with DJ Drama and DJ Sense to co-found a new media collective called The Academy.[22] In September of that year, The Academy announced its initial roster of 23 DJs.[23]

In 2015, Cannon and DJ Drama founded the record label, Generation Now, as an imprint of Atlantic Records. One of the first artists they signed that year was Lil Uzi Vert. Cannon served as executive producer on Uzi's 2015 debut commercial mixtape, Luv Is Rage.[1][24][25] He also served as executive producer on Uzi's 2017 studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, which topped the Billboard 200 chart.[26][27] Other artists that Cannon and Drama have signed to the label include, Skeme,[28] Jack Harlow,[29] Lil James,[30] and Killumantii.[31]


Recognition and awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2008 Justo Mixtape Awards Best Mixtape Producer Don Cannon Won [32]
Justo Mixtape Awards Best Mixtape Team The Aphilliates Won [32]
Justo Mixtape Awards Best Mixtape Series Gangsta Grillz Won [32]
2018 Global Spin Awards DJ Record Label of the Year Don Cannon and DJ Drama (Generation Now) Won [33]


  1. ^ a b c Madden, Sidney (2 August 2017). "Happy Birthday, Don Cannon!". XXL. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Graham, Nadine (5 December 2012). "Inside the DJ Booth: DJ Don Cannon". The BoomBox. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Horton, Chad (15 March 2012). "Interview: DJ Don Cannon on working with Lecrae". Rapzilla. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Don Cannon: "I DJ'd My Aunt's Wedding When I Was 11 Years Old"". The Urban Daily. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  5. ^ Hess, Mickey (25 November 2009). Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide. Greenwood. p. 491. ISBN 978-0313343216.
  6. ^ a b Zisook, Brian (11 November 2006). "Asylum Records Announces Partnership With Aphilliates Music Group". DJ Booth. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  7. ^ C.M., Emmanuel (30 June 2016). "DJ Drama Walks Fans Through his 'Gangsta Grillz' Mixtape Series". XXL. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  8. ^ a b Burgess, Omar (10 December 2008). "DJ Don Cannon Leaves Aphilliates". HipHopDX. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Phillips, Yoh (8 August 2016). "A Producer In The Rough: The Sounds & Impact of Don Cannon". DJ Booth. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d "Don Cannon Named VP of A&R at Def Jam". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  11. ^ Crosley, Hillary (17 January 2007). "DJ Drama Arrested In Mixtape Raid". Billboard. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  12. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (18 January 2007). "With Arrest of DJ Drama, the Law Takes Aim at Mixtapes". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  13. ^ Sinnreich, Aram (21 July 2010). Mashed Up: Music, Technology, and the Rise of Configurable Culture. University of Massachusetts Press. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-1558498297.
  14. ^ Love, Tirhakah (18 January 2017). "How Hip-Hop Survived The Atlanta Mixtape Raid". MTV. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  15. ^ Seabrook III, Robby (16 January 2018). "DJ Drama Arrested in Atlanta Mixtape Raid – Today in Hip-Hop". XXL. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  16. ^ Philson, Mike (3 November 2014). "Top 30 DJs In Hip-Hop Right Now". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  17. ^ Macia, Peter (15 April 2010). "T.I. & DJ Drama vs Jeezy & Don Cannon in...THE BATTLE OF SHIT WE WILL LISTEN TO A LOT". The FADER. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  18. ^ Escobedo Shepherd, Julianne (4 May 2010). "Don Cannon & Young Jeezy, Trap or Die II Mixtape MP3". The FADER. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Mixtape: Trouble 'Green Light' (Hosted by Don Cannon)". Complex. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  20. ^ Drake, David (5 July 2012). "Download Lil Reese's Don't Like Mixtape". The FADER. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  21. ^ Garvey, Meaghan (5 December 2014). "10 A&Rs Behind Your Favorite Artists of 2014". Complex. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  22. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: DJ Drama, Don Cannon and DJ Sense Form "The Academy"". AllHipHop. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  23. ^ "It's Official! The Academy Announces 1st Wave of DJs". AllHipHop. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  24. ^ G, Nicky (14 October 2015). "DJ Drama and Don Cannon Share Details on their New Company "Generation Now" with Skeme and Lil Uzi Vert". Sway's Universe. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  25. ^ Frometa, RJ (18 December 2015). "Generation Now & Atlantic Records Sign Lil Uzi Vert". Vents. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  26. ^ Weinstein, Max (25 August 2017). "Here Are the Production Credits for Lil Uzi Vert's 'Luv Is Rage 2′". XXL. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  27. ^ Saponara, Michael (13 October 2017). "Lil Uzi Vert's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  28. ^ Harris, Michael (8 August 2017). "Inglewood's Finest Skeme Drops New Mixtape '1st Notice,' Part One of Mixtape Trilogy Series (Listen)". GRIP. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  29. ^ Saponara, Michael (3 August 2018). "Jack Harlow Signs With Generation Now & Atlantic Records, Premieres Frenetic 'SUNDOWN' Video: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  30. ^ Nav, Josh (13 August 2018). "New Generation Now Artist Lil James Releases Debut Project '21 Years Later'". Hip Hop n More. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  31. ^ P., Milca (11 November 2018). "Killumantii Drops Off Debut "Yellow Tape" Album". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  32. ^ a b c "Crooked I, The Aphilliates Win Big At Mixtape Awards". HipHopDX. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  33. ^ Caslin, Yvette (17 February 2018). "Revolt's 6th annual Global Spin Awards honors hip-hop heavyweights". Rolling Out. Retrieved 12 September 2019.

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