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J.R. Donato carries Waukegan, IL everywhere he goes! A recent performer at SXSW’s FADER FORT in Austin, Texas, J.R. Donato is excited about his future in the rap game.

The Taylor Gang artist recently released the Paris Bueller produced, Couldn’t Wait off of his forthcoming North Pole mixtape on SoundCloud.


A tribute to his hometown, Waukegan, IL, the mixtape is expected to drop later this spring. “As far as putting on for my city, it means everything to me,” J.R. Donato told The Source. 

“I’m able to motivate people from my city.” 

Check Out Couldn’t Wait

J.R. Donato caught up with The Source and schooled us on his hometown and what it’s like working with Wiz Khalifa.

The Source: What does your hometown of Waukegan, Illinois mean to you?

J.R. Donato: Waukegan means everything to me. It’s where I was born and where I was brought up. I feel like since we are the north suburbs or suburbs in general, people don’t think it’s hood or poppin’ up north. Also bodies drop in North Chicago or Waukegan, the same way they do on the south side of Chicago. But it’s a population difference, so not as fast and you can’t move like you can when on the west side or north side of Chicago. But in this game, you have to earn your respect. You have to show and prove as well and that’s what I plan to do with my music.

The Source: What was the creative process in putting together Couldn’t Wait?

J.R. Donato: I didn’t write that song. I don’t write as much as I used to. Its a trap song for the streets with a boppin’ feel. I’m pretty much saying when the pack come in I get it gone, cause I can’t wait. I’m a stoner of course. So I’m speaking on weed. And I’m telling my homegirls to bring her friends lets get stoned and party. Lyrics in the hook say: “Turnt? Yeah I’m already up. COULDN’T WAIT!” It’s a fun song for the fans and a street song for the trappers.

The Source: How excited are you to launch your career under Taylor Gang?

J.R. Donato: Excited isn’t the word. I’ve been following Wiz since, Say Yeah, his old single. Kush & OJ really did it after me hearing Flight School. I rocked taylors and throwback jerseys when I was in 5th grade. So to see a rapper back styling then, I was hooked. Rockin’ camo shorts, high socks and all! Check out my ‘Hoodie Boy TV’ YouTube channel. I was supporting the Taylor Gang movement before I even met Wiz. But to be under his wing and have him as my mentor and really treat me like his little brother is a dream come true. Sometimes I still don’t believe it. But being able to bring something to the table and contribute to making the Taylor Gang movement bigger is like, I wouldn’t wanna be with any other label. I’m where I’m at because it’s meant. We are about to have the biggest wave ever!

The Source: What feeling will your fans get from bumping your music?

J.R. Donato: I feel like they’ll hear or know my story by the time I’m done. But I don’t like to fabricate a lot so I talk about what I’ve been through or seen. I want to focus on making music as relatable as possible. I want to focus on making timeless music that will last and that you will listen to 10 years from now.  Even if I’m talking’ street, it’s what I come from. Music is my way out the streets, so I wanna let people know. Focus, peace and love will get you far. I just want to motivate people to want more in life.

 Make sure to check out J.R. Donato on Twitter @RealJRDonato