Daru Jones has been a highly sought-after drum­mer in the hip-hop sphere in the last dec­ade, work­ing with fel­low legendary artists such as: Jack White, Nas, Talib Kweli, Stur­gill Simpson, Kim Bur­rell, Ski Beatz & The Sensei’s, Raek­won, Curren$y, Slum Vil­lage, Black Sheep, Dig­able Plan­ets and Camp Lo.

Along­side these artists and many oth­ers, Jones has per­formed at some of the most cel­eb­rated music­al events, includ­ing: One Mic: Hip-Hop Cul­ture World­wide! A 20th anniversary cel­eb­ra­tion of Nas’s debut album Ill­mat­ic, the 2013 Grammy Awards, Aus­tin City Lim­its, Rock The Bells Fest­iv­al, and the Montreux Jazz Fest­iv­al. All while receiv­ing rave reviews from: Rolling Stone Magazine, LA Weekly, and USA Today. Jones has also appeared on sev­er­al nation­al and inter­na­tion­al tele­vi­sion pro­grams, includ­ing: The Dav­id Let­ter­man Show, Jools Hol­land, Sat­urday Night Live, and MTV.

In 2015 he per­formed on “Laz­ar­etto”, the first single from Jack White’s second solo album, and played a massive part in earn­ing White a Grammy for Best Rock Per­form­ance.

Jones is also a pro­du­cer and boutique label own­er who devel­ops tal­ent and releases music through his imprint, RUSIC RECORDS, LLC.  These accol­ades, appear­ances and col­lab­or­a­tions have all earned Jones the title of being one of the most respec­ted drum­mers in the hip-hop game of his gen­er­a­tion.

We caught up with Daru Jones last month before he played the Souler event at Miami Art Week. Souler is an online store con­nect­ing influ­en­cers and brands

You have worked with many amaz­ing musicians/producers over the years, who were you ser­i­ously impressed by as far as music­al tal­ent goes? Who stood out the most?

That’s a really tough one. But, I’d like to shine some light on some recent amaz­ing musi­cians I had the pleas­ure of work­ing with such as, Isai­ah Shar­keyJon Bap and Mark Noxx. I also wanted to add work­ing with Queen Lati­fah was quite a cool and amaz­ing exper­i­ence.

Pro­du­cer wise, of course Pete RockJack WhiteSalaam Remi and more. Jack White stands out because of the diverse ses­sions and live work I did with him from many genres from Rock, Hip-Hop, Sou and Coun­try.

Is there any­one you still wish to work with in the future? 

D’An­gelo, Bey­once, Jay‑Z, Sting, Bob James just to a few or more.

Who would you love to work with again?

Raphael Saadiq

Although you were in Pitt­s­burgh, you were able to go back to your roots and work with Detroit based legends you knew so well?

Yes!  Dur­ing the time I star­ted play­ing in Slum Vil­lage band I was liv­ing in Pitt­s­burgh, PA at the time.

Before you star­ted work­ing with Jack White, back when your influ­ences were mostly hip-hop/­jazz based (e.g. J Dilla, DJ premi­er, RZA) did you ever see your­self work­ing with someone like him? 


Did that take some adapt­a­tion on your part or did it just come nat­ur­ally to play integ­rate into that music­al style?

Nat­ur­ally because Jack high­er me to bring my fla­vor and style to what he was doing so it was no pres­sure.

You had a lot of influ­ences grow­ing up, with gos­pel, soul, hip-hop etc, What were some of your favour­ite records grow­ing up?

For Gos­pel it was, The Rance Allen Group, Com­mis­sioned, The Win­ans, and The Clark Sis­ters.

Soul: Stevie Won­der

Hip-Hop: LL Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, Geto Boys, NWA, De La Soul, A.T.C.Q. , Gang­starr

Who’s an up and com­ing artist you’d like to shout out who you feel like needs more love?


Would you con­sider your­self a hip-hop “tra­di­tion­al­ist” or are you always try­ing to find new ways to com­bine with oth­er genres and evolve your sound?

I’m always look­ing to find new ways to evolve and add to my sig­na­ture sound and style.

What are your thoughts on where hip hop is cur­rently going?

Music­al wise, I love the dir­ec­tion on pro­du­cers using more real live musi­cians to cre­ate and add soul­ful authen­t­ic ele­ments.  I like that fact that is going back bars and speak­ing on real glob­al issues.

Is it mostly pos­it­ive or neg­at­ive? 


Would you like to see the genre shift in a cer­tain dir­ec­tion or revis­it some old styles?

I’d like to see some 80’s and 90’s styles revis­it for authen­ti­city and ori­gin­al­ity

Are there any gigs you regret not being a part of? 

In 2014, I went to the legendary D & D Stu­di­os (NYC) a week before it closed to meet with one of my favor­ite hip-hop pro­du­cers, DJ Premi­er.

He invited me to join his new band he was form­ing to do a short tour in Japan 2015. Right after I con­firmed I was avail­able, the fol­low week I received the tour sched­ule for Jack White and found out we were play­ing Madis­on Square Garden on the same day as Premi­er Tour star­ted and unfor­tu­nately I had to back out.

A week later, I was asked to join bassist, Pino Pal­ladino and one of my favor­ite vocal­ist, D’An­gelo for a rehears­al jam-ses­sion in regards to tour­ing with him but due to my sched­ule com­mit­ment with  Jack White and etc. that oppor­tun­ity fell through. I was pretty bummed at this point that 2 of some of my music­al her­o’s were inter­ested in me work­ing with them.

Oth­er then that, No regrets because I believe everything hap­pen when the time is right.

Or for the most part did you take full advant­age of all your oppor­tun­it­ies?

Yes, I did. At the same time, I’m grate­ful for each oppor­tun­ity and being able to do me and bring my vibe/style to each work situ­ation.

 How often do you meet oth­er drummers/musicians in gen­er­al out­side of the genres you nor­mally work with?

On a reg­u­lar basis.

Do you think there’s any­thing you can learn from, say, met­al or Lat­in drum­mers?

Of course, I’m always in the school of learn­ing.

Daru is cur­rently prep­ping for an upcom­ing release from super group, DMD the Vibes  with Jones, gui­tar wun­der­kind Mar­cus Machado, and legendary Liv­ing Col­our bassist, Doug Wimbish. Daru is also per­form­ing with hip-hop pro­du­cer, Pete Rock as a mem­ber also music dir­ect­or for his new live band, The Soul Broth­ers as well as power house Rock-Hop trio called, Th1rt3enwith Phar­oahe Monch.
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Shaan Siton

Shaan Siton

I was born in South West Lon­don, but spent the last 10 years in Pitt­s­burgh, USA. I’m an avid hiphop fan but also enjoy oth­er genres such as punk rock, elec­tron­ic, and ambi­ent. I love play­ing the gui­tar, and mak­ing music on my laptop in my spare time. Ins­tagram: shaansiton Snapchat: ssiton

About Shaan Siton

Shaan Siton
I was born in South West London, but spent the last 10 years in Pittsburgh, USA. I’m an avid hiphop fan but also enjoy other genres such as punk rock, electronic, and ambient. I love playing the guitar, and making music on my laptop in my spare time. Instagram: shaansiton Snapchat: ssiton