The Dominican-American rapper Cristion D'Or is the hottest star in the New York City's Hip-Hop scene, but his road to success wasn't easy. Here's how he made it.

By Frances Solá-Santiago
December 04, 2017 09:44 AM
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Hip-hop artist Cristion D’Or has worked with some of the biggest names in rap — Consequence, French Montana, Jadakiss, Nate Dogg, to name a few.

But his road to success was rife with false starts. Before writing popular songs like “You and Me,” featuring Tory Lanez, and “Deserve You,” D’Or, who grew up in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, struggled to find a purpose. The 32-year-old dropped out of high school at 17 and admitted to having done “the illegal thing” for a while, ending up homeless and incarcerated for nine months. “I just couldn’t live like that,” he said. “That’s when I started kind of focusing a lot more on music.”

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D’Or started making the rounds at local clubs in New York City, where he met deejays such as DJ C-Lo and DJ Camilo. Hot 97’s DJ Camilo first played D’Or’s music on the radio. “He said, ‘I’m going to give you five minutes in this car and you play me the songs. And if they are good, I’ll put them on the radio tomorrow,’” the rapper remembered. DJ Camilo honored his promise.

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Cristion D’Or (right)

Since then, D’Or has amassed more than 60,000 followers on Instagram and released his first album Hello My Name Is D’Or in 2016. His songs grapple with real-life trials and triumphs — his mother’s cancer struggle, romantic relationships gone sour and sexual escapades — and often reference Spanish lyrics and cultural details unique to his Dominican-American upbringing.

The artist signed with a major record label last month (though he hasn’t officially announced) and his first forthcoming EP, Things I Forgot to Say, is set to drop early next year.

When asked what advice he offers aspiring musicians, he said: “Be persistent, consistent and relentless. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams.”