Suffolk rapper nominated for award

Published 8:56 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

A music video that features many Suffolk buildings and locations was up for Best Music Video at the VEER Magazine’s music awards last week.

Though Shane Johnson, whose stage name is Shane Dollar, didn’t win the award for his “Laughing at God” video or the other award he was nominated for, Best Hip-Hop Artist, he said he was pleased just to be nominated. He also performed at the awards show held at the NorVa.

Suffolk’s Shane Johnson, whose stage name is Shane Dollar, performs at the VEER Magazine music awards last week. He was nominated for two awards. (Courtesy of Mackenzie Brunson)

Suffolk’s Shane Johnson, whose stage name is Shane Dollar, performs at the VEER Magazine music awards last week. He was nominated for two awards. (Courtesy of Mackenzie Brunson)

“I didn’t even know I was nominated,” he said. “It was an honor.”

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Johnson grew up in Suffolk, alternating between Whaleyville and downtown’s Holladay Street. He bought his first hip-hop album at age 13 and got hooked.

He started making his own music at age 15. He graduated from Lakeland High School in 1998. In his 20s, he started performing around town but got out of the business for a while because of lack of time, he said.

He came back about three years ago, performing in front of 500 people in his first show back at the NorVa.

Since then he has worked with several national acts, including producer Nottz Raw, Bizarre and Bubba Sparxxx. He released his newest album, “Underdog,” in November, and his next will be a group of love songs titled “Work of Heart.” Last year, he headlined the NorVa twice and opened for several celebrity acts.

He believes his type of hip-hop appeals to folks around his age.

“I grew up in the hip-hop era, late ‘80s, early ‘90s, when hip-hop was really popular,” he said. “I make an old type of music for an older crowd.”

The video for “Laughing at God” features Suffolk locations like Cedar Hill Cemetery, Constant’s Wharf, Sentara Obici Hospital and downtown churches.

“I try to keep a message in my music,” he said. “A lot of hip-hop is considered negative. I’m delivering a little positivity into a negative forum.”

He believes the message of the song is what got him nominated for the video.

“Hopefully next year I’ll take the award home,” he said.

Johnson lists old-school hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, Eminem and Run DMC as among his influences, as well as non-rappers like John Mayer, Jodeci and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

He has three children and works at Birdsong Peanuts as a maintenance mechanic. He is recently engaged.

“I manage family and music and work and have a pretty fulfilled life,” he said.

To contact him, email shanedollar@yahoo.com.