Don Gawgon brings a world of perspective to the game. Born Wayne Willis in Liverpool, England, Don is of Jamaican heritage. He came to New York at the age of 4 and lived his formative years in the Boogie Down Bronx. Surrounded by a large, tight-knit family, The Don excelled academically while soaking up the historic movement that was taking shape in the birthplace of Hip-Hop. Early influence include the sounds and strength of the Zulu Nation, the style and moves of Uptown aka Harlem, USA, and the love of music and dance his West Indian heritage dictates.

"When I heard Planet Rock, it was over. To this day, that joint get's me up. By that time, Zulu Nation was making noise in the BX. When Planet Rock came out, that just locked it. Then I heard Beat Box by the Art of Noise. It was on!"

At that point, the Don was hooked on Hip-Hop. He formed a break dancing crew in the Bronx that ate up competition on the east side. Continuing to excel academically, he was accepted to the prestigious Bronx High School Of Science. This is where he caught the Uptown flavor, witnessed the uprising of KRS-ONE, and caught a glimpse of what Queens has to offer....

Half-way through high school, Don moved to Queens, near the border of Springfield Gardens and Rosedale. Shortly after, he met a street kid up the block who lived with his crazy uncles and aunt. Although from different worlds, Don and Malik clicked. It started with writing rhymes in the LORD's living room, hitting the last of the legendary park jams at Springfield Gardens 231, to joining the group RIP and TEAR and hitting a professional studio for the first time.

"I was the beat box of the crew. We were presented with our first recording contract by Sleeping Bag Records at the age of 16 or 17 but Ma Dukes wasn't having it. Shit was major. She wanted me to be the first one in the fam to go to college and she was not having any of that contract. Shit was major."

 

The Don went off to college, always planning to get back to the music biz after he had a degree in his pocket. He was accepted to the acclaimed Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) where he earned a bachelors degree in Computer Science with a minor in Computer Engineering and a concentration in Computer Graphics. He has gone on to build an impressive resume working for major players in the Fortune 500. He has earned millions of dollar for his employers during his 14 years of global, high technology experience across the disciplines of consulting, project management, digital media, IT outsourcing, IT strategy, IT support, and application development. Don’s expertise includes web site implementation, client server computing, customer relationship management, and distributed computing. This experience has been focused across a number of diverse industries including high tech, financial services, government, and entertainment.

Shortly after finishing college, Don Gawgon reconnected with Malik and witnessed, first hand, the power of the Life Or Death movement Malik and Puzzle created while he was away. As fate would have it, the computer technology and entertainment industries began to form synergies, and the time was right for Life Or Death to move to the next level.

In 2001, Don founded Corte' Media, a services company focused on providing unparalleled production, distribution, creative, and professional services to the global media and entertainment market. (www.cortemedia.com). The formal relationship with Life Or Death Entertainment began as a business consulting relationship that lasted for 6 years and has evolved into a joint venture. Providing virtual COO, CTO, and digital media services, including the design, development, and management of www.life-or-death.com and entertainment product packaging.

Don's impressive resume includes:

  • Breakaway Solutions, Inc. Director, holding positions that include Delivery Director, Relationship Partner, and Professional Development Manager of the company's New England Region.
  • Cambridge Technology Partners, Inc. Associate Director, Senior Project Manager and Resource Manager in the Custom Software/Interactive Solutions Service Line
  • Digital Equipment Corporation, Solutions Architect. Graduate of DEC's Information Technology Development Program, a program focused on grooming talented college graduates to be leaders in Applied Information Technology.
  • International Business Machines (IBM), PC Analyst and Programmer/Analyst.
  • Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Programmer/Systems Analyst , Retail Banking Systems Division

-by Anthony Sulefel - Staff Writer