Hip Hop music is the youngest art form of any genre yet is the genre that has endured the most changes. Hip Hop went from Positive, To Hardcore (gangsta), to the bling bling era and most recently the swag rap or "dance era". The Sad thing is those artists have gone through those changes as well and find themselves hopping from wave to wave in attempts to stay relevant. It is difficult to find an artist that stays true to himself as well as his Mission. I'm a very picky person when it comes to Music for the simple fact that I grew up in the Nas, Outkast, and Tribe era. I still value a true emcee that raps with a purpose.
I could remember one Saturday afternoon watching MTV jams as I normally do and seeing this video of this young man rapping, my first reaction was here goes another lil wayne clone with dreads, but as I listened deeper to his message I was hooked and Could not turn the channel. That very next week my good friend Alton asked me if I knew about him, and it was him who made me research more and more of his music. It was something that took me back to the days where Rap had meaning and purpose! This artist I discovered that Day goes by the name of Dee-1
I had the pleasure Of sitting down with the lyrical phenom and learned a great deal about his Journey Thus far and where he plans on taking his Musical gift.
Let the People Know who you are and where you from? I'm a One Man Army. A man on a mission to inspire anyone who listens to my music. I want them to maximize their potential and fulfill their purpose in life. I'm from the 504. New Orleans East.
The Big Easy, where its easy to fall victim to the elements.
How did you get the name Dee-1? Dee-1 means that I am "The One" that has been chosen and given this gift to reach the world with my music and my story. My name is David, so instead of "The One" I'm Dee-1. Also, I started rapping in college, and I went to LSU in Baton Rouge. LSU is a D1 school. So the name Dee-1 represents my origin too. At first, my name was Deezy. But that was too common so I had to change it.
How long have you been making music? I've been making music seriously for about 6 years. When I was young my boys used to rap, but I was always the one doing the beatbox. I like doing that more than rapping.
Who were some of your favorite artist growing up? Nas, Tupac, DMX, MAC (from No Limit Records), Juvenile, and Lauryn Hill were my top 6.
What sets you apart from other Artist? My mission. I know I'm only on earth for a limited time, so while I'm here I want to spread as much realness and inspiration to people as I can. That way when I'm gone, my movement will live on.
How would you describe your sound? Its universal. And it's refreshing. That's about it.
You had the industry's attention with "Jay, 50 & Weezy" what inspired that record? My students inspired that record. I was teaching middle school when I wrote that. I just knew that it was time for some new leaders to step up to the plate who were not afraid to confront the people who could be doing more to help our culture.
What is your writing process like? It's random. Sometimes I write without a beat. Sometimes I hear the beat then get inspired to write something. Each of my songs has a unique story about how and where it was written.
How did the collaboration with you and Mannie come about? Mannie and I met about 5 years ago. I wasn't as good back then, but he still remembered meeting me. Over time, he saw the buzz and reached out saying he wanted to work with me. Now we have a hit song under our belts ("The One That Got Away"). So we shot a video for it and put it on youtube. Then MTV Jams picked it up. Now Mannie and I are about to make history... seriously. So stay tuned.
It's very rare to here kind of positive, thought provoking lyrics coming out of New Orleans. Is that a conscious effort? I'm just being a leader. And most of all, this is who I am. If you ask around the streets, people know that this is how I've been. A shining light amidst the darkness that my city often gets known for.
I know that you do not curse in your rhymes, please tell us the reasoning behind that? I made a decision to stop in my real life, so after that it was easy to stop it in my rhymes. It's funny though, because even though I don't curse, the powers at be still try to censor the realness I spit.
What Projects are you currently working on? I'm pushing my street album "I Hope They Hear Me Vol 2" and working on my album... Still no title yet.
Whats your label situation? I'm the CEO of my brand, O.M.A.R Ent... That stands for One Man Army Rebel... Other than that, I'm independent and doing well. Some labels have reached out, but its all about who's ready to believe in this brand and PUSH.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Music Business? It's easier than ever for independent artists to get noticed and make money from their craft. The only part I don't like is that sometimes I feel like there are more rappers than fans.
If you could collab with any artist Dead or alive, who would it be? Tupac and Bob Marley.
What Producer would you like to work with dead or alive? Mannie Fresh and Kanye West.
What is the best advice you have gotten so far while in the business? Be yourself. And have a good team of people who you can trust, who believe in you, and who WORK HARD.
What do you want to accomplish in the music business? I want to inspire and motivate millions of people. I want the people who meet me or hear my music to live with what I call Mission Vision. But at the end of the day, I just want to do God's will.
Do you have Any Final Words? Download my free street album "I Hope They Hear Me Vol 2" at dee1music.com... Search "Dee-1" on youtube and watch all my music videos... And just spread the word. When we make history, a lot of people are gonna be mad. But even more people are gonna be riding with our army. It's a movement.