Underground Heat: Dai Burger
This week on Underground Heat we feature eclectic New York artist Dai Burger
MTV’s The Wrap Up keeps up to date with the hottest music coming out of the UK, we’re taking you across the Atlantic and presenting the hottest emerging artists in North America with our weekly segment Underground Heat. These up-and-coming stars are going to blow up any minute now, and we’re here to tell you about them first...
The New York artist has been one of the music world’s best kept secrets, both fashionably and musically, and we’re confident that she’s going to be a huge star any minute now. She’s already release a vast range of work, from her energetic pieces with Los Angeles producer Saint to her most recent release, which features her showcasing a more lyrical approach, Dai Burger has proven time and time again that she’s willing to try it all, and absolutely slay it every single time.
Her first works MyMixxxytape and Raw Burger set off fireworks with the underground hip hop circles, especially within the inner-workings of the East Coast scene but more importantly, caused her name to be the name to know, so long as you were in the right circles. This spawned off into the 2014 release of In Ya’ Mouf, The Tamagotchi EP with Saint, and work with UK’s Darq E Freaker, launching her into a world that straddled between both the hip hop and electronic worlds.
Beyond this, Dai is an absolute megastar in New York’s eclectic underground fashion world, having ties to massive names like Patricia Field, who is known to many for her work on Sex and the City but is a giant player in New York’s fashion scene. And it’s evident by the way she dresses and carries herself. Her swagger exudes that New Yorker confidence that could be imitated but never genuine unless from a true New Yorker like she is. We sat down with her in a dark bar in Koreatown (in LA) and over a drink, we chatted all about her.
MTV: So one of the first ways I discovered your music was through your more “turn-up” based tracks (the work with Saint, for example), and your latest project is much more lyrical, more rooted in the power of your vocals. What were your thoughts going into the project and how did you make a shift as you dove into this EP?
Dai Burger: I’m an artist in general, and before I was a rapper, I was a singer and songwriter, and so for me, it’s me still being myself. I stuck with the rapping because it drew people the most, but I can’t turn my back on [that part of me] and so I re-visited my singing and writing roots, and people are still responding to that [despite it showing a whole new side of me]. I’m excited! I love the rapping side of me, but I couldn’t leave these other parts behind. I have to do me!
MTV: I’d love to know a bit more about your production process. How did you go about picking beats for the EP?
DB: I’m really selective, but for this project in particular, I was working with a guy named Chicken, he was the executive producer. He helped me discover my sound and perfect my tone, my overall sound, and be more secure in myself. Of course there were ups and downs, a lot of yes’s and no’s, take this, add this, but in the end, I’m super happy with the project.
MTV: I also noticed that you don’t have any features or anything on this EP. It’s entirely just you, were there difficulties in creating something that’s solely your own art?
DB: Yes! We decided to have no gimmicks, just a straightforward EP. It was hard, I have a really bubbly personality, none of it is a gimmick, but I have a big personality… I’ve had crazy hair, the big mohawks, and we decided to go middle of the road for this project. Right now, I’m the crazy me toned down. I’m the medium me.
MTV: I know this can be a tricky area, but I want to sort of approach the idea of being a female artist in today’s age but the idea of female artists seems to be an important topic to talk about…
DB: Yeah! We’re girls, it’s part of us. It’s a title and there are some labels, and I like the girl label, I’ll take that!
MTV: I guess I wanted to know your thoughts of being a part of nightlife, and what you would tell other girls who are maybe starting out in the music world… lessons you’d want other girls to know?
DB: I think the main thing is all in confidence. If you have that aura about you, nobody can tell you what to do. If someone is trying to pull you in a negative direction, or a sexual direction, if you’re strong enough to be you, you’ll have your woman protective shield on, you’ll be [okay]. Stay strong!
MTV: Finally, one of the things I’ve been asking for this segment is about your year in review. What has been the biggest ups and downs for you in 2015? What about in the making of your EP?
DB: 2015 has been so major for me, I released my first major project, and it’s been over a year since [my last project]. I worked really hard to put this together and it’s been out for about a month now. This EP is sort of my 2015, my everything.
I would have to say that at the beginning of the year though, I didn’t have any management, it was all just me. I was just a girl with a twitter and the internet, and it worked for me! But I was paying for videos out of my own pocket, and everything was being all done by me, so this year, getting management and getting help from friends… it was a huge change for me. Now I have to refer to people and get a yes or a no, and before, it was just all a yes because it was me making the decisions! Taking a little guidance from others, it’s really hard, but I’m growing as a person!
MTV: That’s probably really true for everyone. I guess I’ve never thought about it from that perspective, but it would be a big change to have people involved in my life like that.
DB: Yeah, and I’m stubborn! But you know what? They have my best interest, and they’ve looked out for me, and everything they’ve been telling me has worked.
Words by Kristi Shinfuku