Wrap Up And Watch Out: Dee-1
Dee-1, born in New Orleans, is a rap star on the rise. He has already been co-signed by most of America's hip-hop media, furthur confirming that he's the next in line to blow! James Walsh caught up with Dee-1 at the 'Essence Music Festival', New Orleans, to discuss his rise, taking calls of congratulations from Mannie Fresh, sharing the stage with the likes of Lupe Fiasco and future plans...
The Wrap up: Dee-1, how are you? For those who haven't heard of you previously, please tell them a bit about yourself…
Dee-1: I'm Dee-1, aka The One Man Army. I'm from New Orleans and if Tupac and Lauryn Hill were married, I would be their son.
TWU: Who were your musical influences and inspirations growing up?
Dee-1: I grew up listening to No Limit and Cash Money Records, Tupac, Nas, DMX and Lauryn Hill. My pops had jazz playing all the time, so I also listened to Miles Davis and John Coletrane.
TWU: And how would you best describe your music and style of rapping?
Dee-1: I'm on a mission to inspire my fans to be the best people that they can be and to maximize their potential. So my music is bold. The beats are tight, the rhymes are clever and the subject matter is in tune with the heartbeat of the people.
TWU: Your mixtapes, 'Still We Rise' and 'I Am Who I Am', created a lot of buzz in the streets and then you dropped the 'David & Goliath' album, with Mannie Fresh calling you personally to congratulate you. How was that and how did it feel to have such a good reception to your independently released debut?
Dee-1: When Mannie Fresh called me, I knew that I was going to make it in the industry. The first time I met him was a few years ago and I gave him my CD, he didn't call me. I kept grinding and got better and got my buzz up. To see things come full circle all the way to the point where we are now working together is a testimony to what perseverance can get you. My album, ‘David & Goliath’, is on iTunes right now and it made it possible for me to quit my job teaching middle school to pursue my music career full time. Go cop it if you haven't heard it!
TWU: Many feel that the standout track is the ‘One Man Army (Remix)’, which calls on people to maximize their potential. What kind of people do you hope it resonates with?
Dee-1: I aim my music at people who are looking to better themselves and get the most out of their life. We only live once, so why not do it big?
TWU: In November, you dropped the single, 'Jay, 50 and Weezy', which was a mock-meeting between you and three of the biggest names in hip-hop. It spent two months on MTV Jams and called on them to use their standing in the industry to greater benefit the world. What has been the reaction been to the track/video and have you heard from Jay, 50 or Weezy about their thoughts on it?
Dee-1: That song changed my life. It showed the world that Dee-1 had arrived. I went on my first nationwide tour because of it, and it made a lot of people open their ears to my new mixtape, ‘I Hope They Hear Me Vol 2’. It’s free all over the net. Have I heard from Jay, 50 or Weezy since I put the track out? No. Have they seen the video? Yes!
TWU: You’ve opened for some of the biggest names in hip-hop recently, sharing the stage with Lupe Fiasco, Drake, The Clipse and Fat Joe, to name but a few. How did that come about and what did you learn from these artists?
Dee-1: Good things happen when you grind and my live show is real nice, so that also helps! I learned that I have to trust myself. No one can teach you how to perform. It just has to be in you.
TWU: So, what's next for Dee-1 for the rest of 2011?
Dee-1: I might sign with a label. I might stay independent. I might drop an album. I might drop another mixtape. Anything is liable to happen, but you can guarantee that I'ma keep pumping out dope music and videos and, most of all, I'm expanding O.M.A.R Entertainment and my One Man Army movement. Shout out to all the people out there doing their thing!
Dee-1's album, 'David & Goliath', is out now along with his new mixtape, 'I Hope they Hear Me Vol 2'.
Stay up to date with Dee-1 on Twitter – www.twitter.com/Dee1Music
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)