Dee-1 Talks New Orleans, Mixtapes & Mission Music
New Orleans rapper Dee-1 is looking to make 2011 his year. With his newly released mixtape, I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2, this 24-year-old is bringing you into his world. Check out my chat with the rapper where he speaks on his mixtape, his sound compared to other New Orleans artists, his goals, lessons learned in the business, mission music and more.
You’re from New Orleans, which is known for a few musical gems. Would you say your sound is comparable to some of the classic N.O. movements like No Limit and Cash Money?
Dee-1: I think it has elements. We talk the same slang, we all gone through some of the same experiences growing up in New Orleans. I grew up just like anybody, I ain’t grow up with too much. I had my mom and my dad in the house with me but we ain’t grow up with a lot of money at all, and everything those brothers have seen and talked about in their music, I done seen it and been around it too. Definitely has some elements but the difference is my outlook on what we’ve been through.
Would you say your music is inspirational not just for your city, but for people overall?
I would classify it as mission music. Anybody that’s on a mission to try and fulfill their purpose, whatever that is, I try to make the soundtrack to that, that makes ‘em feel good about going out there and doing what they’re supposed to be doing and handling business. Hopefully, people can see my journey and see what I go through because its not peaches and cream.
You just released your mixtape, I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2, what’s your favorite track from it and what do you want people to take from the mixtape overall?
It’s like picking a favorite child, it’s rough, but I’d say right now my favorite is “It’s My Turn.” I just shot a video for that and put it out and the reason why I like that track is because it’s just saying it’s time for people to stop ignoring what’s going on. It’s my turn, I’m here to put on for my city, I’m here to put on for real people who are on a mission, and it’s my turn. What I want people to take from the mixtape is…I want this mixtape to solidify and stamp my place in the global hip-hop game. I want people to know Dee-1 is not just a one hit wonder who made the “Jay, 50, and Weezy” song. That got a lot of publicity and attention and I want this mixtape to back that up so people know, “Oh, dude is official, he ain’t get lucky and make just one or two songs.”
Being an up and coming artist, what are some of the early lessons learned in your journey in music?
I learned to be careful who you trust because nobody wants to see your dream come true more than you. So if you put all your trust in somebody to do too much for you, you gonna wind up disappointed at the end of the day. That’s why I’m so hands on in every aspect of my career. From the bookings of the show, to the beats that are selected, the people who we align with strategically on business moves and business decisions, I definitely learned that about be careful who you trust. Secondly, make sure that you’re rapping and you find your voice, if you’re gonna be a hip-hop artist. I didn’t know what that meant when I first started rapping I hadn’t found my voice, and I was finding like everybody else. I was rapping about stuff I ain’t do, I was rapping about selling drugs, and having guns. I ain’t never do that stuff, man. I’ve been around it, but I never did it personally. But when I found my voice, and started being comfortable rapping about who I was and what I’m going through I was like yeah, it made me stand out from everybody because there’s only one me.
What’s your ultimate goal in music?
I don’t have one goal, my goal is to just play my role and reach as many people as I’m supposed to reach with my music. To reach them, entertain them and inspire them. That’s all I wanna do. In life you have goals, but then you learn at the end of the day, you want to just fulfill your purpose, whatever that is. And I don’t know if I’m meant to reach millions or meant to reach a few hundred thousand or whatever it is, I just want to fulfill my purpose because I know I’m here for a reason. Definitely know that Dee-1 is in the hip-hop game for a reason.