Published on November 23rd, 2016 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson1
Digital Cover: Five Questions with Dae Dae Atlanta’s hot new young lion
Atlanta functions as this century’s undisputed hip-hop mecca and young lion Dae Dae (@) is holding it down for his region. Hailing from a city as creatively illustrious and prolific as the ATL, Dae Dae instinctively distinguishes himself by making music that provokes movement and emotion.
Dae Dae’s single “Dead Ass Wrong” with the amazing London on Da Track is slicing through the industry like an angry Ninja on a mission!
“You can ride to my songs and bump them in the club, but you can feel the lyrics and relate to them at the same time,” he declares. “You’re going to bounce, but I’m going to get your attention. It’s about putting out a real story.”
He’s got quite the story to share too. Growing up in the “rough” Boulevard Fourth Ward where “every day wasn’t promised,” rap quickly became an escape from the violence, corruption, addiction, and turmoil in the streets around him. At eight-years-old, Dae Dae’s pops bought him a Bow Wow and Lil Romeo CD, inspiring Dae Dae to pick up the mic. By the age of 14, he left school behind and became a father for the first time himself. Getting serious about hip-hop, dad converted the bedroom into a makeshift studio where the budding artist diligently recorded until one fateful day…
“Basically, the police busted the house I grew up in,” he sighs. “Money was coming very fast. My dad would buy fancy things, nice cars, and stuff for my children and his momma. He always had to watch his back, but they came in this time. At the snap of a finger, his career ended. The cops found drugs in his room, and they locked him up. They took the studio equipment, because we didn’t hold on to the receipts. I didn’t know any better. When that happened, I was literally left with nothing. Somebody had to pay these bills.”
Stepping up, Dae Dae immediately got a job doing concrete and flooring. Inspired by everything from Future and Rick Ross to Drake and Tupac, he’d invest every last dollar into recording at another local studio. Around the same time, he started to participate at a weekly open mic night. Crowned the “winner” every Wednesday, he linked up with DJ Playboi and found management. As a natural buzz grew, red hot producer Nitti Beatz [Rich Homie Quan, Gucci Mane] offered him a deal with Nitti Beatz Recordings.
“I didn’t give up,” he says. “I was still going through it, but I was doing everything I could to take care of my kids and myself. I had a Trailblazer truck at the time I was paying for. It just so happened the car ended up getting repo-ed. The next day, I signed that deal.”
Under partnership between Nitti Beatz Recordings and powerhouse 300 Entertainment, he shares this ride on his 2016 debut mixtape, 4 Reasons. Its lead single “Wat U Mean (Aye, Aye, Aye)” begins with cinematic production before he unleashes an authoritative and strikingly smooth flow punctuated by candid lyricism. Opening up about his struggles, it swings the powerful hook, “Got a family to feed, they dependin’ on me.”
“I came up with the two bars while I was pouring concrete,” he recalls. “It’s a declaration. Talking about my family brings me closer to everybody else who has the same responsibilities out there. I’m showing it’s possible to take care of the ones you love, but you’ve got to work like you’ve never worked.”
Elsewhere on 4 Reasons, “Big Bankroll” sees him trade verses with Rich Homie Quan over an ominous swell of handclap percussion. “That happened in the moment,” he says. “We were at Quan’s house, and there was a lot of good energy in the room. We were in it.”
The name of his movement LOVELIFE reflects this spirit. “I couldn’t have a violent name for what I’m doing,” he goes on. “I wanted something relatable to that paints with positivity. No matter what you’re going through or have been through, you have to love life. If it weren’t for those trials and tribulations, you wouldn’t be who you are. Be thankful for it.”
Ultimately, Dae Dae can make a banger with a whole lot of heart beating beneath the surface.
“I take this music and opportunity very seriously,” he leaves off. “I’m honest about family situations, the streets, my household, and where I’ve been. I want people to feel good listening to it too. That’s my lane.”
Tell us about your latest project and single with the incredible London on The Track!
I first met London at my second shoot for Spend It. Kevin Liles brought him to the video shoot. We just clicked from there. We have been working together for about a month and a half. He sent me two tracks the same night, and I sent them back right away. We just had a vibe going. And we dropped the tape The DefAnition on November 4th. And then my single Spend It from 4 Reasons is doing really well right now we’re at radio with it.
Do you feel your current project is the best introduction to you as an artist?
Yes I Do. When I dropped 4 reasons, 4 reasons was a project that I did while going through different situations so it’s really personal. I can listen to the music, and it takes me right back to those times. Everytime I listen to it shows me how much I’ve grown. It came out right around the time that I went on tour with Thug. That was my first tour. So that project is a real glimpse of ME of Dae Dae.
Tell us about your 1st BET Hip Hop Awards performance, what’s the most memorable part for you?
It was a great experience, gave me good exposure to fans that know my song but don’t know me. I felt a lot of energy when I went out on stage, and I got a lot of great feedback. It was a great opportunity to meet new people. Shout out to BET. The most memorable part was when the song came on, and I saw the whole stadium packed. It was a great feeling
What’s most important about music to you and who do YOU listen to for pure enjoyment?
Me telling a story and how creative I can get with it. It’s the creation of the music. Every song I try to tell a story of something that I’ve seen or been through. The fact that music can impact peoples lives and change their mood. Music does that for me I could be mad at someone and hear a certain song, and it changes my whole attitude. I listen to Drake for enjoyment. I like his melodies. Also, I love R&B. I like listening to Anthony Hamilton. His voice is so soulful, and he always tells a story on his behalf. I also listen to a lot of old Lil Wayne.
The Hype Magazine wants to know: What’s been your CRAZIEST “Where they do that at?! Or “WTF?!” moment thus far in your career?
When I and my DJ Playboi were in La Cura club, one night and he played Wat U Mean. His boards cut off in the middle of the song, but the crowd kept singing they knew every word.
Bonus Editor’s Pick: Our Editor-in-Chief Jerry Doby (@realjdobypr) weighed in on the Dae Dae – Lil Yachty remix of “Wat U Mean” saying “These two voices and minds are an awesome combination…they don’t need to be a group, but we could use more of their collabs…it’s exciting!