While currently in the thick of his U.S. “The Heist Tour” with Macklemore and his brand new project, The Focus Tape, which is making waves among the Hip-Hop faithful, Dee-1 has his hands full.
AllHipHop.com sat down with the New Orleans phenom to find out what the spitter has to say about the single “You Stupid Fool”, as well as how his faith and inspiring others through his commitment to walk the talk, guides him throughout the industry. Check out our conversation with former teacher-turned-rapper, Dee-1:
AllHipHop.com: Thanks, Dee-1, for taking out some time for us today. When we last met, The Focus Tape was just being released. How have things been going with the mixtape since it dropped a few weeks ago?
Dee-1: Everyone who has it says it’s my best project and the best mixtape of the year, or either in their top five. That’s more motivation for me to keep pushin’.
AllHipHop.com: Will there be any new videos to support the project?
Dee-1: I just dropped the brand new video for one of the most popular songs, “YOU STUPID FOOL.”
AllHipHop.com: “You Stupid Fool” is controversial indeed! What made you decide to take it there with so many examples at once?
Dee-1: It’s controversial but it’s real, so I had to do it.
AllHipHop.com: Got it. Are there any other videos will you be releasing to support the project?
Dee-1: I’m also gonna drop a video for “Never Clockin Out” (featuring Killer Mike) and “Love Me Some You.”
AllHipHop.com: How has it been out on the road with Macklemore?
Dee-1: Every show for the whole tour is sold out. We’re in front of some amazing fans every night. Macklemore and I both have a cool, positive vibe about us, so it works well. This is the biggest tour I’ve ever been on so far, and it’s a blessing.
AllHipHop.com: You are doing so many dates back to back. What’s been the most challenging part of being on stage so many nights in a row without rest?
Dee-1: Taking care of my voice and not getting sick. I have bronchitis, and I usually get sick every fall when the seasons change, and now with straining my voice every night, I have to make extra sure I rest my voice when not on stage.
Dee-1: Great question. It lets me know that I’m making music that resonates with real people, black and white, young and old. And that’s humbling. I see it every night when we perform. I see it when I read comments about The Focus Tape. I have a mission to motivate people. To be a symbol of hope for the hopeless. With God’s help and great music, I’ll be able to achieve this.
AllHipHop.com: Dee, what makes all of the hard work worth it to you?
Dee-1: The fact that I’m grinding for a cause that’s bigger than just me. The fact that I can inspire Snapback Roni in Milwaukee to leave the streets. The fact that I can show young, 9th grade Derrick Briggs in New Orleans that you can still be “cool,” be righteous, and be successful.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything that you learned about yourself during the last few months that surprised you?
Dee-1: I’ve learned how much I care about my music and my mission. I’ve had team members leave, team members quit, relationships end, money lost, and through it all, I’m still pushing. The movement gotta keep movin’, no matter what.
AllHipHop.com: The last time we were together, you had a former student calling you from New Orleans to ask for some advice. How do you manage to continue to balance remaining a positive roll model for all those kids back home that look up to you with the demands of the music industry?
Dee-1: It’s hard to personally stay in touch with them all, but I try to speak to as many as possible. When I’m home I’m always speaking at schools, prisons, churches, etc. But most importantly, I just try to carry myself in a way that will set a good example for them, because if Dee-1 can do it, they can do it.
AllHipHop.com: You are a huge example for what can happen if dreams are followed instead of deferred. What advice would you give other potential artists like yourself who want to step out on a leap of faith, but are not sure if they should leave the safety of a great job to do it?
Dee-1: Pray on it. You have to have a relationship with God and have that feeling in your gut that this is your purpose. If you’re just chasing the money, cars, and attention, you’ll fail. We all have a role to play while on earth, you have to always be aware of what’s going on around you to have a grasp on what role you should be playing at what time. Right now in my life, it’s time for me to be on the microphone. So I gotta go hard.
AllHipHop.com: What message do you hope your fans are gaining from all of your recent projects, touring etc., and what lessons if any, are your fans teaching you?
Dee-1: I don’t want my fans to sit back and look at me. I want them to become part of the journey and ride with me. The fans are my record label. I can only go as far as they take me with their support. Real talk.
AllHipHop.com: Can you please give us five words to describe the tour and or your stage show?
Dee-1: Real. Spontaneous. Crowd-surfing. Magic.
AllHipHop.com: Nice. Lastly, are there any words you’d like to send back to your former students in New Orleans?
Dee-1: Failure ain’t an option. Shut up and grind. Be real, be righteous, be relevant. Keep God first.
Catch up with Dee-1 at www.DEE1MUSIC.com, on Twitter (@DEE1MUSIC), or via text (type ‘DEE-1′ at 69866) for exclusive content and updates.