First off, thank you for taking your time out and sharing with us. Whats your name and where are you from?
My name is Dee-1. Birth name David Augustine, Jr. From the Crescent City: New Orleans, Louisiana.
What does Dee-1 mean & who is Dee-1 as a artist? Also, can you tell us the meaning behind your nickname “The One Man Army” and where it derives from?
Dee-1 has two meanings… 1st off, It comes from the term D-1 or “Division 1″ school, which is associated with being top notch or most prestigious. I started rapping while I was attending LSU, which is a D-1 school. Also, its a play on words with the phrase “The one.” I feel like I am “The one” who has been chosen to inspire and entertain people the way I do, and since my name is David, I came up with “Dee-1″ instead of “The One.”
At what age did you start rhyming and do you remember the first song you heard that gave you that feeling where you knew this art form was one you would want to pursue as a career?
I was 18 when I first started rhyming. I had just started college and my friends and I just started out freestyling in my dorm room and having cyphers. Then we downloaded some free recording software called Cool Edit Pro and we began recording ourselves. The first song I heard that made me want to pursue hip hop as a career was “One Mic” by Nas. That song truly touched my soul and helped give birth to Dee-1 before even I realized it.
Coming from a city enriched with such great culture and history of music, can you tell us something about the Hip Hop Scene that we might not be familiar with and what viewpoint you are trying to give the people of your city?
The thing people don’t know about the New Orleans hip hop scene is that bounce rappers are some of the biggest celebrities inside our city. I might have a video on MTV that has hundreds of thousands of youtube hits, but certain bounce rappers are way more popular inside the city. Our people love to dance, and bounce music caters to that desire. My goal is to represent the people of my city in a way that shows that we are aware of the evils that surround us, but we are also determined to change them for the better. I want the youngsters in New orleans to grow up knowing that making smart choices, getting your education, and saying no to guns, drugs, and a life of mental slavery is what they should be pursuing. That’s the cool thing to do. That other lifestyle of trying to be hard or thinking its cool to be dumb is wack. And furthermore its a trap.
I read that you went to Louisiana State University and afterward you taught at a middle school teacher in Baton Rouge, LA . Are you currently employed as a school teacher? Can you tell us a bit about that experience and how relates to your artistry? Would you say being an educator has had any influence on your content or subject matter?
Yes, I taught math and life skills. But I’m no longer teaching because my music career started to take off to the point where I had to choose one or the other. And I feel like with music, I have the ability to reach millions, so I chose to become Dee-1 full-time. Being a teacher gave a first hand exposure to the mentality that our youth today walk around with. It allowed me to truly see how special they are and how much potential they have, but unfortunately it also exposed me to how misguided they are. Being an educator made me realize that I need to continue to be a leader and to sharpen my skills on and off the microphone so that I may remain a powerful, relevant, credible voice that the youth will listen to.
Also, I noticed that you choose not to use profanity in your music and in your song “The Announcement” you state ” I hate to disappoint the kids that i teach” . What message would you like the kids to receive from your music?
I just want to give them hope. I’m black. They’re black. I come from the hood. They come from the hood. I made it out and got my college diploma. So can they. I choose to do hip hop while not glorifying poisonous negativity. So can they…. I know that when you see a real-life example of something, it gives you that much more confidence that you can do it. I want them to strive to be the best people they can be in EVERY facet of life.
Besides being a teacher, i read you are heavily involved in the community. What specific programs are you involved in, can you tell us about them, and how others can involved if they are interested?
I am involved heavily in speaking engagements in middle schools and high schools. I’m also a member of SNS NOLA, which stands for Solutions Not Shootings. It’s an organization aimed at getting in the streets and actively getting members of the community to fight against crime by handling conflict in different ways. Finally, I work with organizations like 2-Cent and Crimestoppers to educate the youth and help foster their creativity. Others can get involved by googling any of the organizations I named and contacting them directly.
After having much success with your mixtapes “Still We Rise” & ” I am Who I Am” , The Album “David & Goliath” , & now “I Hope They Hear Me Vol 1 & 2 ” , what are your future plans and where would you like to see the state of Hip Hop and music in general go in the future?
Music is always going to have people who express themselves from different viewpoints and different backgrounds, but what I’d like to see is for the FANS and CONSUMERS to start supporting the type of music that is constructive and not destructive. In the meantime, I’m gonna keep making more and more music and touring the world. RIght now, I’m on my first national tour, “The Grind n Hustle Tour.” All of the dates are available on my website, dee1music.com.
On your track, “Jay, 50, Weezy” some people think your taking a shot at the 3 while others think your just sharing your conscious vision and what the future could be like. Please tell us about the creative process when creating that record and your vision was for it?
My vision was simply to have a conversation with those brothers where I could pick their brains to see what their views were on being a part of a major transition in the music game that could affect our culture in a drastically positive way. I actually had to write that song 4 different times because at first i thought it came off like I was going too hard on them, then the 2nd and 3rd time I felt like I was beating around the bush too much. On my fourth try, I think I nailed it.
Has there been any feedback from either Jay Z, 50 Cent, or Weezy? How are people in your native New Orleans responding to record?
So far, no feedback directly from Jay, 50, or Weezy. I’m pretty sure all of them have heard it though. And my city is truly behind me. They support the rocord and the Dee-1 movement because they know it’s authentic. The radio has given me heavy spins and my new album “I Hope They Hear Me Vol 2″ has solidified the fact that Dee-1 is here to stay. If anyone still doesn’t have it, they can download it free at dee1music.com
Recently you were chosen by Myspace users to win a one on one mentoring session with Russell Simmons. What are you looking forward to most about the experience and what do you expect or hope to learn from the session?
I’m looking forward to meeting Russell and seeing how he can help me get to the next level in my career. I’m fully focused and and assistance he can provide will be great. I’m gonna be like “Uncle Rush, I’m focused man, let’s make something shake!”
Jay,50, and Weezy
Ridin By Myself