by Brother Jesse Muhammad
It has been over a year since I first highlighted New Orleans' own Dee-1 on my blog. The first song I heard by him was "Jay, 50, and Weezy" and I was immediately impressed by not only his style but his message. Let's be honest. The rap game is overly saturated with people who should give up the mic and go get a job at the nearest Burger King. No offense to anyone who works at a Burger King tho.(smile)
Too many artists lack substance, an evolving style or a message moving the masses to uplifting thought and to transition them from "march mentality" to "movement mentality." What will the "conscious rapper" look and sound like in 2012 and beyond? In fact, the term "conscious rapper" needs to be totally redefined and new standards set for those seeking to fit into that category. It is obvious that we have many out there who usurp that title every year when in truth their lyrics, off-the-mic actions, and poor business models only places their fans deeper into the abyss of unconsciousness, unawareness and inaction. I have rarely highlighted rappers on my blog for this very reason. It's a waste of blog space, a waste of 140 characters and a waste of a Facebook post to keep recycling nonsense. Will the real conscious rappers please stand up in 2012? Where y'all at? The true conscious rapper is now coming from whence we knew not.
On that note: I'm down with the music, message and activism of Dee-1. He's about the music and the community. Earlier this year he released the mixtape "I Hope They Hear Me" Vol. 2 and months later I am STILL listening to it. No cursing, no degrading women, no frontin' about shooting cats in the streets or even bragging about "making it rain." Just good music. Don't believe me? Download it here. (http://dee1music.com/)
Okay, I'm not the type of blogger to call someone "The Next Rap Messiah", "The Next Jay-Z or Nas", or even "The Second Coming of the Hip-Hop Saviour." Nah, that's all superficial. At the end of the day, I respect an artist that is focused on being their best self, instead of chasing to be the next best second-rated version of someone else.
Dee-1 is focused on being Dee-1. It's the O.M.A.R. (One Man Army Rebel) mentality; the one where its You vs You. I believe Dee-1 will stay true to himself and not allow the "machine" of the industry to suck him in. In April, he won the Myspace Russell Simmons’ “Rush Hip-Pop Challenge” and a free mentoring session with the Hip-Hop mogul. Congrats again brother.
Well, I just got the word that for the 5th annual "Freshmen Class" cover, XXL Magazine will be selecting nine of the Freshmen and the public will vote in an online poll to determine who gets the 10th slot--the People's Choice. Dee-1 was selected among this 50 most mentioned names for Freshmen 2012 candidacy according to XXL. You can vote from your PC once a day and voting ends January 1, 2012. I just voted the past three days and hope you will do the same.
I can't vouch for the other 49, but in my book Dee-1 deserves to head this Freshman Class. Go to http://www.xxlmag.com/XXL-freshmen-2012/