Brother Jesse: What inspired the name The Focus Tape? What do you want to inspire your listeners to do after hearing it?
Dee-1: Life is full of distractions. To achieve our goals, we must focus. I kept getting distracted with obstacles while creating this project, so at a certain point I had to take my own advice and focus on completion. I did this project to provide my fans a soundtrack to live to when on their daily grind (school, work, sports, parenthood), and to motivate them to focus and jump to the next level.
Brother Jesse: How would you say you have evolved as an artist since the release of I Hope They Hear Me, Vol 2? What's different with this latest release?
Dee-1: I have more direction now. I know why God has given me the mic: to inspire, motivate, and enlighten. So amidst entertaining my listeners, I'm more aware of my mission than I was during "I Hope They Hear Me Vol 2."
Brother Jesse: What three songs on this album do you like the most and why?
Dee-1: My 3 favorite songs as of right now are "You Stupid Fool," "Win Today," and "Shut Up and Grind."
You Stupid Fool - I got a chance to speak on a lot of behavior that is crippling and damaging our community, that too often gets glorified or overlooked. The video just came out too, and it's niiiiiiiiiiiiice!
Win Today - a true story about falling and getting back up. This is the mentality I live by: Yesterday's done and tomorrow hasn't come, so WIN TODAY.
Shut Up and Grind (#SUAG) - My anthem when I'm trying to get work done. Smooth, cool, and real. SUAG is the new SWAG.
Brother Jesse: What's your take on the on-going "beefs" in hip-hop? Why haven't you started one to garner attention like others may be doing?
Dee-1: Rap beef is wack. I pray to the Lord that I never get caught up in any senseless, egotistical beef with another rapper. Beef is reserved for personal, ethical, moral issues that get disrespected by someone. And even then, there are usually better ways to communicate and handle it.
Brother Jesse: Why did you start using your platform to encourage young people to vote?
Dee-1: If I'm going to live in this country, it’s important for me to take part in the political process by voting. And I don't mind speaking my piece on it and encouraging others to do the same. Plus, I don't want my ancestors to feel like they died for nothing.
Brother Jesse: Do you ever miss being a school teacher or have you realized that your purpose was to teach in a "bigger classroom" with your musical gifts?
Dee-1: Yes, I miss my students that I used to teach. Each one of them, I can still see their young faces when I close my eyes. So impressionable and able to be steered in any direction. I hope that as an artist, my journey can inspire them as well as many other people around the world. I want God to view me as a success, and in turn I know my fans and listeners will.
Brother Jesse: Thank you and continued success to you!
Dee-1: Thank you Brother Jesse.
(Be sure to download The Focus Tape by visiting www.dee1music.com)