Dr Boyce Watkins: Why this rapper turned down a deal from Lil Wayne’s label
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I’ll start by stating that I’m a big fan of the rapper Dee1. Dee1, whose real name is David Augustine, is a protege of another great hip-hop artist, Lupe Fiasco. Dee got my attention with a video he put out called Jay, Weezy and 50, where he confronted some of the biggest names in hip-hop to remind them of the power of their words. Using love rather than hate, Dee1 eloquently explains to artists that there is a huge social responsibility that comes with sharing messages that can literally lead to life or death for the children who are taking those messages in.
I wish Dee1 could be the president of BET right now, they could use this kind of leadership. Dee1 is one of the few artists who is a) educated enough on the impact of negative messages to realize what this does to young children. He has worked around kids for several years, and says that he notices how artists influence what children do and think on a day-to-day basis. This is without regard to parental influence, especially in struggling urban communities. The second thing about Dee1 is b) in addition to being one of the few artists who understands how these messages work, he has the courage and conscience to speak boldly and consistently to the ideology that he feels will best benefit his community. In a day and age where everybody is willing to sell their grandmother for a dollar, this attribute is both unique and powerful.
I did a recent interview with respected psychologist Dr. Monikah Ogando on the matter. Dr. Ogando plainly states that the music you hear every day sinks into your subconscious and plays a powerful role in shaping the realities that come to pass in your life. She finds it laughable that there are people who think that music doesn’t matter. She also says it’s nonsense to believe that a child can hear some of the toxic messages on the radio over and over without being impacted by what he/she is learning. It’s like saying you can eat a pound of chocolate cake every day and not get fat.
Music with destructive messages for young children should not be on the public airwaves, and Clear Channel knows it. But unfortunately, it’s not their children who are getting their heads blown off on the way to school or filling up prison cells in adulthood. If that were the case, they’d probably have a different perspective.
In his own educated way, Dee1 argues that your life typically has “a soundtrack,” and these tracks are a part of your spiritual impact on those around you. More specifically, he talks candidly about friends he’s lost in drive-by shootings and in his words, “When they were coming to kill my boy, they weren’t bumping country music and love songs.”
One really compelling part of the conversation is when Dee talks about his relationship with Young Money/Cash Money records, which resides right in his hometown of New Orleans. He says that he became very close to the founders of the label, who discovered him after he released a popular video that challenged Lil Wayne’s lyrical content. I was impressed with the fact that even though Dee1 was wined, dined and swooned to join the organization, but he respectfully declined.
I’m glad there are some brothers in hip-hop who know that there are some things more important than money.
Without further ado, the interview is below. Enjoy:
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