Dee-1 is a former middle school teacher turned rapper on a mission. Representing his home town of New Orleans, the Hip-Hop hot house of the south, Dee-1's music is informed by his self-prescribed "Mission Vision." The three tiered mantra focuses on an ever-growing relationship with God, using one's skills to create a better existence for oneself and loved ones, and living a life that is real, righteous and relevant.
Now after releasing 10 mix-tapes of free music, spanning more than 7 years, Dee-1 is set to release his first official project 3's Up EP via RCA Inspiration! The 3's UP EP centers on Dee-1's third tier of his "Mission Vision" (In everything you do, be real, righteous and relevant) while also paying homage to the fans who've fueled the rappers grassroots following.
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Real, Righteous and Relevant| Posted February 09, 2015
Lately Dee-1 has been present for some of the biggest events of Hip Hop. He was featured on the BET Awards' Cypher, Sways Universe, not to mention the fact that he is signed to RCA Records. With a major label behind him, you might think that Dee-1's message would be more subtle, but actually he has gotten more bold in proclaiming his love for Jesus Christ. His new EP, 3's Up, is a follow up to the free album Psalms of David 2, which was a strong album terms of production, flow and subject matter.
Listening to the "Interview" was pretty crazy because I did not expect him to give an actual recap of that pivotal interview with Sway. But he did, sharing some intimate details, including the man who called in crying. Kudos to him to put this in a song, because that shows his "other thinking" and how much of an impact the actual time with Sway had on Dee-1.
It is cool to hear him to bring his thoughts and his struggles on "I'm Not Perfect." He goes from wrestling with the thought of possibly sleeping with a woman to telling her why it is not right to do so. He also ponders whether to be upfront with his faith when dealing with industry executives. He decides to be all out, represent Christ and pray for those who hate him. The beat is a simple Dirty South 101 banger with organ weaved throughout.
It is all about Dee-1 being "real, righteous and relevant," which is his new motto and the heart of the title track (previously heard on Psalms of David, Vol. 1). One thing that stands out for him is his storytelling, which is something that only a few are doing in mainstream hip hop. This song makes me nod my head, reminiscent of listening to an old Scarface song with that wah wah guitar and bass.
His lead single "Against Us" is a serious banger, but the way the hook is delivered takes a little bit away from the song. That can be said about this EP overall: the hooks are a little weak, and hopefully this is something Dee-1 can work on for his full length album. Honestly, Psalms of David 2 totally trumps this album in terms of tight hooks.
Only a few rappers have been afforded the opportunity to be teachers before or while they have been traveling emcees, most notably Propaganda and Dee-1. Dee presents a gut-wrenching story of a former student killed by another former student on "My Student Got Murdered (Both Sides of the Gun)." Both saw pain in their lives while deciding to give in to the draw of the street. The victim even went to the altar sometime before the altercation and shooting. This is one you have to check out. This hits very close to home for me as a teacher, since I have had two former student die from a gunshot wound in six months.
Dee-1 is hard in the trenches. Even though a few hooks could be better, I think, 3's Up still has some heat. It is great to watch and see what God is doing in the life of Dee-1.
Song to Download Now:
"My Student Got Murdered (Both Sides of the Gun)" (Get it on iTunes here.)