Well Summer’s here in full force so what better time for another installment of the Music RX’s Fresh Artist Series? This time the highlighted artist is Dread, a 20 year-old California native who’s trying to watch his career take flight one fan at a time. His last effort, The Creativity LP, got his foot in the door and his next project Crayons aims to break the whole damn door down and he’s going to bring the entire Flight League with him. Now here’s a little more about this up and comer straight from his own mouth. Enjoy.
Who is Dread?
“Man, I’m just a 20 year-old recording artist from California who is trying to reach my dreams. I am also in college entering my senior year at Jackson State in Mississippi, so I’ve been trynna kill two birds with one stone. I am a person who thinks differently naturally. I always pay attention to the details in life that people sometimes don’t see.”
Where are you from and how does it influence your music?
“I am orginally from the Bay Area. I lived in the small city of San Leandro and went to school in Berkeley. The Bay Area has such rich culture and diversity. In the Bay, if you want to stand in, then you must stand out. My parents would always take me to jazz and soul concerts so i always heard all types of music. My dad is also Nigerian so from a young age he taught me rhythm and how to drum on congos. I think that plays a big role on how my music is made. I then moved out to Atlanta at the beginning of high school, which was a HUGE culture shock but a good one. Everything was so different out there musically. The drum patterns and sounds were different but creative and a lot more up- tempo. Atlanta really taught me how to be open-minded and think in more than one perspective.”
How long have you been rapping?
“I have been doing music for about 5 years. When i lived in Southern California, In high school, I was in a local rap group called The Goonies. We made hella crazy songs but got some good buzz around the city of Pasadena. After a while, we all split and went solo. That’s when I really started to find myself musically. When I got to Jackson State, everything kind of started flowing. I met my producer Royal T my first year in our freshman dorm and the rest is history. So, I would like to say I’ve been doing music for 5 years but I have been serious for about 3 years (in college).”
Does the name “Dread” mean more than the obvious?
“It’s crazy ‘cos everyone always thinks my name is reffering only to my hair but it’s actually referring to the definition of the word ‘dread’–”to anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance”. When everyone sees or hears me they should dread me, so my name is kind of a metaphor in itself.”
Who and what are your influences?
“My influence is just life. You can’t think without living. I love to travel and explore new places. My body and mind is more healthy like that. If I stay in one place for a long time my thoughts start to become repetitive and dull. I love going through trials and tribulations because I always look forward to how I am gonna solve them. Whenever I fail at something, its humbling because its like God is showing me what needs to be changed. Family and friends are my influences. The fans and everything they have to say influences and humbles me. The fans mean more than anything to me–more than money. They all chose to give me a chance and listen to my thoughts and ideas; that’s really some deep shit. They didn’t have to fuck with me–they didnt have to give me a chance, but they did and that is why I owe everything to them.”
How do you know Kreayshawn and what does she mean to you as an artist?
“I knew of Kreayshawn before we even met. Last year, I took fall school semester off in California to work on my music and I was on Youtube one day and was watching the Lil B “Like a Martian” video and I liked the quality of the video so I looked through her channel and noticed how dope of a video director Kreayshawn is. It was her visual creativity that got me hooked on her. The girl is soo talented. So I hit her up about working together and I sent her the “I Do My Own Thing” track and we hit it off from there. We worked together on the treatment and the next thing you know, we were on Powell Street in SF shooting the video. Ever since then we’ve been cool. Kreayshawn is a visual genious and very creative. Everybody talks about her being white and trynna act black but that lil’ white girl got more style and soul than most black girls I know. She is a breath of fresh air in this industry and I am proud she made it.”
Will you be working with Kreayshawn in the near future?
“Recently, I haven’t been able to get in contact with her. Right now, this is the biggest moment of her life. I can’t blame her for not being able to hit me back or e-mail me back right away. We some hungry kids but before her deal we had spoke briefly on working on some new videos for my upcoming project CRAYONS. I’m sure in the near future you will be seeing us collab again in due time.”
Tell us about your first body of work, The Creativity Lp…
“Wow. The whole creation of that project is really all a blur. I started working on that project my sophmore year at Jackson State. All I remember is never really going to class. I buried myself in my dorm room with some big speakers and a lot of cannibis and zoned out. My producer, Royal T, moved back to Chicago that year so he was sending me beats via e-mail and Skype and after each convo, I would just hijack a paper plane and write. It was my third project so I felt I really had to bring something that proved to people that I deserved my spot in their mind as a legit artist, not a rapper. I knew that I had reached a peak in my music but I didn’t think it would do the numbers it did. I dropped it on 4/20 on Twitter and within an hour it already had over 2,500 downloads. That was a shock to my previous mixtapes, receiving only 100 downloads each after like 3 months (haha). I pressed up some CDs that same day and gave away each C with a free bag of cannabis….. yes cannabis (haha). It sounds CRAZY but I had my whole school going CRAZY (haha) and now the mixtape has over 13,000 Downloads.”
Give us some details about your new body of work, Crayons.
“This is my fourth project. This is big because now it’s like things are getting serious. I got a little fan base, a music video, and some press, so people are listening and watching. I grabbed their attention with The Creativity. Now its time to turn it up. Crayons is by far the craziest thing I’ve ever worked on in my life. I chose the name because I want this tape to represent that when you are making real music, every color will come together and like it. There is no one color on music. With that being said, expect some crazy music. And…
TECHNO x AFRICAN DRUMS x VIOLINS x SAXOPHONES x THECREATIVITY = CRAYONS.”
What is Flight League?
“Flight League is my tribe. It’s a group of people that are helping me paint this picture in the industry. It’s a small group of talented artists, producers, graphic designers, bloggers, and cinematographers that basically want to prove the same thing I’m trying to prove. We can make art and we can do it damn well. We are getting ready to start showcasing everyone and their talents to the world, so be on the lookout. Currently my main producer Royal T got into a little trouble with the law, but he will be out soon. Free Royal T!!!”
Any Last words?
“Yeah! Shoutout to all the upcoming artists who are taking the gamble of keeping their music real instead of selling-out. They keep me humbled and grounded. Shoutout to Jackson State and the Class of 2012. Shoutout to Kreayshawn and her success. Shoutout to my familly #Getitbackfam back in Cali. Shoutout to my sponsers from Craig Ave. Clothing and shoutout my beautiful parents who have really taught me every tool I needed to survive.”