Rapper Dee-1 is Here to Change Hip-Hop, Get on Board, or Get Out of His Way

With 11 albums under his belt, rapper and educator Dee-1 is here to stay. The New Orleans native uses his platform to spread positivity in hip-hop and has no problem calling out successful artists he feels are hurting the culture. He isn’t shy about his mission to rid the most popular music genre in the country of drugs, violence, and misogyny, which often finds him on the receiving end of anger and insults. Instead of buckling under the pushback, Dee-1 is doubling down with his Platinum Pledge, which asks music fans to commit to a new kind of hip-hop. Dee-1 joins Dear Culture to share an honest and passionate message, “We can do better.”

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Dee-1 performs onstage at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 30, 2017. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for 2017 ESSENCE Festival )

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[00:00:00] Panama Jackson: You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified.

[00:00:08] What’s going on, everybody? Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast for, by, and about the culture here at theGrio Black Podcast Network. I’m your host, Panama Jackson. And today, we’re going to have a conversation that’s probably going to span many different facets of hip hop, hip hop culture, uh, what the culture means in 2024.

[00:00:26] And we are joined by a rapper, activist, teacher in the sense of KRS One, the way KRS One like to, to, to, to, to make hip hop about teaching and providing educator, uh, fellow opinionated in a way that’s about upliftment, uh, spiritual brother, you know him, I know him. We are joined today by Dee-1. How you doing today, brother?

[00:00:50] Dee-1: Thank you for the introduction, family. Uh, I’m doing great. I’m ready to get into this convo. I know it’s going to be. Um, I know it’s going to be powerful.

[00:00:58] Panama Jackson: Yeah, I, you know, I gotta be honest. I was looking forward to having this conversation with you. So, I’m, I’m one of those people who follows your career, know who you are, have the albums, listen to the music.

[00:01:08] I also owe Sallie Mae money or, or, you know, so I, I remember those days. I remember Sallie Mae back in the buzz that that got online.

[00:01:16] Dee-1: But guess what, I And

[00:01:25] Panama Jackson: I keep up with all of the conversations that are happening that you’ve been having quite frequently with It seems like everybody, right, about accountability in hip hop, um, calling out artists with love, with genuine, like genuinely and sincerely asking for people who have these huge platforms to use them, not in a negative light, but positively.

[00:01:48] So let me start by asking you this, is it, are you on an island by yourself? Like, do you feel like you just sit on an island where you’re trying to, you’re trying to address an ill that seems to have. Always been present in hip hop, but seems to be more prevalent in many ways. I don’t know if it’s because more people have access to creating art.

[00:02:09] And because we view hip hop as a way of making money. And this is what makes money. People are doing this. Like, like, are you like, is it, is it a lonely battle? You feel like you’re fighting?

[00:02:21] Dee-1: Is it a lonely battle? I definitely feel like I’m outnumbered. So numerically there are more people who I would say are using their mainstream spotlight to unfortunately glorify a bunch of negativity. But although I feel outnumbered, uh, in the human sense, I have God on my side. So. I don’t feel outnumbered in a sense of me fighting a battle that won’t be victorious. But every person whose mind I can help to enlighten or change or, or uplift their mentality for how they want to use their art, and how they even want to consume this, uh, this amazing art form that we call hip hop. That’s a win right there. So I measure my wins differently. I’m not, I’m not in a race to be like, so who streamed more first week out of me and this artist? Like that’s, that’s, that’s child’s play. You know, we, we, yeah. So of course it’s an uphill battle, but also my first name is David.

[00:03:19] So I’ve been battling Goliaths my whole life, brother. And this is nothing new to me. That’s why I’m not scared. That’s why I’m not. Back and down, and that’s why I know at the end of the day that what I’m doing is going to be victorious, because waking up an entire generation of creators and consumers is something that’s going to reverberate throughout, shoot, throughout society for decades and decades to come.

[00:03:47] So, you know, why not do it now during my lifetime?

[00:03:50] Panama Jackson: So I’ve, I’ve long had this, um, like for instance, I don’t write about white people anymore. I don’t write about the white gaze. I don’t, I pretty much, I stopped writing about the struggle. In the same way that I used to because I noticed like for one it took a lot out of me, right?

[00:04:04] Like I I stopped writing about the things that were painful and I focused on celebrating Black culture but I also noticed that there’s really not a big marketplace for Black joy like we kind of love Black joy and upliftment in in small pieces, but as a as like a way of dealing with and interacting with culture.

[00:04:22] I don’t know that we love it as much as I wish that we did. So when you speak positivity in attempting to bring positive imagery, ideas, and thoughts into a culture that, you know, and I’m a hip hop head, like I’ve said, and I hate to say this, but nihilism, like the violent sex, sex, drugs, murder, like mayhem is just a part of it to some degree.

[00:04:45] It’s not the only messaging, but it’s a lot of, it’s a lot of what tends to be consumed heavily. Like, do you think pushing the positive imagery is making a difference? Like, do you see the ripple?

[00:04:58] Dee-1: Oh, man. What? Oh, absolutely, bro. Like, man, I’m here at Tufts University right now where I’m a professor and I teach a course on the intersection of hip hop and social change.

[00:05:10] You know, this is a byproduct of this is part of the ripple every day when I walk into my classroom and I see these students who, uh, whose mentality towards how they consume and create hip hop is being constantly challenged and, and it’s being nurtured with real life examples of me showing what hip hop originated as, what hip hop became because of, uh, commercial pressure, you know, from the industry by and large, and for me to see 18 to 21 year old students in here, and they’re like thinking different about things, and the ones who want to be artists, they’re thinking different about the impact that their music is really having on society at large, yeah, I see the ripple, man, and I see the ripple. Because what y’all don’t see are the conversations that I’m having behind closed doors and behind the scenes with a lot of these artists.

[00:06:03] Y’all don’t, y’all don’t see me and, uh, and Styles P talking. You know, y’all don’t see me and, uh, various artists who, you’ll be surprised. You’ll be surprised certain artists who you’re like, oh, I know this person is opposed to D and what D is saying. And you’ll be surprised how behind the scenes a lot of people Or like brother, I admire your courage and you saying, well, y’all not seeing unless I post an Instagram clip, me and DMC, you know what I’m saying?

[00:06:34] Uh, from, from run DMC talking and him saying, yup, you saying everything that needs to be said that a lot of other people are afraid to say.

[00:06:43] That’s what I say. It’s the difference between glorification, narration, and education. Especially if you ain’t in that life.

[00:06:49] You know, y’all not. Y’all not seeing that stuff.

[00:06:51] So I see the ripple, but reaching the artist is only one part of the movement. Y’all not seeing the Platinum Pledge, which I launched on January, uh, first of this year. So where the Platinum Pledge is people leading a transformation involving newly unified mindset. That’s the acronym for Platinum. The Platinum Pledge is a public vow that I have challenged people to take.

[00:07:16] Saying, yo, I vow not to create, support, or promote music that’s glorifying, key word, glorifying murder, drug dealing and drug use, um, uh, disrespecting women and sexual irresponsibility, you heard me? And me putting that out there, y’all not seeing the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people who have signed that already, and I just did a soft launch this month.

[00:07:41] Now when I really kick it up, now when this Grio interview drop, and now when, you know, when we really go into the phase of pushing this, and people are like, oh my goodness, there’s strength in numbers like they’re not just, uh, like you said, just a little, a little niche of people who enjoy Black joy, but it’s like, Whoa, people are people are ready to step up to the plate and publicly say, yeah, like the lines have been drawn and we are on this side of the line that that wants to root for creating and consuming content that, uh, that it easily elicits Black joy. So the ripple is definitely happening. Now you’re seeing what we haven’t seen in hip hop, which is that difficult conversations lead to solving difficult problems.

[00:08:28] But all too often we have, we have bad communication skills in the culture to where it’s like, oh, you opposed me, uh, publicly or whatever we beefing, we ops. And, and I’m not finna, man, my life is too blessed to be wanting to beef with another Black man. Like it’s not beef. It’s not coming from a, a place of beef at all.

[00:08:49] And if anything, it’s the fans, that’s where we’re going to see the ripple effect because there’s more fans than there are artists. So I just want fans, to get to the point to where they can say, you know what? I I’m attached to these artists because I enjoy their craft and everything, but I’m not unhealthily attached.

[00:09:09] To the point where I’m saying yes to and I’m supporting stuff that in any other context, I will be totally opposed to what this messaging is, but just because it’s coming from this artist who I am attached to, you know, cause I grew up on this artist just because of that. I’m okay with this. I’m just wanting fans to be like, oh, okay, we can think for ourselves.

[00:09:30] Panama Jackson: So I actually wouldn’t be surprised to hear that artists that you’re speaking with. agree with like the messaging and everything because look so I’m I I grew up in the 90s. I actually wrote this article a couple years ago that I went back to read in preparation for this about Dr. Dre’s The Chronic being like one of my favorite albums of all time that I can’t listen to anymore, right?

[00:09:52] Like I can’t listen to that because It’s so ridiculous the amount of like rape, murder, mayhem, and all this stuff in it like it’s almost a parody, and I’m listening to it and I understand why I enjoyed it The beats were amazing. Like everybody’s rapping is amazing. Like it’s as a body of work It’s very well executed and well done, but the messaging is such that as a grown man. I I struggle to truly appreciate what some of that stuff is and I imagine as especially a lot of artists as you grow as a human being you have children like you look at life differently you start to see the way that some of these things get released and you’re like, you know, I, that’s not where I’m at.

[00:10:35] So I wouldn’t be surprised actually, like you mentioned Styles P like Styles P on a health thing, right? Like these people who have elevated in terms of like their humanity and wanting to live a long time, like not, not the way that we view ourselves in the hood. We’re getting to like 25. Once you get to a point, it’s like, wait, I can make it to 75 and 80.

[00:10:52] Now I got to approach life differently. Right? Like I got to think about things differently. And that includes, lifestyle changes of art and music and all of that stuff. So I’m not surprised by that. I’m not even surprised. And, and, you know, I see the public pushback that you get from, you know, I’m not going to name everybody, but you know, the Jim Jones and all this stuff.

[00:11:09] And I can under, I believe that a conversation with these people behind closed doors would definitely be, they can’t not understand where you’re coming from. Like everybody, like when you go on the side of right, especially in terms of the imagery that we put out into the community, forget the white gaze, but just in terms of how we view ourselves and what we want.

[00:11:28] To consume as people. Like I can’t, I can’t imagine that anybody would see, would see that as not right or negative or anything like that. I hate, and I know you do the whole, it’s just entertainment. I hate that line of reasoning and logic. And I know you do too. You have to. So why do you think we keep falling on it?

[00:11:45] It’s just entertainment store and we gotta know better than that.

[00:11:48] Dee-1: Well, well, some artists feel like you’re impacting their bag and their income. If you, if you call them out. If you challenge what it is that they are choosing to glorify with their platform,

[00:12:01] Sway SiriusXM: D 2. What do he say?

[00:12:06] Look, he look like he got drafted for D 4 basketball, right? Not people, but what about what he said though? Is it any credence to what? What is any credence to what he said about that? Don’t care. I don’t care about what he said. Okay. That boy don’t know me. I miss me with the rhetoric about what I do in my music.

[00:12:24] I get money off my music. Don’t tell me how to make my dollar.

[00:12:26] Dee-1: So at that point, it becomes a scarcity thing to where many times artists feel as if I haven’t proven that I can make money glorifying anything else other than what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years in my music. So that can become a thing to where, you know, people, people feel, uh, people feel, um, they feel attacked and, and they, and they maybe feel like it’s an indictment on their character.

[00:12:57] That’s the other thing. Artists can feel as if you’re making it seem like I’m a bad person, like I’m not doing all this stuff that I’m doing for the community and for my friends and for my family. And my thing is like, brother. Cause it’s the women too. So that’s not, Oh, brother, no brother, sister. It is not an indictment on your character.

[00:13:21] Now, if you’re saying, if you want to publicly come out and say, yep, this is what I want. I want to kill my fellow Black, uh, men and women. I want us to, I want, I want our babies to be miseducated. I want to sell dope to the community. You know, I want all this stuff to happen. I want the women to be disrespected.

[00:13:37] Uh, like if you want to say that, Then that’ll be a different conversation that’ll elicit a different response from me. But I don’t think deep down that that’s what you want and I don’t think that that’s who you are. So I study this stuff from a psychological perspective to where I know that it’s pressure from the industry to make you feel as if you have to live up to this persona that has been created and this persona that’s been incentivized.

[00:14:05] Year after year after year by an industry and by a fan base who says, well, we’re going to pay this person handsomely and reward them with fame and even legendary status for glorifying murder, drug dealing, disrespecting women and all, all of the above and that right there. That’s the issue. That’s the problem is I’m simply saying now we can do better than we absolutely can.

[00:14:32] And. You know, you can become a prisoner to your persona when your persona has produced paper and, and, you know, just so many financial incentives for you over time. I don’t want us to become a prisoner to our persona. I want us to fully be liberated and to be able to unify in a way that makes the industry have to shift because the desires of creators have shifted and the consumption habits of consumers have shifted.

[00:15:00] So that’s my goal. Some people, Panama, they say, why are you not calling out the industry? Why you don’t call out this person in this label and this label and da, da, da, man, at the end of the day, these people are nothing but capitalists. They, they, they, they simply are following the money. So if I can empower the people that I can touch, which are these artists, you see.

[00:15:21] I’m able to get responses from artists and fans. I mean, I got hundreds of thousands of followers on every platform so I can reach the fans on a daily basis. That’s who I want to empower because that’s who I know. Like we have the ability to truly shift the industry, the industry. The commissioners, I call them, they’re going to shift after the consumers and the creators shift.

[00:15:44] Panama Jackson: Time for a quick break. Stay with us.

[00:15:49] Touré: I’m Toure. Join us for crazy true stories about stars who I really hung out with like Snoop, Jay Z, Prince, Kanye. And the time I got kidnapped by Suge Knight. Don’t miss my animated series, Star Stories with Toure, from theGrio Black Podcast Network.

[00:16:14] Panama Jackson: And we’re back. Chance the Rapper releases The Big Day, which is an amazing record about, kind of like, His wedding and there’s an album about positive imagery for the most part, you know, and people pan that thing. Like his fans were like, this is, what is this nonsense, right? A lot of times when artists do move in this direction, they do, you do sacrifice some of that fandom, which ultimately sacrifices part of your bag.

[00:16:39] Like, what is that conversation? Like what artists who do, I mean, listen, you’re an artist. You may, you make money through music, uh, in other ventures, but you know, you were, you’re, you’re a rapper. So when people, when people combat that, like, I’m trying to make my money, you’re trying to take food out of my baby’s mouth.

[00:16:56] If I change up how I do things, um, like what is the response to that for people? Because it is true. I mean, as much as we might think that it shouldn’t be the case, it is true. Like. Yeah, this stuff does sell. Unfortunately. And, uh, it does sell. I hate to say that

[00:17:16] Dee-1: It’s not, it’s not true. It’s actually not true.

[00:17:18] We have to stop fooling ourselves to think that two of the richest rappers walking this earth are J Cole and Kendrick Lamar and everyone would agree that their catalog I’m sitting here looking, um, on my phone as, as we’re talking, uh, Kendrick Lamar has now passed 35 million equivalent album sales, uh, in his career.

[00:17:36] If I was to look up J Cole’s overall album sales, we all know J Cole. For going triple platinum with no features and, and, you know, just always doing, doing these numbers that can’t be denied, can’t be debated. Uh, when you talk about Chance, let’s, let’s keep in mind that having a, a positive or an empowering message in your music still is not an excuse for saying it doesn’t have to connect creatively with your audience, you know?

[00:18:06] So if, if, if The Big Day. Uh, his album just didn’t connect creatively with his audience, then let’s call it what it is. Uh, but if his, if, if Color and Book did connect much more with his audience, then we just have to say, Yo, it’s the same way that Chronic connected in a way that maybe other projects from Dre didn’t connect.

[00:18:27] It’s the same way that Doggystyle may have connected in a way that Snoop’s other projects. didn’t, uh, didn’t connect. So it’s the same way that growing up in New Orleans that, uh, the Carter one from Lil Wayne connected in a way that 500 Degrees, his album right before that didn’t connect, you know, with his audience.

[00:18:47] That’s, that’s the same subject matter on all of these albums that I’m referring to. I don’t want us to minimize it too, because I just, I’ve heard it all at this point.

[00:18:56] Panama Jackson: It’s not just the positivity. Sometimes the art just ain’t art in the way people want to hear. That’s fine.

[00:19:01] Dee-1: That’s it. That, that, because.

[00:19:03] I’ve heard it. I’ve heard the it’s only entertainment argument. I’ve heard the well, if I rap about some different people not gonna want to, you know, support that and not gonna want to, you know, hear that type of argument. And none of that stuff is, uh, is true. Like it’s simply just is not true. We got to think about the overall impact.

[00:19:24] Do you know how many people have gone on record and say that they were influenced to sell dope because of Young Jeezy’s, uh, first album?

[00:19:34] Jeezy: Look, I’m telling you, man. If you get jammed up, don’t mention my name. Forgive me, Lord. I know I ain’t living right. Gotta feed the block. Stop.

[00:19:45] Dee-1: Do you, like, do you know how many people are doing in my class, bro, that I’m about to go teach in, who did ten years in prison, and is out now, and is pursuing a degree.

[00:19:57] Here at Tufts University, literally said that to my whole class, bro, like, yo, I was totally influenced to sell dope.

[00:20:05] Panama Jackson: He sold dope because of Jeezy?

[00:20:07] Dee-1: He said, he said, Jeezy’s early music was the soundtrack to him and his boys in the hood beginning to sell dope. Yes, absolutely.

[00:20:17] Panama Jackson: Now, but, so, so I, so I kinda, I always, I’m one of the people that always struggles with that part too.

[00:20:22] Like, I, I can, I can, I understand the argument and I don’t necessarily disagree with it. Like if this music is out here, like it’s, it’s hard not to be influenced by, by that. Right. Like I, I do fully believe that I listened to actually in that same article where I talk about Dr. Dre’s a chronic, I do talk about the fact that thank God I had parents who could guide me properly because if not, I’d be calling every woman I know a bitch.

[00:20:45] Like nonstop, right? That would just be if the, if the music is what I was using and that was the only influence I had, who knows my mentality. So I’m one of the people that definitely believes that type of stuff. Um, but it’s crazy to hear people actually like, like if it wasn’t Jesus, they would have found something else.

[00:21:02] Like it’s. If you’re gonna sell drugs, you’re gonna sell drugs. I can’t imagine that you’re only gonna enter that because it’s cheesy. The terrible things, decisions I’ve made do have soundtracks and it is 99 percent of the time the hip hop I was listening to at the time. So it is kind of rude by that line of thinking.

[00:21:20] Dee-1: We, we have, we have to stop acting like it’s just entertainment. It is literally something to where I can’t name you a sermon from a pastor 20 years ago for, for every, if you gave me a trillion dollars, I can’t name you a sermon that I personally heard 20 years ago. I can’t, uh, recall a lecture from 20 years ago, but I can rap word for word, lyrics to songs that I heard 20 years ago, man, because of how that sits with you in your mental and in your brain. And if you have all of this information that gets stored up here for so long, this stuff, depending on the other factors present in your life, parental influences, because of course, parents should have the main influence on you, and, and other things that you’re going through socially and emotionally, the music can become a soundtrack.

[00:22:09] Now you have these anomalies, and the anomalies are the people who say well, I listened to music that was glorifying Buku murder, you heard me? But that music, all it did was motivate me to run five miles every day when I was training for, uh, for my track meets and for the track team. That music about glorifying murder, that was simply my soundtrack to being in the weight room during football season.

[00:22:33] You have those anomalies, but you have those other people who is like, no, that was the soundtrack to me being in the hood and listening like these dudes describing my reality. So they also giving me a how to on, on how to deal with certain real situations. And We can’t act like it’s not both. There’s some people who can take one thing.

[00:22:54] There’s, there’s, there’s somebody who could say, yo, I watched Dee-1 and Panama in theGrio’s interview right now. And that was the soundtrack to me cooking up a great meal, some gumbo. You heard me? Like, like that, that’s what the, and the next person is like, How you saying that was the soundtrack to you making some good gumbo?

[00:23:13] For me, that was the soundtrack to me understanding the implications of the messages inside of hip hop music. Some people are taking more literally, and some people will be like, well, I consumed the same content, but it had a whole different impact on me. So we have to acknowledge that both happens, but more often than not, Panama.

[00:23:32] Who are the people who interpret this music more literally, it’s the people whose lifestyle this music is describing and speaking for, and that’s our people. That’s Black people. 99 percent of the time, the person who does, uh, get more impacted by it is the person who is already disadvantaged socially, economically, uh, parental structure, more messed up, you know, growing up in these conditions that’s being described in the music, not the suburban white kid who is just like, yo.

[00:24:02] This is just, this is just entertainment and me and my friends be in the car and we be vibing. And we just be vibing out, because it is just entertainment for some of them, but when we get to the point where we acting like it’s just entertainment for us and for our people, man, get out of here. And I, I’m not talking to you when I say, man, get out of here.

[00:24:19] I’m just saying when people try to say that Oh nah.

[00:24:21] Panama Jackson: I understand completely. Ask your question.

[00:24:23] Dee-1: I can just see all these fans. Yeah.

[00:24:25] Panama Jackson: Who do you listen? So who do you listen to typically? Like right now? So I, I, I saw an interview you were talking about your favorite MCs, like people you know, they love to ask people their top five.

[00:24:33] And I, I saw that you pretty much was like, I don’t have a top five like I used to. Um, yeah. Nas, I saw you mention Nas is still like your favorite emcee or has been your favorite rapper. And Lupe, you mentioned Nas and Lupe.

[00:24:46] Dee-1: I name Nas and Lupe. Uh, that’s, I know where we’re going. I know where we’re going.

[00:24:49] So, that was the first interview, uh, shout out to the Art of Dialogue. That was the first interview where I got asked that question. And, during, during, during the interview, I had to catch myself because I was like, D, you can’t be what it is that you are speaking, uh, up against at this point, which is. Like, I’m an artist.

[00:25:13] I got 11 albums out. Like, I’m a full fledged artist, like, through and through. But, I’m also a consumer. And with that being said, I can’t be a consumer who is so tied to the music that I grew up on for nostalgic reasons. That, that I sit here and I say, well, I’m going to ignore the reality of the messaging inside of that music just because I got my list of my top five that I always lean on, you know, and in that interview, I caught myself and I was like, brother, I was like, I don’t even know if I got a top five that I could just name right now.

[00:25:49] And I was like, I feel comfortable naming Nas, I feel comfortable naming Lupe, but the other artists who I normally would say on my top five, and it’s well documented, different people that I would name, I’m like at this point, this has probably been a, um, a turning of the corner for me to where I don’t want to be so attached to these artists and to certain, yeah, certain music just because I grew up on it.

[00:26:14] That I’m unwilling to say, hey, uh, I need to grow past the point of, of saying that like, that music holds this much weight in my life. So I was gonna name other artists, but I stopped, you know? And, yeah.

[00:26:26] Panama Jackson: Well, so that’s why I asked who you listening to. Like, who, who, who does Dee-1 listen to now that fits, that doesn’t, that doesn’t present a moral dilemma, uh, or anything when, when like listening to, to the artists?

[00:26:38] Dee-1: Sure, I’m listening to, uh, the Dramatics. I’m listening to the Spinners. I’m listening to Bill Withers. You heard of it? I’m listening to the OJs. I’m listening to my man Durando. Um, I’m listening to Earth, Wind Fire, Marvin Gaye. Like, man, that’s soul music from the 70s. really like puts me in the inner space that I really enjoy, uh, being in, you know, mentally and emotionally.

[00:27:02] You know what it is, brother? I’m able to listen to certain songs from artists to where I’ve gotten to where I’m, I’m a pro at saying, well, when it come to Kanye. Like, that, them first three albums from Kanye, oh yeah, man, like, like, sign me up all day for college dropout, late registration, graduation. Sign me up for that.

[00:27:24] Then, when I want to listen to a Jadakiss, there’s certain songs that I could listen to from a Jadakiss, a wide, you know what I’m saying? There’s certain songs, um, to where I can hear people, DMX, who is always in my top five, uh, but I, at this point, it’s like, I can say Slippin you know what I’m saying? Uh, for sure.

[00:27:44] You know, when I was talking to Styles the other day and I told him, I’m like, man, your song, uh, Green Piece of Paper, to where you are dissecting your relationship with, uh, with, with money on this song, like, this is something that for a long time has been something where I’m like, ooh, like, I like what he did there.

[00:28:13] But for me to just give a blanket, uh, uh, uh, statement that like, Hey, this artist in totality is like top five. That implies I’m embracing all or almost all of everything they do. And with that, um, I just got two right now, man. And I gotta, I gotta thank harder. You hear me?

[00:28:33] Panama Jackson: Yeah. So I’m surprised it was the first time you’ve been asked that question because it seems like the natural question you would ask.

[00:28:38] Uh, any MC, uh, especially one as prolific as yourself, who clearly, like, is, is a lyricist at heart, who Is interested in, in, in the art of writing bars and all of that. Like it’s, it’s, it’s interesting. All right, we’re going to take a real quick break here. We come back. I want to talk more. We’re going to keep having this conversation.

[00:28:57] And I really want to talk about what’s happening, what you’re doing at Tufts and your time as a fellow at Harvard. So stay tuned right here on Deer Culture.

[00:29:06] theGrio: Yo, come look at what Michael Harriot just posted. Come get your man. It’s his podcast episodes for me. I was today years old when I found out Michael Harriot had a podcast.

[00:29:19] Subscribed.

[00:29:20] I’m world famous white peopologist Michael Harriot and this is theGrio Daily.

[00:29:25] That’s right, The Black Twitter King has a podcast, theGrio Daily with Michael Harriot, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on theGrio Black Podcast Network and accessible wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

[00:29:37] Panama Jackson: And we’re back.

[00:29:39] Dee-1: Hold up, hold up, people need motivation. My city the murder capital of the nation. You know in them trenches is survival of the fittest. I pray we get the confidence to value our existence.

[00:29:50] Panama Jackson: Alright, we’re back here on Dear Coach and I’m here with Dee-1. We’re talking effectively the state of hip hop and talking about accountability in hip hop, which is For me, for my generation, you know, folks who grew up on 90s hip hop, as I’ve grown as a human, as a parent, as all this stuff, it all comes into play because I have these conversations.

[00:30:08] I have a 15 year old daughter and I’m always. Trying to figure out when to introduce her to some of the music that I loved and then I listened to it I’m like, I don’t even think I want you to hear this Which then makes me think about my own musical like education and journey and all that stuff It’s been very interesting as a parent of children and thinking about the music that I’ve loved that has effectively been a part of raising me I gotta ask I gotta ask about the Sexyy Red conversation.

[00:30:38] I hate to do this because I hate scapegoating people Um, like I really hated when Soulja Boy got basically blamed for killing hip hop and like I hate when we do that we pick an artist and turn them into like, the poster child for the thing that is wrong. Um, but, you know, like you, you know, you teach at Tufts, I, I teach at Howard, and we have a lot of conversation, I teach a class on opinion writing at Howard, and so the Constantly conversations about hip hop artists and especially there’s a lot of women in my class so of course the Sexyy red we always talk about the meg and nikki minaj’s of course dominated my class yesterday and and um, Sexyy Red always comes up as a as a point of note because It’s like there’s two schools of thought there, right?

[00:31:23] There’s the this woman has full agency and is create is authentically being herself and creating the music that she wants. And then there’s the other side of it is like, what is, why is this the music that you want to put out there? What are you putting out there? What is this imagery that you’re putting out there?

[00:31:37] Does this elevate the community in any way, shape or form? So when you see artists like Sexyy Red that are so polarizing, like, and I imagine because of the class that you teach on hip hop and social change, which I really want to talk about, like, how do those conversations, like, how do you have those conversations?

[00:31:59] Dee-1: I still think it is. A conversation where we have to acknowledge you’re not like this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you’re choosing what aspect of, of you to, to, um, to encapsulate, make music about, and then push out there and continue to, uh, pull from that same bag and be like, let’s pull another song from that same bag, that same micro aspect of, of who I am, and just continue to put that out there, it’s still just decisions, but you got to look at young men and young women with a different lens than you look at the elders, you know, and the OGs inside the industry.

[00:32:39] So when you are young and you and your teens or your early twenties. You’re still trying to find yourself often times and you can easily be manipulated and do something strange for a little piece of change and and when it’s a big old piece of change that’s being dangled in front of you and you sitting here like wait, this all I got to do is tap into this side of who I am because this is authentically me to a certain degree and just and just keep making music from that standpoint. That right there is what Is, is what we have to guard against in our community, but you guard against that by the elders being like, hey, we’re going to cover you and we’re going to make sure that this industry can’t come in and try to take advantage of you.

[00:33:21] But we don’t have enough good OGs. We have DGs and that’s disappointing grownup. That’s what we got oftentimes in the culture. You feel me? And, and because of that, you got these artists who we want to put the weight of the world. on their shoulders. And I mean, to whom much is given, much is required for sure.

[00:33:42] So I do pray that a Sexyy Red can just wake up and that that queen, that that sister can see, like, come on, sweetie, like they, they using you, boo. Like, I promise you, I promise you in 10, 15 years, you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna be like, oh, them people really Some people really only cared about how much money I could make for them by, by showcasing a side of me that ultimately will be detrimental to my own community.

[00:34:09] Like once your brain fully, uh, you know, develops and you’re able to see that for what it is, you’ll look back and you may not have as much influence as you have now, or you have to think, whose life have you influenced? In potentially a negative way that you can’t, you know, you can’t touch that person again now, because that was years ago that, that they were listening to you and tuned into you.

[00:34:32] So that’s all we just trying to break the cycle. And I think with, uh, with these artists, you look at somebody like, uh, like, uh, uh, Drake, you know, at, at this point, I think that we’ve heard everybody from, it’s interesting because I think about, uh, my man, uh, Joe Budden and shout out to Joe Budden. I gotta say that as a disclaimer, cause he and I have had.

[00:34:57] Some, some back and forth. Uh, you know, so

[00:35:01] Joe Budden: it’s clout chasing, leave my name and likeness out of your internet shenanigans.

[00:35:07] Dee-1: This is not coming from a bad place at all. This is coming from a place of it’s interesting because you can tell that Joe Budden is a, is a, an intellectual dude when it comes to how he approaches hip hop.

[00:35:19] He’s been in the industry. He can speak to it from the commercial aspect to being on the creative side. But.

[00:35:29] He even looked at Drake, I think on Drake’s last album as, as being a person who was like, hey man, you need to step your content up. Like, like, like you do, like, like you just, you’re of age now to where you need to step your content up. Um, you need to stop approaching these young women and just young women who you wanting to get involved with and entangled with and all that stuff.

[00:35:53] Uh, but also content wise, we just need more from you. It’s interesting that People tend to feel that way about artists who they have, who they know you can do better and you have more to you than what you’re choosing to put out there. At a certain point, people feel like you should have turned the corner.

[00:36:12] I don’t think that I am alone in, in thinking that. And here’s the last thing I’m going to say on this topic, because I’m a college professor at this point. You are as well. You, you, you teach college. Yo, if your students, brother. at Howard University are saying, man, look, it’s going down this weekend. We’re going to be partying in this person’s apartment.

[00:36:35] We having a house party. That thing going to be lit. That thing will be turned up. And you got a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds saying that. And if you, the father of a 15 year old, if you like, man, let me know what time drop that low, you heard me and I’m there. Like I’m, I’m pulling up, like that’s going to be an awkward pause moment.

[00:36:52] And it’s just going to be like. Hold on, man, like, like you in a different, you know, you around us, but you not like, you not one of us. We’re expecting more from you. Come on, man. You not us. So that is how we need to view hip hop when it comes to the, the OGs or the veterans in hip hop. Because now when we talk about a Sexyy Red, it won’t have to be something to where.

[00:37:16] You counting on one person to, to have the courage to speak what everybody knows is like, come on, man. Like, like, yo, we could do better than this. But it hits different when you have a whole bunch of people in the community that are saying that as opposed to a couple outliers and they want to call you a hater or they want to call you, yeah, like, oh, you’re just hating on this person, man, miss me with that.

[00:37:42] Panama Jackson: Right. So let’s, you mentioned being a college professor. I want to, I make sure, I want to make sure we get to that. So you’re the inaugural Alan Solomon. I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing that right. Artist, scholar, and resident at Tufts. And the Tisch College of Civic Life. So what did, and you said you teach a class on hip hop and social change, which I think is one of the more important classes that you can take in general because hip hop is the soundtrack to social change, especially for the past 50 years.

[00:38:07] So, tell me about what it is you’re doing at Tufts, and tell me about teaching this class.

[00:38:12] Dee-1: I’m utilizing all my God given gifts to make this campus a better place, and a more thought provoking place when it comes to people’s relationship with hip hop. Meaning, I’ve done everything on campus from hosting open mics, So where I know this is where I got my start as a college undergrad student at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, doing open mics on campus.

[00:38:38] And as a young brother who wanted to rap, but who had no fan base and, and was really just at the ground level of, of starting to explore my talents inside of hip hop. Open mic nights, that’s what really gave me my first platform to hone my skills, my performance skills made me want to go back to the dorm room and work on my writing.

[00:39:00] So next go around, I was better. Uh, so I’ve hosted two open mic nights so far this school year. Pack out. You heard me? Like I’m talking about these things been so lit bro. And it’s been amazing to bring that energy to campus. Also, we’re in Boston. So, you know, when I put a post out on Instagram, not only is the campus attending, but we just got the streets in the city of Boston that’s like, well, we might, we might make a trip over to Tufts to go Dee-1 hosting an open mic night.

[00:39:29] So that’s been beautiful to, uh, to merge the, you know, the, the city of Boston in with campus life at Tufts and allow all of these energies to co exist. So I’ve been hosting open mic nights. I am teaching my course, the intersection of hip hop and social change, which is amazing. I’m serving as a, as a mentor to these students on campus, whether I teach you or not, I’m in my office, which, you know, I’m sitting in my office right now and I make myself very available and accessible to, to my students and even to people that aren’t my students, but just wanting them to have a person who can help them navigate.

[00:40:07] Uh, what they’re going through emotionally, uh, financially, and even purpose wise when they’re in this stage of life of like, what, what direction do I go after graduation? How am I feeling in college? Because I went through, I went through a lot, a lot in college that could have easily made me want to drop out, uh, could have easily just made me take the, the path where it was just the lowest hanging fruit and saying, okay, this will be a quick paycheck.

[00:40:33] I’ll just major in engineering because they seem to all be getting good jobs coming out, knowing that that ain’t my passion. You know, like I’ve been through all that changing majors, all that stuff. So doing all that at Tufts, um, and more, um, we are, we, we doing, we doing some stuff in my class that, uh, is pretty unprecedented too.

[00:40:55] So, um, you know, we are like the class is like a lab. It’s like a creative lab to where you can hone your skills and your talents. Uh, if you want to be an artist, but also, uh, I’m really creating a bunch of, uh, consumer activists inside the class. The type of, the type of, um, the type of consumers to where, yeah, you might be listening to hip hop, but you, you’re listening to hip hop because you want to see hip hop continue to make social change.

[00:41:26] You don’t just want it to turn into something that was never intended to be. So it’s cool helping to build up creators and consumers.

[00:41:33] Panama Jackson: I really love the fact that so many artists now are able to be practitioners and teachers to people who are trying to understand hip hop. Like it’s not just teachers and academics who are, you know, analyzing it.

[00:41:50] You have people who are actually a part of the culture. In a, in a, in an active way, teaching students and teaching people about like, I love that. That’s that aspect of it. Even in my class, it’s not intended to be a class about hip hop. It just ends up being always about hip hop because once the students find out that I’m a hip hop head and I’m 90s hip hop head, they get a perspective that they never had.

[00:42:12] Cause they think the nineties was like so long ago. And I’m explaining to them how things were. The music we listen to, how it differs from what’s going on. So every conversation ends up being about hip hop, even if I’m not trying to do it. But I try to do that in a very informational way, educational way to help hone the way that I teach writing, you know, so it’s very, it’s, I love that aspect of it.

[00:42:34] Um, we’re gonna take one quick break here and we’ll come back. I got one more question for you about your platinum pledge. And then we’re going to do Blackfessions and the Blackamendation, and we’re going to get you out of here. So stay tuned with Deer Culture. We’re back here on Deer Culture with Dee-1.

[00:42:49] We’ve been talking hip hop, hip hop culture, and you mentioned something earlier in the conversation, uh, called the platinum pledge. Uh, you talked about that briefly. Can you explain a little bit more about like, how are you getting, like, how are you getting people to sign the pledge to be more responsible in the way that they engage as a consumer?

[00:43:06] With hip hop, uh, with the art, like, how are you going about doing that? What brought that on and how are you going about getting those, getting people to, to sign that pledge?

[00:43:15] Dee-1: Well, 2023 was a life changing year for me to where a lot of the conversations I’ve been having about the state of hip hop culture and the direction that it’s moving in, these conversations went a lot more mainstream and were a lot more, um, highly visible than they had ever been.

[00:43:30] But I’ve been having these same conversations since 2010, since my career started. Like literally, so I said, okay, I don’t want to just be the person who’s pointing out problems, uh, in the culture and, and speaking about the culture from that aspect. I also want to offer, uh, solutions. So the platinum pledge is something that, uh, by the grace of God, I was able to come up with.

[00:43:52] I turned platinum into an acronym, people leading a transformation involving newly unified mindset. The platinum pledge. It takes three seconds for people to sign online, and it’s simply people saying, uh, that we vow to come together to say that we don’t want to create, support, or promote music that is glorifying murder, drug dealing, and drug use, disrespecting women, and sexual irresponsibility. And that’s what the platinum pledge is saying. And we want to unite. We want to show our strength in numbers for people who are like, nah, we, we don’t want to create or push out that type of music. And that doesn’t mean we’re anti hip hop. Of course we’re not anti hip hop. Like we love hip hop.

[00:44:40] We are hip hop, but we don’t want to act like that’s just the status quo of something that we have to accept and have to, um, Push. So it’s available at Dee-1music. com, D E E, the number one, music. com. I put it out on social media, uh, at the top of the year and instantly people started flooding the website to go on and sign, sign, sign, sign.

[00:45:05] So then I was like, Ooh, D, this is really a thing, my brother. This is really a thing. There’s an appetite for this. So then, I brought a hundred rappers together in my city, in New Orleans, you heard me? And we had a conversation called Rappers Only. To where I said, I want to have a convening of artists, just rappers.

[00:45:24] You heard me had a hundred rappers show up, uh, Panama and we sat down and we had a huge round table discussion to where we all talked about, uh, our mindset and our mentality. That, that, uh, that dictates and informs how we consume our art and what’s our headspace when it comes to the music that we make and our goals and intentions for being in the industry.

[00:45:47] And you have people with different viewpoints, people who oppose one another, but it still showed that we’re unified, you know, and we’re brothers and sisters at the end of the day. And that this dialogue was needed. Just know that we, we thousands and thousands and thousands of people in already who have signed it.

[00:46:02] And I ain’t even tap into my celebrity friends who I know gonna rock with. I ain’t even tap into the Panama Jacksons of the world yet. You hear me? So, uh, you, you, you start getting them and it’s like, Oh, shoot. Oh, this person signed it. Oh, this person. Oh, this person feel like that. Oh, they feel like that.

[00:46:18] Oh, dah, dah, dah. So it’s a movement, man. And we want everybody to be a part of it. Because. The goal is just simply to eradicate, um, the glorification of what we can pretty much all agree is not healthy for our community. That’s it.

[00:46:33] Panama Jackson: We’re coming to the last few segments of Dear Culture, which are some of my favorite segments because it’s where we get to have a little bit of fun, even when we’re having serious conversations.

[00:46:42] Which includes our Blackfessions, which is a confession about your Blackness. Uh, do you have a Blackfession for us?

[00:46:50] Dee-1: Man. Look, you only live once. So yeah, I got Blackfession, man. Um, listen, I, I grew up in my household, you know, for different reasons. Uh, I just didn’t grow up watching a lot of movies. So in my whole life, I’ve probably watched like a total of maybe 30 movies that I have not watched many movies at all.

[00:47:11] So therefore you already know where I’m going with this. Oh man, brudda, I’m talking about you could just take your pick cause any of the Black classics that you name, it’s a 90. 9% chance that Dee-1 has not seen them things. And now in adulthood, you know, after this interview I’m gonna probably be like, all right, I got a good, you know, watch.

[00:47:34] But bro, it’s, it is so many Black classic movies that I haven’t seen, um, that have come out during time.

[00:47:39] Panama Jackson: Boys in the hood

[00:47:41] Dee-1: Ain’t seen it.

[00:47:42] Panama Jackson: Wow. So Menace of Society.

[00:47:45] Dee-1: I ain’t seen it. I

[00:47:50] ain’t seen it.

[00:47:50] Panama Jackson: This is a Blackfession. Yeah, this is a Blackfession. And it’s not just the one movie you’re talking about, like it’s an entire. You haven’t seen Love Jones?

[00:48:01] Dee-1: Love Jones. That’s um, hold on, that’s uh, that’s uh, I was about to say Lamar Odom, hold on, that’s uh, that’s Lorenz Tate. Lorenz Tate.

[00:48:11] Lorenz Tate. I did see that one. I did see that one. I did see that one.

[00:48:14] Panama Jackson: Okay, alright, and Nia Long. Yeah, Nia Long. Five Heartbeats.

[00:48:19] Dee-1: Five Heartbeats. Um. Uh, partially. It used to come on, uh, uh, uh, TNT and all them. Yep. Yeah. And all that in New Orleans. And I was just like, golly, man, I, I watched part of it, but I ain’t see all of it.

[00:48:34] Panama Jackson: That’s so interesting. Okay. Listen, that is a Blackfession.

[00:48:38] Dee-1: Yeah. Name a couple more. Cause I I’m just, I I’m gonna go watch y’all at least. Cause I know, yeah. All right.

[00:48:43] Panama Jackson: Dead presidents.

[00:48:45] Dee-1: Uh, no, I ain’t see Dead Presidents.

[00:48:48] Panama Jackson: Love and Basketball.

[00:48:50] Dee-1: I seen Love and Basketball.

[00:48:51] Panama Jackson: Okay, so you’re doing better than I thought.

[00:48:53] So you’ve seen the wood.

[00:48:55] Dee-1: Uh oh. Um, lemme see.

[00:49:02] Panama Jackson: Yo, that’s funny.

[00:49:04] Dee-1: Uh, have I seen it? Uh, no. , no, no.

[00:49:09] Panama Jackson: That’s funny. Oh, man. You seen the color purple? Have you seen? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Every movie I’m naming, I’ve seen all these joints.

[00:49:17] Dee-1: Oh, so you’re doing a cheat code. You’re going to name stuff you didn’t see it automatically.

[00:49:21] Panama Jackson: Yeah, you’re talking about Black classic films.

[00:49:23] So I’ve watched all of them. Like I’m a Black movie person. I watched the movies on Tubi. Like I’m that person.

[00:49:27] Dee-1: Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I just grew up as I listened to a lot of music growing up. I, we didn’t really get into movies in my household. So no, I ain’t see the color purple.

[00:49:37] Panama Jackson: Okay. All right. Well, yeah, you definitely got some homework to do then.

[00:49:41] Dee-1: But I seen Baller Blockin you heard me? I seen Hot Boys by, uh, Matthew.

[00:49:44] Panama Jackson: You seen Thuggin It, Lovin It, parts one and two?

[00:49:47] Dee-1: Yeah, Thuggin It, Lovin It. I seen New Orleans Exposed, I seen, uh, all of the, bro, the stuff that then came from, from my city. You know, we, we, we had our ways of, uh, we had our ways of.

[00:50:02] Panama Jackson: Baton Rouge has a ton of culture unto itself.

[00:50:05] In the movie game. One of my best friends is from Baton Rouge, so, uh, I’m very familiar with the entire Baton Rouge scene. Um, okay. Well, to offset our Blackfessions, we usually do a Black commendation as well, which is a recommendation about something Biafran about Black culture that you think people need to be up on.

[00:50:25] Do you have a Blackamendation for us?

[00:50:27] Dee-1: Mmm. Go to Ghana. Uh, that’s what you need to get up on. Go to Ghana. Because for me, going to Ghana as a young teenager growing up in New Orleans. Totally made me appreciate our people, our culture, our history, our smiles, our joy that much more, uh, and that is something to where I’m, yeah, I’m going back to Africa this summer, so I’m excited about that because I went to Ghana at a point in my, uh, childhood and my adolescence to where I could have, I could have did what we call jumping off the porch in New Orleans, you know, you get to that point to that stage of life where you no longer a child, you know, you’re a teenager and you can really get involved in the stuff that’s gonna, uh, have a detrimental effect on your life.

[00:51:20] You could really do that if you want to. But right around that time when some of my friends was, you know, metaphorically jumping off the porch, uh, I jumped on, right, I jumped on a plane, you heard me? And, and I jumped on a plane and went to Ghana for this cultural exchange trip. Shout out to Miss Deborah Hawley.

[00:51:36] Uh, in New Orleans who started this organization to where, you know, she took a bunch of New Orleanians and teenagers to Ghana, West Africa. And yeah, that trip totally changed my life. So I’ve been, I’ve been a brother who, who was always determined not to just be a product of my environment. Uh, ever since I went on that trip to Ghana, I was like, Oh no, I’m going to make my environment a product of me.

[00:52:00] You know, instead of me being a product of my environment, and it was because of that trip. So that’s my Blackamendation. Go to, go to Africa. And I’m biased towards Ghana because that’s where I went.

[00:52:10] Panama Jackson: Fair enough. My wife is actually from Ghana, so I, I, I can, I can stamp that message. I have been to Accra, I’ve been to Ghana, so I, I, uh, I agree with that message wholeheartedly.

[00:52:21] Um, you also have a children’s book, right? You mentioned a children’s book before.

[00:52:27] Dee-1: I do. I do, I do, I do. Now, when we talk about all the ways in which hip hop could be used as a teaching tool in the Black community, one of them is just by making music. So my most recent album that I’ve put out is called From the Hood to Harvard.

[00:52:40] Right now it’s exclusively available on my website, d one music.com, DEE, the number one music.com, and you can name your own price. So shout out to the thousands and thousands of people who have come and get it direct and gotten it directly from me, and we’ll be on streaming platforms, uh, in the next couple of weeks though, for those that’s like, ah, I’m just gonna wait.

[00:52:59] All right, cool. Lemme put it up there. But, uh, another way in which hip hop can be used as a teaching tool is. through literary forms. So during my fellowship at Harvard University, I also, in addition to From the Hood to Harvard album, I wrote this children’s book called David Found His Slingshot. I used to get bullied when I was in kindergarten.

[00:53:20] This is a picture of me in kindergarten as a picture of my bully and just like the story of David and Goliath to where David was eventually able to defeat Goliath by using his special gift, which was his slingshot that he was, you know, real gifted with using that slingshot. Uh, your slingshot is a metaphor for whatever it is that’s special and unique to you that you are able to do in a way that other people on, you know, in this world and way back in kindergarten, metaphorically, I found my slingshot and by finding my slingshot, uh, it lets you know how I was able to deal with being bullied. And this, uh, this book is available, uh, once again, exclusively, uh, on my website, the website for the book is, um.

[00:54:08] MissionVisionLifestyle. com And, uh, this book, I’m talking about thousands of people have been blessed by this book. And it’s amazing, the illustrations are amazing. The, uh, the words, of course it’s a hip hop book, so it all rhymes. And it reads as if, as if you’re reading, like, lyrics to an album, you know? So Really dope, man.

[00:54:26] So if y’all got any kids that y’all care about in y’all life, this book is helping to transform how an entire generation treats one another. Absolutely. Because once you realize that you can build bridges with one another, instead of just building beef with one another, it is totally different. So I recommend this book to anyone.

[00:54:44] David found his slingshot.

[00:54:48] Panama Jackson: We appreciate your time, brother. Uh, thank you for this conversation. I know you’ve been having a lot of them about the state of hip hop and as a, like I’ve already said, like as a father, as somebody with children who is a hip hop head and trying to figure out how to do it, I’m always having these conversations with my friends, with the homies, with my students, just in general about the state of the culture, which is so important to me and you.

[00:55:12] And, you know, me and you, your mom and your cousin too, you know, like the way that everything I think in lyrics, right, these things are essential to who I am. So I appreciate the work that you’re doing. I appreciate the thought and the intentionality in which you are bringing these conversations to light and using your tremendous platform for positive change.

[00:55:30] Um, please tell everybody how they can keep up with everything you got going on social media. Like where can people find you on social media?

[00:55:36] Dee-1: Yeah, so on social media, I’m Dee-1 Music on all social media platforms. D E E, the number one music. You know, you can check out the music on the streaming platforms, just Dee-1, D E E Dash, the number one.

[00:55:51] Y’all tap in with me. Uh, I’m out here, man. I’m out here. I’m walking in my purpose. I’m unapologetic about it. Um, I do love my Blackness, although I ain’t seen a lot of the movies. Uh, that, that, that, that might, that might imply that, uh, that I am uh, fully in tune with the, with the cinematic side of our culture, but I love it.

[00:56:12] And I really love y’all for affording me this platform. Um, thank you for this interview and I got much more that I’m going to be doing. So, you know, I’m sure we’re going to cross paths again and have to, um, yeah, have to, have to do some more, some more talking about what’s going on. Cause I’m not in the game to just fit in.

[00:56:29] I’m in the game to change the game. But that doesn’t mean I have to make apps while doing so. It just means that I’m here to, to love on people, but also to challenge us to be the best version of who we are called to be.

[00:56:42] Panama Jackson: Fair enough. Thank you to everybody for checking out this episode. Make sure you check out Dee-1, Dee-1’s music, check out everything, the book, make sure you check out David found his slingshot.

[00:56:51] Um, and just thank you for checking out all the culture and content we have here at theGrio. And here on Dear Culture, I’m Panama Jackson. Have a Black one.

[00:57:38] theGrio: Black writers write about, but how? Well, personally, it’s on my bucket list to have one of my books banned. I know that’s probably bad, but I think Ooh, spicy! They were yelling, n word, go home. And I was looking around for the n word, because I knew it couldn’t be me, because I was a queen. But I’m telling people to quit this mentality of identifying ourselves by our work.

[00:57:58] To start to live our lives. And to redefine the whole concept of how we work, and where we work, and why we work in the first place.

[00:58:10] My biggest strength throughout, throughout my career has been having incredible mentors, and specifically Black women. I’ve been writing poetry since I was like eight. You know, I’ve been reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin and Maya Angelou and so forth and so on since I was like a little kid. Like the banjo was Blackly Black. [00:58:27] Right? For. Many, many, many years. Everybody knew. Cause sometimes I’m just doing some Sam that, cause I just want to do it. I’m honored to be here. Thank you for doing the work that you’re doing. Keep shining bright. And we, and like you said, we’re going to keep writing Black. As always, you can find us on theGrio app or wherever you find your podcasts.

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