Interview by ReviewStacks.com
Hello, my name is Wayne Watts and it’s my first day…sorry I’m late. That’s the tag line-turned future album title of the artist that would like to be first to cover XXL magazine with a smile on his face. DK aka Wayne Watts is interviewing for a place in the game and he’s bringing Baltimore with him. DK is an artist making moves, both in the world and in the world of music. His rise to what local fame he has (in addition to his growing national fan base) can be attributed to his relentless work ethic in the studio as well as his tireless “extracurricular” efforts that financially support his hip hop habit. With a lyrical style that blends the storytelling of Slick Rick and the comedic flair of an early 90’s Will Smith with a powerful yet comfortable cadence, Mr. Watts delivers what he refers to as “old school meets new school rap”. We caught up with DK last week with a few questions about his place in the rap world:
RS: What’s the story behind your “Hi, My name is Wayne Watts” tagline?
DK: Basically, I’m introducing myself. My album will be called: “it’s my first day” because it’s my first day on the job. I’m trying to finally getting hired by the employer that is the industry. I don’t want to put that album out until music is my full-time job!
RS: What was your motivation to rap?
DK: I’m motivated to make good music and I do that by working hard. Plus, both of my parents are musical. My dad was in a few bands before he started managing and producing.
RS: How would you describe your style?
DK: I think it’s witty and it’s funny. It’s old school meets new school.
RS: Who would you say that you most sound like among active rappers?
DK: Lupe Fiasco and Phonte from Little Brother. Some people say I sound like Common and Ludacris sometimes.
DK: Of course Slick Rick. Also, Will Smith back when he was with Jazzy Jeff.
RS: What has your reception been like?
DK: I’ve had a lot of opportunities to perform at different venues and open for a lot of great people. I try to have my own style and rep for Baltimore and people seem to like it so far. I remember a show I did in Maine where the whole crowd was yelling “Baltimore City” during my song and it was crazy because I was so far from home. But people were feeling it. So I like to say I’m brining Baltimore to a city near you!
RS: What about specifically in your area? What has it been like in Baltimore?
DK: The buzz is getting there. I got more of a buzz in DC. It’s hard to break in Baltimore, because we’re the biggest small city or the smallest big city. We got one radio station. The area would blow up if we [all of the artists] could get together!
RS: What's it take to be an emcee from your town?
DK: Focus, not losing yourself in the mix and trying to sound the same. Not just in Baltimore, it’s in hip hop. People find out what’s popular and do that rather than staying in their lane.
RS: Where do you fit in the game today?
DK: Representative of Baltimore. I’m a Blue collar worker with a 9-5, fresh out of college. I graduated, had fun in school and now I’m doing other things. I’m the storyteller, so hopefully giving people motivation to get somewhere. I want you to throw my music on and feel better. And I smile; I want to be the first rapper on XXL to smile.
RS: College is starting to get a little more popular in rap these days [Asher Roth]…
DK: I was doing that same stuff in school and I made songs about it back then. I mean I just graduated in 2007. Back in 2005, I put out “the Facebook Song” that was about some real girls on my campus. And I had this other joint called “Keep It Moving” that I literally recorded at 4 am on a break from studying!
RS: What other stuff do you have out?
DK: The first full album I did was “That’s My Boy” when I was 16. And even though I hadn’t really figured out my style yet on that one, we got to go perform at the Billboard Music Conference with that one. Then I’ve got the Firelane Project, that’s a mixtape we did too. On top of that, I’ve got the videos on YouTube and the Breakfast Freestyle that I do every morning.
RS: What’s the idea behind the breakfast freestyle?
DK: Well basically, I’m up everyday before most people because I get up early to go to work. So I record and post my freestyle before I leave so people can get up and listening to me while they eat their cereal or throw me on the iPod on the way out the door. I was going to do a freestyle of the week but doing it everyday let’s me have something free flowing and fresh and it keeps it really current.
RS: Talk about the music video where you use the John Mayer track.
DK: I love John Mayer. I would love to collaborate with John because he’s one of the best singer/songwriters out there. The cool part was to see the comments on Youtube. At first I was getting nothing. Then a guy started in talking about it being a disgrace to music and how John should sue me. Then all these people came out of nowhere saying how much they loved it. That’s what’s cool about Youtube, MySpace, and the sites that have my music: It goes straight to people. So reading those comments and everything always helps me remember why I do this stuff and tell my stories. That is Hip Hop!
RS: How do you think Hip Hop is changing?
DK: Merging with different genres and that can be good and bad, but its music. It’s creating different sounds. Lots of the stuff has pop and emo sounds too it. Before hip hop wasn’t popular music. So people had to do it for other reasons. That might be what caused it to die…but it’s not really dead, because that’s when the cats who haven’t fully blown yet really shine and put out good music.
RS: Is there a way to get popular and stay true to hip hop and who you were as an artist?
DK: Yeah, but it depends on how you came into the game. If you were a hustler, it’s going to be hard to do anything but talk about money once you get on. But if you have something else in you, you will show a lot of versatility as you get big like a Nas, Andre, or Cee-Lo. What I really want to see is people who don’t feel like they have to conform to those standards when they get older to appeal to a crowd that was never their fans anyway. It’s like Mick Jagger trying to appeal to 15 year olds.
RS: Where is it going?
DK: I don’t know. It’s popular, and its on its way up, but on its way down in sales. My projection is that it will drop in sales, and people who jump in for the money will drop out because it won’t be making the money they need and a lot of dope artists will start shining again.
RS: What was the goal of your last project?
DK: Firelane was based on the idea that everybody can be their own thing. Everybody in the game has their own lane. If you’re in somebody else’s lane, you’ll get removed. My lane is storytelling. My other stuff is creating a buzz, to let people in on who I am. To get on the TRACKHUSTLE’s, RealTALKNY’s, and of course REVIEWSTACKS’ of the world to let people know who I am so they can decide if they feel it.
TrackHustle would like to thank DK aka Wayne Watts for a great interview and great music. Stay on the grind, its time to put B-More on the map!
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