RESPECT | Interview: Dee-1 Talks Psalms, Touring With Lupe Fiasco, Dream Collaborations and His New Deal With RCA


In a music industry filled with glorification of misogyny and violence, New Orleans-based emcee Dee-1 is a breath of fresh air. His brand of hip-hop is positive without being corny, inspirational without being preachy. He’s a Christian, but he’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s not perfect. Although he’s in the midst of touring with Lupe Fiasco right now, Dee-1 took the time to speak with us about what he’s learning out on the road, being self made, artists that he would love to work with, and of course his newest release, Psalms of David II. Available for download right now at DatPiff.

RESPECT.: Alright, before we get into the latest things about you, let’s talk a little bit about your past. You used to be a teacher?

Dee-1: Yeah, yeah.

What made you decide to leave that behind and focus on your music? Or was that the plan all along?

Yeah. The plan all along was to be able to be an artist full-time, but when I graduated from college, I wasn’t making any money from being an artist. So, I got the job as a teacher to help just supplement my income and really fund my dream and pay for my habit, pretty much. My habit of being an artist. So, that’s how that worked. Then, finally it got to the point where I couldn’t really balance both of them anymore because it was taking too much of a toll on me. I realized that if I wanted my music to pop off real big, I had to pursue it full-time and give myself a chance to really compete.

It seems like it’s worked out so far. 

I feel like I made the right choice.

Definitely. I listened to your Psalms of David I project and one of the quotes that caught my attention was “Be real. Be righteous. Be relevant.” You’re really open about your faith. Has your music always had a positive message?

For the most part, it’s always been like that. When I first, first, first started rapping…I would say the first six months of me rapping, it didn’t really have a message in it. It didn’t really have any direction to it. Soon after that, probably around the time when I put my first solo project out, I was rapping with a bunch of homeboys at first in this big clique with like fifteen dudes. We were all kinda talking about a bunch of nothing, but when  I started to do my solo stuff I was like “Man, I want my stuff to really have a purpose, to really talk about something.” That’s more or less the type of person I am, what you hear in my music.

Read the rest of the interview over at RESPECT. magazine