There are some things that make one a star that few possess. While the basis of quality in music from an artist is usually graded by factors such as lyrical capacity and flows there is more to it. Less tangible qualities like the ability to network, experience and just generally being likeable play a huge factor in the trajectory to stardom. One artist I can personally tell you that has all of these strongpoints and more is Jackson, Mississippi’s own Dolla Black.
As an artist who has been grinding his way into the ears and hearts of fans for years, recent times have seen the effort pay off more for Dolla. In 2016 he made his presence felt nationally, as his only release of that year “All Day” attained placement on ESPN’s network. This year Dolla Black rolled out his “Black Friday” EP and has kept the momentum pushing forth with his new single “Wait For It”. It brings me joy to watch Dolla fly to new heights and progress as he is truly a genuine person and someone I feel can really help to push the culture in the state of Mississippi. Every win for him is one for us all.
With the single making its rounds and the video fresh in the mind we wanted to highlight Dolla Black with an interview to get more in depth and in his brain. The dialogue was as refreshing as I expected to be, with him dropping a few gems throughout. To read the full Q&A follow below.
To start how about introducing yourself for anyone getting hip to you for the first time?
What’s good world? I go by Dolla Black of Black Dolla Entertainment from Jackson, Mississippi. One of the best doing it period because I am my lane! Nice to meet you!
You’re one of the people who I would really consider ambassadors as far as rap goes in the state of Mississippi. More specifically in Jackson. Have you always lived there and what was the experience like growing up in the city?
I appreciate that man, I just call it doing my part. I was born in Jackson, stayed in Chicago for a while when I was younger, then moved back to Jackson and been here ever since. I’ve always enjoyed being in the city you know. Jackson has always been good to me and I’ve always been rooted and grown in the different parts that I was able to have access to as a kid. Shady Oaks, Brown Bottom, South Jackson, Virden Addition, a little time in the Queens, earned my keep and my name in a neighborhood off of Old Canton road though … that’s where it all came together and made sense as far as who I would become as an artist and a man, but my time all over Jackson is responsible for my perspective and actions to this day. The people I had the pleasure of being around and growing up with or meeting were always real people … and they took care of me and never led me wrong.
You’re also an artist I’ve noticed isn’t afraid to collaborate. That being said who are some of your favorites from the area?
My perspective of collaborating comes from me being aware of the opportunities that I didn’t have when I was making a effort to create and wanting to be apart of the scene. I always felt like I was ready to be inserted and I had the talent to hold my own, but opportunities were never there to really rub elbows with the people who had a name in the city and the ones that I bumped into weren’t really open to working with people who weren’t as established as them. With me knowing that, I want to make a effort to change that. I want the people who reaching for their dreams and want to be apart of this scene that’s being built, I want them to feel comfortable with being able to reach out and work with me as well as other people here, and I do that by if anybody meet me and trying to get in contact with someone that I’m connected with, I make that connection. It isn’t a competition with people inside these state lines, and I want to remove that without saying I’m removing it, other than now, by connecting as many people as possible. But back to your question, I don’t have favorites, but the people that I’ve collaborated with or wouldn’t mind are Yung Jewelz, Dev Maccc, Kool KM, CLEW, Savvy, Hollywood Luck, D.O.L.O., Air Slim, Sika, Vitamin Cea, Coke Bumaye, Rozay Mo, Slimm Pusha, Lil Lonnie, Isaiah BinLaden, Milli Montana, Ricky Rich, Boss B, and I’ve recently been exposed to outside talents like Christina Marie, KC Young Bone, Quavius Black, Davante Liv3, Josh Waters, and whoever else want to work! Straight like dat!
What was it that lead you to start doing music?
It was my interest in the creativity behind the final product. My pops used to always play the joints that we all grew to love, Rick James, The Temptations, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Prince, Luther Vandross … you know, the joints that are still being played today. I wanted to grow to create music or things that would be here for years and years after creation. My introduction to rap music came with me moving back to Jackson and listening to the radio, being exposed to it and finally being able to look at what it was that I was already doing, writing poetry, in the form of music, that knowledge made me want to figure it out.
Who are some of the artists who inspired you and how do you feel it reflects in your music?
Inspirations would be drawn from in my opinion Ludacris, Nate Dogg, Bun B, David Banner, Twista, Will Smith, and Z-Ro. I feel like it reflects in my music through my thought process and delivery. Those artists all brought different elements to music, Nate and Ro the harmonies, hooks, and content, Luda and Will Smith the creativity and fun, Banner and Twista the energy, and Bun B was the first person that I ever heard rap with a tone and voice like mine and well … he a legend! What you mean? Lol.
More than anything what do you feel separates your music from most other artists?
I feel like what separates me from other artists is my want and will to stay in my own lane … to create my own. Especially in a time where it’s cool to try to recreate what’s already hot so that you can gain that exposure and be seen, I think my thought process and what I put into my music is what separates me. When you put more than just a little into it, I think people can really tell and relate. They are drawn to you because you really care about being you.
You’re in the midst of pushing what I feel may be your best record in “Wait For It”. Can you tell us about how that one came together?
So I’m scrolling through my SnapChat feed and I see my producer, AVEVO, post a short video of this beat … and even through the Snap, this joint is JAMMIN! At the time, me and him was texting back and forth already, but when I saw the Snap, I ain’t go to the text thread, I DM’d him on snap like, yo, I need this, I’ll pay you for it, I’ll do whatever, but I need this beat! And he laughed it off, sent it to me anyway, and soon as I got it, I went to work. I wrote the whole record that day, and that speaks to how it moved me to create becaue I usually space out my creative process to not solely be creating off of the initial feeling. Wrote it, got to the studio, knocked it out, and the rest is history. That’s how it came together.
I found the elements of your vocals being reversed in the beginning to be very cool. Who thought of doing that?
I was something I heard at the beginning and placed it during the first mixing session. Me and AVEVO recorded this joint, so while I’m rapping he records it in for me, and if he wasn’t there when I went back for retouches, I’ll do all the work myself, but the very first session I placed it there and it stuck.
The video is now out as well. What is it like recording with Camden because his videos always seem to hold a certain energy level, this one included.
Camden is a very visual person. I enjoyed working with him because it wasn’t like he was waiting on me to give him the ideas, all I had to do was drop him in the location and his mind, hearing the song, and seeing where we were did the rest. We both hold this project high because to both of us it’s some of the best work we’ve done if not the best work. I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity to work with him and it’s undoubtedly going to be more Camden x Dolla Black projects in the future.
I told you I feel this may be one of your strongest songs, but in your own opinion is there one in particular you feel is your best to date?.
I feel like Wait For It is definitely my strongest to date … it’s probably my overall best song from top to bottom of its sort. When I think of best song I think of effectiveness, and I haven’t created anything at this time that has surpassed All Day, so you know, in my mind, All Day is my best song, but outside of that one for those achievement reasons, yeah, this is definitely the one!
You also have the joint project coming with Savvy in the near future. What details can we get about that whole process?
Black Crown has definitely been an experience working with Savvy and having the “iron sharpens iron” saying come to life. We’ve been able to collectively come up with some interesting concepts and songs, and I think it’s, so far, a thorough project. We’re still not quite completely finished with it because between me, engineer and artist of Crown Me, Supa, and Savvy, we can’t seem to put a seal on it. One moment it’s finished and the next moment we not satisfied, but I can assure you it’s coming to a close real soon!
What type of sound is to be expected?
I can’t really label the sound … I can just say it may be refreshing to hear me and Savv in group formats seeing as both of us started and gained our names in groups. It’s definitely a vibe though. It didn’t take long at all for us to find that vibe.
Will there be any features to look for on that? Is there a projected release date?
Yeah it’s two, maybe three features on the project. Good features at that. But that’s all I’ll give you on the feature tip! They’ll have to see when they download the project and give it a listen to see who we bring along. And as of right now, it’ll probably be end of second quarter or top of the third quarter. So maybe end of May or the beginning or the middle of June. We’ll see. I’ll definitely keep you posted though.
Outside of that what else can people look forward to from you in the near future?
I got a couple of joints that I’m brewing at the moment … I’m still critiquing a couple songs that I want to release and I also have a couple project ideas that I may give to the people that signed up for the website on the strength, then I have 3 other ideas that I may save for releases. So as of right now just more music, more supporting visuals, and I’m working on more shows so the people can get used to hearing my name again … seeing my face and refamiliarizing themselves with the brand that is Dolla Black and Black Dolla Entertainment.
You’re fresh off a birthday, congrats on that. Do you have any particular goals over the course of this next year that you want to achieve?
Thanks bro! Another year, another blessing, and another opportunity to get it right. Over the course of the year I just wanna get better man. I took time off to really make sure that I got my life in order and now I’m working on getting back into the swing of being Dolla Black, so health and creativity is what I wanna get more of in this year. Focusing on self which in turn gives me more to help people.
As someone who has been grinding a while what advise would you give to any aspiring artists just getting their start?
I’d tell aspiring artists to CREATE opportunities … take advantage of the opportunities that are avaialbe to you as best as you can, but when you feel those opportunities becoming redundant or feel as though they aren’t good enough, create. Network and create. Because you never know who you can meet that’s willing to help you build or give you a perspective that enables you to gain more than what you have. And last but definitely not least, LEARN THE BUSINESS! Often times we allow ourselves to fail because we don’t know the business of music. And the business of music is more than getting paid for features or shows … it’s A LOT deeper than that.
Any last words before we conclude?
No doubt, first off thank you for taking the time man. Any time someone takes time and offer it to me, the least I can do is say thank you, because time is the one element in life that we can’t get back. To anybody who wants to work, network, whatever, reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter: @DollaBlackBDE or on Facebook: Dolla Black BDE. Check out the new single on SoundCloud titled Wait For It and like the page and do the same for the visual on YouTube. Search Dolla Black BDE on both OR you can take the short cut and log in to http://www.DollaBlackBDE.com and get everything I just told you in one place. Your choice!