Music, and art in general, and activism, have gone hand in hand with one another. Artists, perhaps since the beginning of time, have stood up for what they believe in or what they believe was right. This is one of the many reasons why people resonate with music at such a personal level. A quintessence of this phenomenon is Dee-1, one of the most popular artists in his hometown of New Orleans and the United States of America. However, even though he is well known in the USA, not many people know about him or know about him globally. This article is here to remedy that, so here are ten things you might not have known about Dee-1.
1. Early life
According to Earnest, Dee-1, whose real name is David Arnold Augustine Junior, was born in New Orleans on the 10th of April, 1989. His father is Bernita Augustine, and his father is David Augustine Senior. He attended a school called Audubon Montessori School but is today known as the Audubon Charter School, all through to 8th grade. According to Wikipedia, after Audubon Charter School, Dee-1 attended Ben Franklin High School, which is one of, if not the, most academically rigorous schools in Louisiana, let alone New Orleans. There, he was the star basketball player. He was also the homecoming king his senior year.
2. Religious background
Dee-1’s parents are stout Christians, and ever since he was a child, he has been a very religious person. His religious upbringing and beliefs have shaped who he is today and the music he has put out since starting his career. More on that later.
3. Early career
Dee-1 actually began rapping while he was in high school. In fact, he would go on to perform publically when he eventually attended the Louisiana State University. While in university, he took out some student loans to pay for his tuition and his upkeep. He graduated in 2008, and he immediately began to teach middle school math in Baton Rouge. While he was teaching, he was simultaneously making and releasing music. In 2008, the same year he graduated and started teaching, he put out three independent mixtapes; Still We Rise, I Am Who I Am, and Its Only Tha Beginning. After two years of teaching, he eventually resigned before the 2010 school year began and decided to focus fully on his music.
4. Music career
The first studio album Dee-1 made was called David and Goliath, and it was released on the 13th of April, 2009. The fans received the album positively, and he continued to build up his fan base. In August of the same year, he made a song that had a New Orleans-based theme, which features the trumpet player and fellow rapper Ty Ochsen. The song was titled ‘Bring Em to the Dome,’ and it was well-received in New Orleans, especially by Saints fans.
5. Rise to fame
His rise to fame can actually be traced back to when he made a song, and its subsequent video, called ‘Jay, 50 and Weezy’, in 2010. The single not only received nationwide attention but was also praised for the narrative-driven storytelling it encompassed and the audacity of calling out three of the biggest names in music and hip-hop specifically at the time. According to Facebook, Dee-1 has more than 321K Facebook Followers.
6. Mixtape releases
The same year he released the single, Dee-1 released his fourth mixtape called I Hope They Hear Me, Vol. 1. The mixtape received positive reviews and was a commercial success. Afterward, he would go on to release a 1.5 installment of the series. Later on, he released the I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2 mixtape, which features some heavy-hitting tracks and features, including the single Jay, 50, and Weezy. The project had a total of eighteen songs and included features from artists such as Mannie Fresh.
The following year, 2011, he would tour with some heavy-hitting names in the music industry, such as Killer Mike and Young Dro. He tours with other big artists, namely Macklemore, in The Heist Tour, Murs, in the Ridin’ All by Ourselves Tour, and Lecrae, in the Higher Learning Tour. While on tour with Lupe Fiasco, a Tetsuo Youth Tout tour in 2013, he formed a close relationship with Lupe. Dee-1 was also featured in 204’s BET Hip Hop Awards, alongside big acts like O.T Genesis, Logic, Lil Mama, and Detroit Che.
8. Further releases
Dee-1 would continue to build up his fan base, thus his popularity, with further music releases. He released an EP called ‘Be Real. Be Righteous. Be Relevant’, which peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums. Another release that propelled him into the limelight was ‘Against Us,’ a song that spoke up against society’s ills and highlighted the Hollywood industry’s afflictions. He also released the remix of the song and had Lupe Fiasco and Big K.R.I.T on it. The song earned him a segment on popular Hip Hop show Sway’s Universe, hosted by Sway Calloway. While on the show, he addressed many issues he had been dealing with, such as improving his personal life, strengthening his faith, and fighting the evils of the music industry.
9. Legal issues
In 2015, Dee-1 released a mixtape called Separated at Birth, which featured many production and sound akin to Lil Wayne’s. However, due to the lyrical content of the album, as well as backlash from Lil Wayne’s home label, Cash Money Records, the project was never, and has never, been released.
10. Sallie Mae Back
In 2016, Dee-1 released a hyper-energetic song titled ‘Sallie May Back,’ which celebrated him finally finishing paying off his student loans back. Doing so, paying back the loans required that he use part of the advance he got when he signed with a label, as well as his own budgeting. The song was a huge success. It led him to be featured on some of the biggest news channels, such as CNN, Forbes, Time Magazine, and ESPN. The Washington Post had a feature on it and actually called it the song of the generation. Due to the song’s success, Dee-1 would make guest appearances on shows like Fox’s The Real and ESPN’s His and Hers.