DYG, born Howard Derrick, has been doing music since the age of 14. Born in Jackson, MS , he prides himself on bucking the stigma of “southern artists not having lyrics”. His subjects range from the typical trappings of success, to self reflection, to everyday struggles people go through. He’s released multiple independent projects, opened for several artists including Plies, and is in the process of releasing his next project, Hennessy Weekends.
Where did your interest in writing and performing sprout from? I fell in love with music early on. My big sister had every cd you could imagine in those old flipbooks. I used to check them out like books from her. She had a good range so I got a taste of all types of hip-hop and r&b. Wrote my first song at 14 and went from there. I’ve always been good with words so this was natural for me. I actually respect the craft.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music professionally? When I was 16 I dropped my first mixtape, DYG: Da Young Great. It was crazy how many people showed loved and I realized that I was actually good. Nothing compared to the feeling of people listening to your music and saying they felt it. That’s when I knew and been chasing my dream on and off ever since.
Tell us about some of your recent works. What makes your music so unique? I think the big thing about me is my lyrics. They way I rap and the words and punchlines I use. They don’t expect it. They group all us southern artists in one category and it’s hard for people to see a guy from Jackson, Mississippi being an actual lyricist. I think my versatility makes me unique. I can make all type of songs for all types of people, depending on my mood. Gift and curse of being a Gemini I guess.
What was the recording process like for your most recent remix, 9PM in Houston? Well I had did a bunch of laid back “fun” songs so I look at rap like a competition. I used to be a battle rapper on the side and I’m competitive by nature so I look at every feature, every track, every verse and every word as an opportunity to STEAL a fan from somebody else. Drake killed that track with straight bars so I wanted to go for other people’s throats on it.
Who are some of your influences when it comes to writing and recording? Why? It’s crazy because my top 5 influenced my style. Jay-Z, Pac, Eminem, Nas, and T.I. Jay and Pac was the biggest influences. Jay’s style and slick lyrics and preparation for recording stuck with me. I have a real good memory and sometimes write verses in my head before I spit them back out. Pac gives me my anger and passion. Eminem is when I really want to just out rap somebody. Nas with the storytelling and T.I. with how he finesses the beat.
What is next for you in 2016? I feel like 2016 is going to be my year. I plan on dropping my mixtape “Hennessy Weekends” in late Sept or early October. I think it’s really gone estabilish my lane since I don’t think I sound like anyone else. I make smooth songs but at the end of the day I can still rap my ass off. Trying to grow and network and put myself in a position to really be heard. Chasing my dream full speed honestly.