Drique London may be Raleigh, NC’s newest rapper to grace the scene, but his latest album, Sound of The Rising Sun boasts the lyrical content and the production ability of a veteran MC. The album’s second single, “Laybach“, featuring Carrington, ushered in positive reviews around the net, piquing the interest of avid hip-hop listeners. Drique recently gave RESPECT. a stellar interview in which he describes the roots of his NY musical vibe, his label, D.O.C., and the concept behind his latest album. Read the interview and stream his new album below.
RESPECT.: You’re from Raleigh, NC but your music has that New York hip-hop vibe. Where did that influence come from?
DL: “That’s amazing you said that! New York is in my blood. That’s where all my family is from. My grandma and grandfather are originally from North Carolina and they moved to New York and had their kids. My mother, father, aunts, uncles, older cousins, brothers, sisters are all from New York. I also lived in New York for a while, all the way up until I was in middle school then I moved back to North Carolina. So, New York really influenced me; from the way I dress, to the way I talk the way I move, the way I walk and my sound of music. All that is game that I soaked up living in New York.”
RESPECT.: It’s often difficult for artists to mesh compelling wordplay with quality production. You’ve managed to do that. How do you find that balance?
DL: “It’s really just the perfectionist in me. I just feel like everything you do has to match up. The beat has to match the verse, the verse has to match the artwork, the artwork has to match the visual, the visual has to match the performance. Everything has to make sense and I also been working with the same producers since I started recording professionally. You know, U’ nique Music and Majestic I haven’t left them. They been making my beats since ’05, so it’s easy for us to find that balance when we know what we want.”
RESPECT.: Tell us when you first discovered that music was something you definitely wanted to pursue as a career.
DL: “Music has been in my life forever. My mom was a music manager. I had uncles that were in bands and played instruments. I have cousins who rapped and had labels and production companies. It was something I was always fascinated by. I vividly remember us living in the projects when I was younger. It was like ’95 or ’96 and I saw the “Gin and Juice” music video from Snoop Dogg and from there I knew I wanted to be like him. Then Lil Wayne came out and I wanted be Wayne! It was amazing! And I always rapped around the house and all that. But it wasn’t really until I was about 15 and I noticed that I was good and realized this joint could work. From there, I knew that this was really what I wanted to do. I always dibbled and dabbled with it, but it was time to take this music thing serious.”
RESPECT.: You have a label D.O.C. that stands for Dreams of Children. Explain the name, it’s mission, and where you see the label in the future.
DL: “D.O.C stands for Dreams Of Children and it was something my partner Majestic and I started in 2009. I remember sitting there and I hit him up saying that I need a new name. I wanted to rebrand myself. I had changed my name to Drique London a year prior and I was putting out mixtapes. I just needed to regroup, so he came up with the name and we ran with it! The mission for D.O.C. is just us living out our childhood dreams. All of the guys I was around in this neighborhood called Wynslow Park Apartments back in Raleigh, I just wanted to put us all together and put our visions together. I wanted to make something happen! I wanted to put together all our dreams that we had since kids and make positive music. A lot of us don’t smoke or drink or gang bang or stuff like that. It’s just a collective of people that’s real passionate in their dreams and I eventually want to branch off into film and clothing. Maybe a youth center as well. I have so many dreams in D.O.C! It’s possible. It can happen”.
RESPECT.: What do you think sets you apart from other artists in the rap game right now and would you consider yourself to fit within the “Leaders of the New School” category?
DL: “Right now, I feel I fit pretty well. Music is in a good place. You got some real spitters out here. People who’s really taking their time with their craft and making some quality music. I wasn’t concerning myself with the leaders of the new school. I’m just making good music and giving them my story. What separates me is the honesty in it, the passion, and I take my time perfecting my craft making sure everything is great. I feel like that’s what set me apart from cats now. The heart, passion, and soul is not in the music anymore.”
RESPECT.: You received a lot of support for your recent single, “Laybach,” which is featured on your upcoming album Sound of the Rising Sun. What can we expect from this new album?
DL: “Yea, “Laybach” did amazing! I was just talking to my homies about that. With all that was going on in Baltimore man, I didn’t even wanna drop it, but me and my friends just needed some excitement. We were looking at the news like ‘again?’, and I just needed something to get my mind off it for a second. So I just put it out and it did great! It’s the second single off of Sound Of The Rising Sun. That record wasn’t even going to make the project. I ran over to Carrington’s studio and we knocked that song out in like 6 hours before I had to turn it in to get mixed and mastered. With “Laybach” and the rest of the records on the album, you can expect growth and maturity. It’s just good music! I feel in my heart that this is some of my best work to date.”
RESPECT.: What inspired the title, Sound of the Rising Sun and what’s the concept?
DL: “Sound Of The Rising Sun is my breakout project, if you wanna call it that. Me and Majestic decided that it was time for a full length project. We started it in 2012 but I didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be lyrically and mentally. So we took some time and went through a few titles and we came up with Sound Of The Rising Sun. The album name pretty much represents the sound of my mother’s rising child. You know when my mom’s passed in 2010, I was in and out of music. I was doing shows and events, but I really didn’t know who I was personally or professionally. I had to find myself, so I finally feel like I’m at that point now where I feel I found that sound and it’s time for me to rise! It’s time for my mother’s son to rise. My mother always called me her ‘sun’ because she said I was hot headed and irritating growing up. (Laughs) Another way you can look at it is every time the sun rises it’s a new day and a new start to make something happen, and with all I accomplished and with all my freshman mistakes, this is my second chance to make something out of it.”
RESPECT.: Who are some producers you worked with on this new album and what collaborations would you would like to see happen in near future? It can be with producers or artists.
DL: “Production wise, like I said, I have been working with the same guys forever. So Majestic is guiding like 90% and U’nique has the other 10%. So everything is in home. As far as features, we have Carlitta Durand, LIKE (of PacDiv), Fresh Daily, Donovan McCray, and Carrington on majority of the records. These are people I look up to and are my family and my friends. Every feature and production had to make sense on this project. My brother Mic Geniuz A&R’d the project and worked with me creatively. I kept a good team around me. I want to work with India Arie, Musiq SoulChild, Wale, DMX possibly, Black Milk, Illmind. I even want to work with Nick Jonas. As weird as that sounds, it’s just a lot of singers and thinkers I wanna lock in with that I know will make some dope music.”
RESPECT.: JAY Z once said, “We hustle out of a sense of hopelessness and desperation.” With that concept, what motivates you to keep going?
DL: “My mother, my area, my state, you know? I don’t have any plans. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’m in the process of getting my GED now and I don’t know what I wanna do with my life but music. I just know I will not be content with anything in life if I don’t do music. I come from a family who never accomplished their dreams. Well, yes they got the college degrees, settled down and had families but nobody ever really lived out their dreams. I feel like it’s in my hands to break that generational curse that I feel we have on us. I want my nephew and my little cousins and one day when I have kids to look at me and know that they can chase their dreams no matter what anyone says. They don’t have to just settle. Just looking at my family and when I ride in my Buick through my city of Raleigh, it just hungers me to keep going because I know it’s more out there for me, for us!”
RESPECT.: On “Celebrate” featuring Carlitta Durand, you mentioned being recognized by Big Krit at a show. How important is it for you to continue to celebrate the small victories?
DL: “KRIT is the most humble artist I ever met. I am grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to build with him early on in his career. It is truly important to celebrate the small things because at any second it could be taking away from you. In all reality this is the best time right now! The come up and the grind is the most fun cause your building stories and you’re learning a lot from your mistakes and all that you do. So if it’s something as small as someone mentioning my name on Twitter, I celebrate it. People don’t have to pay attention to you. The fact that people are paying attention and I’m able to perform, do radio interviews, do magazine interviews, and even blog interviews is amazing to me it’s a blessing so I celebrate it.”
RESPECT.: “Breach” seems to be a personal song. Delve a little bit more into the meaning of that particular track.
DL: “Breach” had to be the most personal track on the album. I touched a apart of me that I didn’t even think I could touch during the process of recording this album. I was going through alot. I was in a real dark place. It seemed like so much stuff was happening to me and writing “Breach” really got me through it. During the the flow of the album, I just wanted to take a second and get it off my chest and let everyone know what’s going on. Just build a gap between the records, it came out really cool, I got my homie Ace Henderson on the guest vocals and the track worked out. It seems to be a track that a lot of people can relate to. I was in New York at platinum sound studios doing a listening session and one homie took his jacket off and showed me his goose bumps from hearing the record and at that point I knew this was the one that can probably touch a lot of people.”
RESPECT.: Quality art takes time and patience and you’ve seemed to have taken your time on this particular album. In today’s microwave social media culture, how do you stay focused and patient with your craft with such a high demand to keep producing music at a fast pace?
DL: “Because I see longevity. I wanna be here forever! I don’t wanna come and go. I take my time. I don’t drop a video every day. I don’t drop a new single every week. A lot of those people who do that are not selling records, they’re not even going gold anymore. I wanna touch lives. I wanna heal people. 10 years from now I wanna be walking down the street and homies tell me “Yo your album got me through my freshmen year of collage” or “your song “Breach” made me realize I need to do better by my girl“. I want those things and with that, you have to take your time. You have to put that heart, passion, and soul in to your music I tell myself that everyday that’s how I stay on. That’s how I’m able to take breaks to get my mind right and come back with a strong record like I never left, because I’m taking my time and putting everything I have into what I do.”