I will have known D-Why for 7 years this September or October. I met him one cold night when we were handing out flyers for a local show in Morgantown. I can’t recall who introduced us but I do recall one thing:
The kid would not shut up.
Considering he was 17 years old at the time and had just started his freshman year at West Virginia University, you could understand that he was a little immature. In between our promoting duties we had a few conversations: how his favorite rapper was Meuwl from Charleston, about graffiti, and mostly how he planned on being one of the greatest rappers ever.
Now, being a rapper, you hear this from most everyone who wants to be a rapper. So I dismissed it. Shit, at the time, I thought I was still gonna be one of the greatest rappers ever. I did come away thinking that he a good kid that would go far in whatever he did.
From that initial meeting, D (real name David Morris) went on to co-found a local label named Ill League Entertainment. He released the project The Wake Up Call with Profit Money in 2007. He was constantly recording and honing his craft. And every chance he got, he made sure he told everyone his name was D-Why and that he was a rapper.
By 2008, D-Why released his first mixtape, a fun project entitled Big Man On Campus. While the mixtape did well in Morgantown and Charleston, D quickly realized that he wanted a bigger scope for his music. The project also displayed remarkable growth for someone who had just started rhyming 4 years earlier. He was one of the first rappers in West Virginia to shoot their own music videos and this was in a time when it still wasn’t that easy to grab a camera and put yourself on YouTube.
Then, there was a hiatus. The Big Man On Campus mixtape was taken off the internet as well as its videos. A song or 2 came out but no new projects were announced. D-Why moved to Brooklyn, NY following his graduation from WVU. And for awhile, it seemed that he had moved on from his rap aspirations.
Then 2 years ago, freestyles started dropping. 3 in fact over some of the hottest beats in rap at the time. Then the DJ Black Magic & Marcus D’ Tray produced “Mr. Right Now” was released. While still displaying the trademarks D-Why had early in his career, it showed a maturity…a direction. Very few outside of the inner circle knew what was coming next.
“License To Chill” was released to YouTube and D seemed to step from inside the West Virginia box to the national scale. Produced by Johnny Juliano and directed by Puma, the video shows D-Why and some ladies running wild all over the big city. And while the visuals are great, the song has always sounded huge to me. A statement. A warning.
The next few months provided the songs “Party Girl”, “Runaway (Remix)”, “Devil Horns To All” (better known originally as “The Black & Yellow Freestyle”), “Animal”, “Hello (Remix)”, “Till The World Ends (Remix)”, and “KING DAVID”.[1. You might have to Google a few of those but you shouldn't have any trouble finding them. I wouldn't call this the rise of D-Why if you couldn't find his music on the first page.] And just when you thought D was carving out a nice niche for himself, he took another leap with the release of “Shooter McGavin”.
Borrowing Childish Gambino’s “Freaks & Geeks” instrumental, D-Why unleashed a verbal onslaught that officially put his name on the map. Music blogs all over the web began featuring him, interviews were being requested, and suddenly, D was splitting his time between New York and California on a regular basis. Things were happening.
Fast forward to today, almost one week after his free debut album Don’t Flatter Yourself was released.[2. The link was posted at 5 PM PST last Wednesday. The site crashed in less than an hour.] Featuring production from Boi-1da (“Best I Ever Had”), Hit-Boy (“Niggas In Paris”), Dot Da Genius (“Day N Nite”), there’s no way you can call this a normal debut album. And to accompany the release, D-Why dropped not just a video but a SHORT FILM.
“New York Times” already has 30,000+ views since last Sunday.
D isn’t just a rapper on the verge of success now. He’s an artist on the verge of stardom. I still can’t believe this is the same kid I met in 2005. He’s exceeded mine and everyone’s expectations. Mainly because I don’t think he ever set a ceiling for himself.
D-Why has a show at 123 Pleasant Street this Saturday August 25 in Morgantown. He hasn’t played Pleasant Street in at least 4 or 5 years and the last time he did, it was a standard crowd for a local act. The plan is to link up with D on Saturday for an interview and then take in the show as a fan. I’m planning some follow up articles with the interview and show recap and eventually a DFY review. But I have a feeling that the crowd will not be small Saturday. In fact, I don’t think anyone should accuse David Morris of doing anything small again.
And I didn’t even mention “Macchiatto Music”. You know, that video he shot in Paris and had premiered on MTVU?
Like I said, no limits.