I should have written this article days after this event but I didn’t. Some may call it pure laziness but I have to call it something else.
The night of August 25th meant something to me.
In my previous article, I chronicled how D-Why and I had met and his rise leading up to the release of his mixtape Don’t Flatter Yourself.[1. It's good. You're crazy if you don't give it a listen. It's not your average hip-hop either. D does whatever he wants on the project and he does it well.] Now from those beginnings, imagine you’re on your way to meet this guy who’s blowing up nationwide. You would expect a certain change to take place once the notoriety begins. D had agreed to do an interview with me on Twitter but I got no response to my phone call the day of the show. Figuring he was just extremely busy, I assumed the interview wasn’t going to happen. Nevertheless, I packed my old school tape recorder with me in search of quotes from showgoers, figuring I could piece together a nice show review.
I parked in the Chestnut Street garage because I didn’t feel like running to a meter all night. As I rounded the corner to 123 Pleasant Street, I noticed a small line had formed. I didn’t think much of it, expecting most of the crowd to file in closer to D’s 10:30 stage time.
What I found a very generous crowd that had already gathered around the stage and that’s excluding the people at the bars and milling around the building.
This was the biggest crowd I had seen in 123 for a local hip-hop show in about 6 years.
I immediately ran into my friend (and Nerd Fresh partner-in-rhyme) Chris “CFX” Flynn and his friend Alisa Griffin near the entrance. I was surprised to see that he wasn’t drinking yet, as he’s always quick to grab a drink when a party is about to go down.
“Not yet. After the show…once everything is handled.”
I then brought out the trusty tape recorder and rattled off a few questions at him.
“Myself and Jameson “Holt Dizzee” put this show together when D decided he wanted to come through town. There was really no discussion about the venue because I knew 123 would be the least hassle money wise. It’s locals only normally. To be honest, in the future, we probably won’t be at 123 just because it doesn’t really have the capacity. But this one is for the homies, that’s why we came through 123.”
“He’s [D-Why] just grown all-around. When we first met the guy, he was a little much. But in turn, what’s crazy is it’s evidence of his drive. When I first met the guy, all he wanted to do was talk rap. He just wanted to rhyme and that was it. To this day, he’s made it where he’s at because he eats and breathes it. That’s his work ethic.”
I made my way to the bar and ordered myself a Red Bull, determined to stay sober since I was working. As the opening act of Dinosaur Burps (B Rude and DJ Sqweazle of Charleston, WV) were going through their sound check, I pulled aside Bryce Johnson who was next to the stage.
“I’ve been a fan of D-Why’s since he came out with “License To Chill” and ever since then I’ve been hooked. I’ve listened to Don’t Flatter Yourself many times. I like “Ballad Of An Asshole”, “Hawaii” is good. Slowing down a little bit, “The Reprise” is a beautiful song. Those are my favorites.”
When I asked him how it felt to be on the D-Why bandwagon early, he responded: “It feels good. I got introduced by a friend and then I found out D-Why went to my high school which was GW [George Washington High School]. And then he went to WVU and graduated and all that camaraderie is what got me hooked to him.”
His friend Jordan Bailey chimed in, “I like “2000 Miles”.
After heading to the bar to get another Red Bull, Dinosuar Burps’ set began. With Sqweazle on the decks and Rude with mic, they had no trouble winning over the crowd that was there to see the main attraction. They ran through songs from their newest release, Mother Nature Wants You Dead as well as some favorites from the Rabble Rousers album, Tastes Like Crazy. At one point, they pulled a kid from the crowd who spit a dope 2 minute rap. After their set, I caught up with Rude outside.
Do you remember D-Why when he first started?
B Rude: It was sometime in Charleston, he was running around with the graf kids and the skateboarders.
From the little graf kid until now, what would you say most amazes you about what he’s done so far?
BR: I’m just glad he’s doing his thing, likes what he does. Do what you do, when you do when you’re doing it, you know?
After making sure to tell me how cool everyone was when they performed at Warped Tour, I pulled aside Nathan “N8″ Wolfe.
I’ve known N8 for as long as I’ve been apart of the West Virginia hip-hop scene but mostly through message boards. I had only met him maybe twice before this and I was surprised to see him at a D-Why show of all places. But the guy treated me like we were old friends. We bullshitted during sound check and he introduced me to his wife. And we were moshing with the kids during Dinosaur Burps set. No one can ever call N8 dull.
What brings you all the way from Clarksburg tonight?
N8: I just came to show my support to B Rude and D-Why. This is important to me.
When was the first time you remember meeting D-Why?
N8: D-Why was hanging out in front of PJ Kelly’s. He was too young to get in the club and he and his little brother Matt were waiting outside. And Holt Dizzee came in the club and was like, “There’s some kids that wanna meet you.” So I went outside and D-Why is out there and he’s rapping one of my songs to me. “This is when I come and get ya bags and go/better grab ya coat before I grab ya throat…” He knew all the words to it and was like, “Man that’s really cool, you know my shit. That’s cool, nice to meet you guys, good to see you.” And a couple weeks later, he comes over to my house with Jamie Holt, and ever since then I’ve always looked at him as part of the scene growing up. We were apart of a hip-hop community that I followed. And it was very important to see somebody from that…I think he’s gonna blow up real big.
BR: Ditto. From B Rude.
N8: Just showing my respect. To the people who showed their respect, earned their respect and I fight for the kid.
Before Dinosaur Burps took the stage, I ran into Timothy “TD” Williams by the downstairs bar. I’ve known TD for a few years now but it wasn’t until the last year or so that we really became friends. He’s close with Marcus D’ Tray, one of the lead producers of DFY.
I didn’t shove my recorder in his face but he shared some stories about D’s recording process, esssentially saying how he would leap from playing guitar (he’s teaching himself), to singing a hook behind someone who’s working on an entirely different song, to asking someone to listen to his latest song idea.
“But when you get him focused, he’s locked in,” he said. “He’s incredibly talented.”
He also shared a story of when D-Why was recording “One Day After 2 Chainz”, his freestyle over 2 Chainz’ “Birthday Song” track.
“DFY was in its final mixing stages and D begged his engineer to record his new freestyle. After convincing him, D was going in and out of booth and talking to everyone in the room and then, BOOM!, slamming the door and going back in the booth. And he kept doing it. Next thing we know, it’s getting later and there are neighbors, and D’s engineer says ‘Stop slamming the door!’ and D nods and slams the door again. The door flies open again and D’s saying something and then his engineer tells him again about the door. He looks back at him, gets this look on his face and then BOOM!, slams it again. And then he finished the song in the next take.”