Hot on the heels of my Q&A with Lex Rush, I’ve scored an interview with another Terp alumni, DK aka Wayne Watts.
Making a name for himself through his homegrown label, Evergreen Music, UMD Juke Joints, and more, the Baltimore native released projects to acclaim in the DMV region, even reaching the ears of the 2003 Billboard Hip-Hop Conference. After graduating, DK released a few other projects (including 2009’s 24, a collection of tracks revolving around his 24th birthday) before moving to Denver, Colorado to begin a new life–musically and otherwise. Personally, this interview was a big deal for me, since Wayne, as mentioned, is one of the artists who influenced me along the way musically.
Anyhow, before going through another trip down memory land, let’s get into it.
SOTB: What’s the inspiration behind the album?
DK: It’s based on the idea that every song is like a window. And every windows allows the person looking in or out to come up with their own perception on what they are seeing. Is the woman in the coffee shop crying or laughing? Is the old man yelling at the boy or excited to see him? So I kinda wanted to tackle this musically. I’m actually breaking up the project into four “Windows.” I.e, EPs. So the first Window is the Rearview window, and it focuses on the themes of reflection & reconnection vs regret & relapses.
DK: But, it’s cool, though. I think now I have been able to broaden my demographic. Because, at the end of the day, I want to be able to tell my real-life stories and have them connect to people. And the older I get, the more situations I’m able to discuss as my view out of the window changes. So, I have different takes on things now then I would at 20.
DK: It was dope because I was able to use what I was learning in my music! It taught me to think critically. So, I could take what my professors at Maryland–like Jo Paoletti, Jared Ball, or Solomon Comissiong–were teaching and incorporate it in my music.
|DJ K-Swift, Baltimore Club Legend|
DK: Man that hit hard. She was the Queen of the City–just about to be huge. Like, you see the DJ Dramas or DJ Khalids out here. And, I’ll be like “man, Swift would have been there.” (Ed. Note: Prior to K-Swift’s death in 2008, she had just inked a distribution deal with Koch Records.) So, it was a huge loss for not just the city, but the world, because she was taken from us right before her prime. And what’s crazy is that a lot of the EDM music has taken from stuff she started (Ed. Note: Elements of songs, such as the oft-heard, late-90s track Samir’s Theme, are still being interpolated into songs today, both at the B’more Club level and beyond).
But, being a Terp was huge for me. The Juke Joints provided all of us with a space to grow and develop. It taught us how to read an audience & how to articulate message in a way that moved the crowd. Aside from that, our network is DOPE (Ed. Note: This is true. The UMD network does have some pretty deep reach, considering artists such as Logic used to perform on Route One at the now-defunct Thirsty Turtle). And, we have alumni doing major things. So Jason Reynolds was THAT DUDE when I was a freshman, right? A few months ago, I was at a Barnes and Noble in Denver, and saw his newest book on the shelf. Like, that was huge to me!
DK: AYYY BALTIMORE!!! Hardly home but always repping.
(Ed. Note: DK’s Windows Theory is dropping soon. Be on the lookout for it.)