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HeatCasters Exclusive Interview w/ Die-Rek: One Bar At A Time by Imade
Fresh of the brand new release of his critically acclaimed EP “Butta Breath, the homie Die-Rek talks with HeatCasters contributor Imade for an exclusive interview.
Die-Rek Interview: One Bar At A Time By Imade
Die-Rek is an artist who patiently studied Hip Hop culture and ultimately its Creator. Die-Rek’s slow and steady approach paid off in the buzz that followed 2009’s Die-Versity The Mixtape and 2011’s The Die-Version Project and Beat Die-A-Logue. The Toronto emcee and producer has shared stages with indie rap’s finest, from Oddisee to theBreax. With the release of Butta Breath, Die-Rek bridges the gap between Hip Hop’s past and future, one bar at a time.
Die-Rek has the posture of a big brother breaking down age old truths about manhood and music. This sense of wisdom is shown in his production that intrinsically reflects Hip Hop’s golden era. Nostalgic scratch driven songs like “The Word” capture a moment in time where integrity and self-respect meant more than hit records. “I think it’s just in me. I don’t try to sound that way, it just comes out like that. Sometimes, I think it’s because of where I ended off.” Where Die-Rek “ended off” is also where he began. “From 1999-2001 a transitional process started in my life. I got rid of all the hip hop tapes I had, records, even my own personal material. For the next few years I was just reading books, the Bible and doing anything that would help draw me nearer to God. When I got the go ahead to start doing music again in 2005, I just took off from where I left.”
When Die-Rek picks up the mic, his gritty tone evokes charming, rough-edged pioneers like Rakim or Big Daddy Kane. However, if you look beneath the surface, Die-Rek’s inspirations extend much farther than his male counterparts. “Having female [rap] influences kept me balanced and taught me not to be one-sided with my message, that is, just speaking from a male’s perspective.” Die-Rek channeled his compassionate view of women in Butta Breath’s leading song, “Sheila”. Though he discusses the plight of women, Die-Rek doesn’t mask their voice. In a world where female emcees are almost required to have a male co-sign, Die-Rek views his collaborative work with ChrisJay as a symbiotic endeavor. “ChrisJay brings the Light from a woman’s perspective and talks about issues from a woman’s point of view. It’s not so much a thing of developing her as an artist, we help develop each other.” This is shown in the ambient, electro-Hip Hop single, “Get Up”. Die-Rek, Jusachyl, and ChrisJay all share their relentless effort towards perfection.
Die-Rek’s ambition to fulfill his potential is not just shown in his music, but also in his life. Butta Breath marked a new level of commitment where Die-Rek chose his calling over comfort. “When I started Butta Breath I became a manager at a company I worked for, and as a result, I started investing a lot of time into my role there. I realized I made a lot of money for people and put myself out there continually for a cause I wasn’t really passionate about. Doing all this and sitting on a bag of musical skills bothered me. It caused me to write down my feelings and really take a look at people around me. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Almost every young person I know has or is in the process of starting their own business of some sort.” In typical Die-Rek fashion, his retrospection is as clear as his vision for the future. “I find that our generation is full of dreamers. That’s why I salute the older generation so much, because I think that a lot of them laid down their dreams so that we can live ours…so that’s Butta Breath. It’s about real people, real issues, and real life.”
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