Dre Da Realist is an up and coming rapper based in St. Petersburg, FL. Focusing on crafting meaningful lyrics, Dre is well on his way to reminding the masses that rappers are masterful wordsmiths. I got the chance to sit down with him and listen. Listen to how he mixes old and new, listen to his aspirations and listen to what impassions him.
How did you first get into music?
I first got into music when doing a project in 8th grade. My teacher encouraged my boy and I to rap. We were kinda playing around, but taking it seriously too. From there I really got into it around 2012, and started doing shows and interviews. Now I’m getting back into it, promoting and everything.
I bet your teacher would be glad to hear that. So, do you write outside of music?
I’ve always wrote well. Academically, scoring high and writing quickly. I’m also working on a book of poetry.
Now that’s interesting. Tell me about that.
It’s a collection of about 50-100 poems about real life, eye-opening situations. Dealing with people, motives, signs. We really have to analyze the way people have impacted our lives, good or bad. They’re in it for a reason, so we have to learn from those interactions.
I wrote a poem in high school to a female I was talking to and then put some others on Facebook. People reacted well and that’s how I knew I had a talent for writing, not just rapping. People really connect with me through my poetry because they get to see deeper into my mind.
That’s amazing. Rap is often likened to poetry. So, what finally drove you to pursue music?
When I saw the effect music had on people, with their emotions and everything. That’s not a gift everyone has and when I saw I had that gift, I knew I had to keep going. I’m expressing myself, listening back to my tracks as if I’m not the person who made it, so I can get that outside perspective.
What style of music do you prefer to listen to?
Hip hop and R&B. Any music really where people are talking about life, with a message. I don’t really like meaningless music that’s just made to sound good.
What style do you like to create?
Hip Hop, but more about feelings. I also do inspirational songs, giving positive outlooks on situations I’ve gotten through. Sometimes people don’t see different perspectives until they hear others speak on similar situations which they can apply to their own.
Yeah sometimes hearing it from someone else is what we need. What is your musical process in that goal?
It depends, sometimes I write a poem first, or sometimes I hear an instrumental and write to that. People ask how my raps go exactly with the beat, I wrote it that way. However, I’m really precise in my writing. Going back and sometimes just changing one word, just perfecting it.
Who are some of your musical influences?
My biggest musical influence is Tupac. He was outspoken, motivational but he never portrayed himself as one thing, people change. I’ve had the name Dre Da Realist a long time. People told me all the time I was the realist person they’ve met. It was a name everyone embraced. I tell the people how I feel because someone out there needs to hear it. Too many people sugarcoat and that’s not going to get anywhere.
How do you infuse your personal style with your influences?
It comes naturally, I’m compare to a lot of rappers I look up to or listen to (Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Big Sean, J. Cole). When I listen, my mind studies and I don’t forget. From my song Legends Will Survive “I was bumping Pac and Biggy absorbing all the talent.” It’s not about mimicking, it’s merging what speaks to me and creating my own style from there.
We’re used to hearing songs where they’re singing or rapping to the beat but artists like you and Big Sean have the track going on, but are doing something completely different with the lyrics. How do you know when the flow is right?
Some songs I flow where it goes to the beat and I want people to bop. But, when I want to get to where I want to just say everything I need to say, sometimes I speed it up or slow down, but still never lose the rhythm.
It’s so interesting to hear your remixes to 90s rap. The mix of classic tracks with modern flow is kind of shocking yet refreshing. Why do you choose that route instead of sticking to more modern instrumentals?
Every now and then I like to bring back the classics. I do new and old. People who remember the classics will remember those songs, hear my lyrics and know that meaningful lyrics are still being created. Lyrics like that really started rap and I can’t ever let that be forgotten. Tupac said there would be a day when people listened to a beat more than the importance of lyrics.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on an album. I have to record a track tonight actually. The album is featuring some serious artists who are putting their hearts into their music. I’ve got some shirts and CDs coming out and everything will be found on my social media. Next month I’ll drop the music video for my next single “Young Star.” I’m in the process of recording right now.
Of course, I’m following you everywhere. What gets you hype about performing? Seeing you in a conversational setting, you’re the chilliest person I’ve ever met. But when you’re performing and on video like with your ZEZE Challenge, it’s like a completely different person.
Once the song starts playing and people get into it and get out of their seats, I lock in. It doesn’t matter how old the song is, I feel just the way I felt when I wrote it. It’s going to be over soon so I go out there and I’m passionate. I say everything I need to say. But really, it’s the people that get me hype. I want the impact on them to be bigger and better every time.
Follow Dre Da Realist on his social media pages for all updates!
Facebook: dre mells
Youtube: Dre Da Realist