Speaking to DVS ahead of the launch of his new mixtape ‘One In A Billion’, you could sense the calm coolness of a man that knows he is about to do something big. November 11th marked a big day on the calendar of the UK’s urban scene, as DVS released his follow up to his 2005 debut, ‘One In A Million’.
This new project is set to quench the appetite of fans who were left wanting more from the South London rapper, after he released what was labelled a ‘classic’ by Mixtape Madness. Ever since then, DVS fans have had to make do with his infrequent releases of freestyles and tracks. Check out what DVS had to say about all things music, just before ‘One In A Billion’ was released.
The first thing I like to ask all artists is why do you make music? There are a whole host of reasons; some do it for money, others to put out a message, what is your reason?
To put it simply I feel like it’s the best way I to express myself.
What’s your first musical memory?
Rapping with all my friends on the wing in prison when I was young.
Do you remember your first lyric?
Nah I don’t you know I lost that book when I came out of prison. I’m quite pissed, I had a book of like 30 rhymes, it was my first rhyme book and I lost it.
So after you got out of prison you took your talents to the studio, when was that and what was it like?
First time I went studio was like 03 and we went to Logic’s. We used to go to his house because he had a little studio in there so my friends and me would just go there in Myatts Field.
Whilst you’re known for have real and gritty lyrics you can also be quite braggadocious and often infuse your lyrics with swagger, where does this come from?
That’s just me innit. Everything that’s in my lyrics or that you pick up is me. I only spit about my life and that of my peers.
So who are your musical influences?
The same old thing you know, the 90s era of hip hop. Your Tupacs, Biggies, Method Man, Ghost Face Killah you know.
So looking at your style and your musical influences which established artist are you most like then?
Which established artist? I don’t know but I don’t try and be like anyone because I think everyone is different.
Your lyrics are quite gritty and real and you said you live everything you rap about so what do you say to people that say that you are too real to go mainstream? Would you compromise to cross over?
When you say gritty how do you mean gritty?
Well, not everyone will be able to relate to the things you’ve seen or been through?
Yeah I understand that so I just have to show how versatile I am. I’ve had this in mind and you’ll be able to see from some of the tracks on the mixtape as well as the songs I release after the mixtape. I’ve got so much new work and even after the mixtape I will be releasing stuff that everyone from different walks of life will be able to relate to. It doesn’t always have to be grime and ghetto and pain stuff that not everyone will understand.
I’ve also noticed that in your music you express your faith quite strongly how important to you is that especially in terms of your music?
This what is tricky because you have to remember music is haram (forbidden), it’s not even allowed but whenever I say something on a track to do with the deen it’s what I’m going through, it’s my experience. I can’t say something or say I’m going to do something with out saying Insh’Allah (God willing). Maybe I should leave Islam out of the tracks I dunno.
Personally I like them, songs like Akhi 2 Akhi even if your Muslim or not people can relate to the sentiment of the track.
One In A Million opened a lot of people’s eyes to you ability, what was your mind frame when you released that?
You have to remember rap wasn’t really out at those times, it was more Grime. Also there wasn’t Facebook and Twitter like there is today, it was strictly road hype and buzz, DVDs like Streets Incarcerated, so my mind frame was to build that buzz but also I was just having fun.
Well now you have released ‘One In A Billion’, how do you think you have grown since One In A Million?
You just have to hear for yourself. The people will be able to judge and tell for themselves.
You decided to give One In A Billion away for free, why?
A lot of people want this mixtape but I thought why not just give my fans some thing? Its been a long time since I released a project, since 2005, so I might as well give my fans something proper and for free. But the rest of the stuff you’re going to have to pay for!
So what can we expect from One In A Billion, who have you got on there?
I’ve got loads of features, its a good mixtape!
So what has your recording process like, do you find it easy to come up with songs?
Well for the last month or so I’ve been getting in the both like every other day. I’ve never worked so hard on music in my whole life. I like to just be in the studio and lay the tracks but the hard part is finding a beat, finding good producers in England is very hard but a lot of people have been sending me beats and I’ve worked with some good producer for this.
To finish here is a hard one, if you were to make a perfect song who would feature on it?
Perfect song!? That’s a hard one. Erm, Adele… I’d probably get the stars from the 90s and a few from this day and age but from England because I feel like we’ve got the best talent at the present moment in time.
Interview by Chudi Onwuazor
Photography by Verena Stefanie Grotto