Interviewer: Fae Campbell
Interviewee: Dap the Contract
Date Interviewed: February 16, 2023
Edited By: Peyton Riegel
Link to Sound Cloud Audio: https://on.soundcloud.com/tUD2k
Fae: So who inspired you to start making music?
Dap the Contract: So I started making music when I was four years old. Actually, I'm originally a classical pianist. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and I come from a really musical family. My mum plays the piano, my sister is a full-time musician, so I've been playing classical piano since I was four. And when I was in high school, UK, bonus school in the UK, I fell in love with hip hop music and that's when I started producing and then a couple of years later started rapping and making all my own stuff. And I just kept it going since
then through college, through law school, and even as a full-time lawyer now.
Fae: So how do you keep your work life with your lawyer stuff and everything balanced with your music?
Dap the Contract: Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Thank you. It's difficult. It's really difficult to get that balance right. It's really difficult trying to strike a work-life balance, but I guess. One of the ways is just trying to use them in tandem with each other. Because I didn't get a law degree and want to practice as a lawyer just as a backup plan. I work in the media group at the law firm where I work in. So it's part of the plan, and I hope that I'll be able to be a part of empowering artists, giving artists legal services at a rate that they can afford as an up-and-coming or even bigger artist, and at the same time able to protect myself as a musician. But music is definitely my life passion and how I want to make a living for the rest of my life. They kind of go together. I wanted music to be bigger than just being the artist. To me, I think it's important as a Nigerian, especially with all the noise we're making right now and the momentum that we have with afrobeats and all the different offshoots from afrobeat music. I think there's so much talent and there are not enough people who are on the inside or have some inside knowledge in the industry to help those artists. So that's something that's really important to me.
Fae: Yeah, I think that's really good. I also have been listening to a lot of your music, and it's amazing. I'm surprised you haven't and get more of a following. I think you're definitely going to blow up soon.
Dap the Contract: I hope fingers are crossed. I'm working on it. I promise a lot of stuff. That's part of why Lauren is important to me because I don't think the consumer really understands how much work and it's a bit of luck, it's a bit of work. It's a network, and it's all the pieces
coming together. It's your friend supporting you early on that really makes it happen. But I really appreciate that. I'm doing my best to push it through.
Fae: Yes, it's amazing. So, moving to New York, how is that like being in that community?
Dap the Contract: Man, it's funny. I went to Brown University for undergrad and I was part of a really thriving music community. There's about 20 to 30 musicians and I'm close with almost all of us moved to New York around the same time after we graduated. So we kind of have a little Brown contingent in Brooklyn, in New York, which is nice. But moving to New York, being in New York, similar to LA, similar to London, new sort of music hubs in the world, it's great to be able to perform frequently and to meet so many other artists who are in the same position as you try to do the same thing. So that's been great. And it's similar to Lagos, Nigeria, where I grew up. I always joke that New Yorkers have the same craziness in
Nigeria. The hustle and bustle, the madness are equivalent. In my eyes.
Fae: As a New Yorker, I can say that's true.
Dap the Contract: Yeah, right. The adjustment wasn't too crazy. I've seen this kind of crazy before early on in my life, so it was comfortable. I love New York. I do feel, though, that it's making me, you know, new yorkers have that, like, stubborn love where they'll cuss you out, but they really love you. Yeah. As New York, I'm sure you can understand that. I feel like I'm becoming like that a little bit. It might be seeping into my music as well. But I really love New York. It's probably the best place for me to be, especially with the kind of music I make because of the diversity in New York. Especially because being a classical pianist originally, I kind of enjoy fusing different sounds together. So my music ranges through so many
jars, from afrobeat to house to pure rap and boom bap stuff, even including trap music to gospel to soul jazz. So it's kind of a good place to be able to draw on all those inspirations and has people appreciate it.
Fae: Yeah, that's why I love your music. It's also, like, individual and something that we haven't gotten to see a lot of other than I don't know. I feel like a lot of the hip-hop community right now is based on more aggressive rap, which I'm still a fan of, but bringing something soft and lyrical, and meaningful. Your background sounds are always amazing, and I feel like you're an artist that's bringing some meaning into the hip pop world.
Dap the Contract: Appreciate. And that's intentional. I mean, I fell in love with hip hop through storytelling primarily, so that's a big thing for me. My music is very autobiographical. It's embellished, it's theatrical for the sake of entertainment, but it's very much based on my real life. I appreciate that.
Fae: So speaking of, have you had any artists over your life that you've been inspired by for your music? Or is it mostly just individual?
Dap the Contract: Definitely inspiration. See, this is the thing. My list has been pretty consistent for a long time now, but it's starting to change and you'll understand why when I give you the list, but in no particular order, it's Absol who's part of TDE. Just hearing his music for the first time in 2012 changed my life. You're in a control system. It's my top five, my favorite artist, and it's Skeptic from the UK. He makes like, grime and rap music, but I think is really deep down like a motivational speaker. His mindset is what attracted me to his
music primarily. And then Andre 3000 for all the obvious reasons. Oh, my gosh. Listening to The Love Below and just saw the diversity and sound and then did my research. He produced about 70 or 80% of the hour himself.
Fae: Yeah, the production is insane.
Dap the Contract: It's crazy. One of my favorite songs is my Favorite Things interlude where he flips that song from that classic song from the Sound of Music movie back in the day. And I produce almost 95% of my catalog. So I really appreciate artists, rappers or otherwise, that produce their own stuff as well. That's why he's on that. But the reason why I started the way I did was that the top of that list to me is probably Kanye West, which is like a huge asterisk right now. No one really knows how to discuss him or speak about him. But,
Fae: Yeah, we'll separate the artist from the music.
Dap the Contract: It's hard. It's a tough conversation to have time for the
whole conversation right now, obviously. But my introduction, one of my introductions to hip hop, but where I really fell in love with hip hop with my sister playing me Chaka Khan through the Wire, through the Fire, excuse me. And then playing me Kanye through the Wire and just hearing the creativity and that sample and recreating a song that was already existing. I hadn't heard much sampling before I knew that that was a thing. And then the storytelling is what really just struck me. And then from there, I went and listened to everything. I did my full research all the way back to Africa. And that's another big asterisk from what's been in the news recently. But all the artists have started this and pioneers, the Dr. Dres, the Snoop Doggs, the Rockys, everyone. So, yeah, I think that's four. My number five sport rotates between I'm sure you've heard of my sound as with The Chance the Rapper because it's the horns and the band inclusion in the music. And the production definitely
came out with mentors. And, of course, like Kendricks, your Drakes. Your Drake Halls and the rest of them. But that's really my main inspiration. But I grew up in a household with Motown playing all the time, and my parents loved the Beatles. I went to church every Sunday. So that gospel music is definitely in my roots, especially in the harmonies I use and everything. So Mariah Carey Christmas album with Christmas album, I really grew up on everything, which I appreciate about my upbringing. So my inspiration is from all over the A place. I think that's what makes my music so rich.
Fae: Yeah, I definitely see that in all of your music. So the most recent song that you released is Dancing in the Rain. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Dap the Contract: Dancing in the Rain, I love that song is featured on there. Yeah, that song, that's a perfect example. That song is really born from, so I have a series called the Powers Series, and I put up Powers Volume One and 2020 and volume Two and 2021. And I'm working on volume three. And this is the first single of volume three. But this series was inspired by I spent a semester studying abroad and the University of Amsterdam Law School in 2019. And when I was studying there for high school in the UK, I hated house music, to be very honest. I'd go to the club and at 02:00 A.m., they would play 99 Problems. They'll play Gold digger, and then they'll play maybe one Eminem or 50 Cent song, and they
go right back to house music. And it used to drive me crazy because I love hip-hop music, right? But it took me being away from there for long enough. I was here for about four years when something clicked and I understood the beauty and house music and how I could incorporate it into my music. So I specifically wanted to go back to somewhere in Europe to study abroad, to kind of just being surrounded by those sounds and that energy, the EDM stuff, the house stuff. And that's where this fusion came from. Dancing in the Rain is like a fusion of hip hop and Astrobee with dance and electronic vibes included. And most of the Power series is that. So that's really what inspired that song. bye.
Fae: I think it's amazing how you can incorporate all those genres into one song. And I feel like it goes through all of your music. I feel like all of it has different aspects of many different genres, and that's amazing. I've been specifically getting into house recently, so when
I heard Dancing in the Rain, I was like, oh, this is it.
Dap the Contract: It's in that realm, right? And I have more like distinctly house records. These kids from Brown called aloe Four one, they put out the song called lavender last year. That's really the origins of where I then developed these other fusions from that's more pure house music. But I really love house music. Of course, Drake and Beyonce kind of pushing everyone in that direction a little more recently. But I think there's something about that music that's, of course, coupled with I'm a piano coming out of South Africa, we're all kind of on the same wave at the moment. I'm enjoying it.
Fae: So when you produce, do you use digital software or do you use actual instruments?
Dap the Contract: Regarding that, yeah, I use digital for the most part. I wish I could use more instruments, but I produce very isolated. In the first instance, I really just make everything on my midi keyboard, on my laptop, by myself, in my office, at home, pretty much. But I do have, like I said, a bunch of friends nearby who are sex players, violin players, guitar players, bass players. And so I cycle over to them with my laptop and my mic and
just get them to record whatever part I need to kind of build out the song and flesh it out. So my boy Peter Enriquez is playing on Dancing in the Rain. And you single? I've got loaded up. I've got my friend Brian Blissker, who just did radio music City Hall with Maggie Rogers last night. Actually, last two nights. Super excited about shout-out to Brian. So that's kind of how I do it. I play keys myself, so it's easy to do that and other instruments that you can replicate with midi keys, but for something like a guitar, you can't really recreate drumming in the same way. I call on my friends for some of those bits.
Fae: Yeah, I could see that. There are so many creatives in Brooklyn that are just all around. It's amazing to have that aspect in the city. So, since we're almost to the end of this interview, do you have any new projects that you're working on, anything you're producing?
Dap the Contract Yes, indeed. So, actually, my boy, Dublin, I just dropped the tape yesterday and I've got three songs I produced on there, and I'm on two of them. 1s Dubziano. The tape is called. Damn, baby, you good. Yeah, that's everywhere now. But I'm about to put out another single on March 3, 3323, called I Remember. I'm really excited about it. Featuring Chandler Elise who's my homie from La. That's kind of the second single of Powers, volume three, and I've got a couple more coming before the tape, hopefully, is out at some point in the summer. That's what I'm working towards.
Fae: Yeah. So it's Dancing in the Rain right now, and soon it will be. I remember to go with it as well, but we'll definitely have that in the stacks for Kamp. So it'll be playing
Dap the Contract: Yes, please. I appreciate you playing Dancing in the Rain and checking out all my music. It really means a lot.
Fae: So thank you for interviewing with me today. I really enjoyed talking to you and I hope that all the people in Kamp enjoyed listening to your inspirational words.
Dap the Contract: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Fae: There's so much knowledge coming from you, so I definitely think you're climbing the ladder to the top, and I wish you luck in your journey.
Dap the Contract: Fingers crossed. Almost there. Thank you.
Fae: No problem. Thank you for the interview.
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