David Augustine Jr., better known as rapper/social activist Dee-1, has positioned himself in just a few short years as one of the most exciting new talents in Hip-Hop. With a burgeoning rap career and a thriving public proﬁle, Dee-1’s fan base has adopted his core mission statement, “Be Real, Be Righteous, Be Relevant,” which is what fuels his passion for spreading a positive message by living the life he raps about in his music. “When I rap, I want to make an impact. When someone hears my music, it should evoke an emotion or a response. I’m really trying to change lives for the better and make people look outside of what their current situation is. I want everyone to live the life that they were put here on this earth for.”
The New Orleans native’s love for Hip-Hop was birthed while attending Louisiana State University (LSU), which coincidentally turned into a period of devastating blows and major triumphs. While most of his peers were navigating through the “college experience,” Dee-1’s world was turned upside down when his best friend was murdered during a robbery. Following that, he became the victim of an armed robbery and lived to tell about it! Suﬀering these two traumatic events all around the same time frame, Dee-1 felt an overwhelming urge to reaﬃrm his Christianity and his purpose for living. Soon thereaZer, he began writing about these tumultuous moments, using rhymes as his therapy. This “hobby” soon turned into more of a career prospect.
Upon graduating from LSU, Dee-1 took a job as a middle school math teacher in Baton Rouge to help the children in the community and assist in paying oﬀ his student loans. His goal was to be viewed as a role model for students, so he kept his identity as a rapper a secret. He sharpened his lyrical skills while balancing the two careers – teacher by day, rapper by night.
Dee-1 ﬁrst gained national recognition with the release of his outspoken song and music video, “Jay, 50, &Weezy.” This breakout single called out three of hip hop’s biggest names – Jay Z, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne – about the content of their music. The controversial song caused such a visceral response from Hip Hop lovers, the song became a viral sensation in a matter of weeks and all the spotlight was focused on Dee-1. On the back of “Jay, 50 &Weezy,” Dee-1 went on to win Artist of the Year at the NOLA Hip-Hop Awards. Winning this award solidiﬁed Dee-1 as one of New Orleans’ brightest stars and everyone took notice. His online buzz sparked interest from various record labels, including New Orleans based Cash Money Records, however, Dee-1 opted to sign with RCA.
Soon, Dee-1 was invited to be a participant in the coveted BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher where he delivered a verse that took social media by storm. Dee-1’s has also headlined a BET Music Maters Showcase, performing on BET 106 & PARK’s popular segment The Backroom, and hosted the red carpet for the 2015 BET Honors.
Have you been to a Dee-1 live show? That is undoubtedly where he shines brightest. Dee-1 has toured the country with chart topping and Grammy award winning artists such as; Macklemore, Lupe Fiasco, Lecrae, and PJ Morton. Most recently, he has headlined his own 30 city nationwide tour.
In 2015, Dee-1 released his “3’s Up” EP, which debuted at #9 on the Billboard Hip Hop Charts and #1 on the Chris+an Charts. The EP was met with high praise from some of the most well respected voices in Hip-Hop and featured the hard hiong singles; “Against Us,” “I’m Not Perfect,” and the title track “3’s Up.”
Then less than a year later, Dee-1’s public proﬁle skyrocketed due to his viral hit, the student loan anthem “Sallie Mae Back.” Also receiving a substantial advance from signing his ﬁrst major record deal, Dee-1 made a conscious decision not to buy a new car, a big house, or some expensive jewelry, he decided to pay oﬀ his student loan. He prides himself on being debt free and to be a rapper responsible for a hit song that is highlighting ﬁnancial freedom and a tangible message, is just icing on the cake for the New Orleans native. To date, “SalIie Mae Back” has hit millions of views on Youtube& Facebook.
Dee-1’s forthcoming full length release “Slingshot David The Album” is undoubtedly his most personal and transparent project of his career. The album is a remarkable autobiographical project that traces the evolution of a boy who grows into a man while battling the mental, social, spiritual, and emotional obstacles in his path. Lyrically, mentally, and spiritually, he’s primed to share with the world some of his most personal triumphs and heart breaking defeats that will leave everyone with a deeper understanding of not only who Dee-1 is, but also how David found his “slingshot” and how you can ﬁnd yours too!