Today we had an exclusive chance to interview Dejha B:
ARN: Who would say inspired you the most, as an artist?
Dejha B: The person that inspired me the most, as an artist is Eve from Ruff Riders. She inspired me as an artist because she carried herself in a classy way, all while being rough around the edges. She came in the rap game when woman in hip-hop were mostly rapping about sex, and fashion. She was more relatable, and talked about issues that woman can relate to such as domestic violence. I also loved the fact that she can hold her own around the other male rappers around her.
ARN: Talk me through your creative process?
Dejha B: My creative process varies depending on my mood or the situation. Sometimes I have an idea for a song, or a melody, and then I write the song from there. Sometimes I hear the beat, and the beat will spark a melody, or a chorus. Other times the beat may come with a chorus, and then I’ll add my lyrics to the song. Once I figure out what I’m going talk about in the song, I break it down into verses. Each part will discuss one thing I want to convey in each verse to convey the whole message or feel of the song. For example, with my new single “Freedom” it’s broken down into two verses. The first verse discusses police brutality, and how police see Black people. The second verse breaks down why police brutality exists, and gives the history of racism in the United States.
ARN: Do remember the first rhyme you wrote?
Dejha B: Yes, I remember the first rhyme I ever written. I was joking around with my friends, and someone dared us to form a rap group. I took it seriously, went home and listened to a Jadakiss record. I listened bar for bar, and wrote my flow the same way. After I was done, I thought to myself this is good. I was only 16 years old at the time, and all my uncles were rapping and going to the studio. I told them I know how to rap, but it took me 20 minutes to say the verse to them. After I finally said the verse, they said I’m taking you to the studio. After we recorded the song with my one verse, people were passing the song around. It got into the hands of a record executive, and he wanted to put me on a soundtrack to a movie.
ARN: Where and how do you work best?
Dejha B: The best way I work is in the comfort of my own home, I usually have the TV going, my kids making noise in the background and not under pressure. I know it sounds crazy, but I don’t like silence when I’m working. I like to go in the studio already prepared so I’m not spending too much time in the studio. Since I’m an independent artist funding myself, time is money. If I write my verse in the studio, I will feel pressure of having something ready in the time frame of the studio time booked. If I write my music beforehand, I can do multiple songs in one studio session.
ARN: Have you heard the theory that some musicians write their best music while they’re depressed or going through a bad time?
Dejha B: Yes, I have heard that theory before, but I can’t relate as an artist. When I’m going through a bad time, the last thing I want to do is create. I like to be in the best mood, so I can think outside the box when I write. I think right after the bad experience has passed, is a good time to write. You can write about that bad experience with a clear mind. Maybe in the future I’ll try writing when I’m in a bad mood, and get some raw emotions. My songs will probably sound like a “I Hate You So Much” song by Kelis if I do that, but I’ll try it lol.
ARN: What’s your biggest advice you ever received?
Dejha B: The biggest advice I ever received is to learn the business, read your contracts, and understand what you are reading. That advice has really helped me in not signing some messed up contracts. That was part of the reason why I went to college and received a degree in legal studies. I was able to learn about contract law, business law, accounting, and copyright law. It really opened up my eyes on how people can be taken advantage of because they don’t understand the business.
ARN: What’s the coolest, most important show you’ve played to date?
Dejha B: The coolest, most important show I have played to date was SOBs in NYC. Everyone who is everyone performed at SOBs, and it was on my list of places I wanted to perform. I performed alongside the R&B group Allure; our song called I Do. One of the pioneers of hip-hip Kangol Kid was hosting and performed. Christopher Williams, Silk, and some other R&B legends performed as well. This was when Covid first hit back in March. While we were doing soundcheck, the governor of NY announced everyone was going on a mandatory quarantine. A lot of people that purchased their tickets didn’t show up, but It was still a good turnout. We definitely need to do that again once this pandemic is over.
ARN: Has Covid-19 stop my creative process?
Dejha B: When Covid-19 first hit, it stopped my creative process with music at first. I didn’t think about music, and couldn’t focus on my music. All I can think about is keeping my kids and I healthy and safe during this pandemic. Plus, the studio was shut down, so I couldn’t record any music. I ended up shifting my creative energy and created my own publishing company “Black Angel Publishing.” Which helped me create my own adult coloring book brand called Dejha B Coloring which can be found on Amazon, and my website www.dejhabcoloring.com. I created coloring books that have positive images of woman of color, and inspiration quotes. It has helped people during this pandemic to relax, destress, and refocus. Once the studio opened up after several months, I was able to write 7 songs in a few days because I went through a lot of things during the pandemic. It also taught me not to procrastinate when it comes to my creativity because you never know when it’s your last day on earth.
ARN: How do you currently feel about the state of hip-hop?
Dejha B: I’m happy there are so many women in hip-hop getting noticed and getting their voices heard. At the same time, I wish there was a variety of styles and lyrical content. It seems like the same subject is being rapped about over and over, and some of the woman are starting to look the same. I’m not sure if it’s the industry pushing a certain look, and lyrical content, but either way we need variety. I think sometimes as woman we really don’t know the power we have, and that power is not between our legs but between our ears!
ARN: What will your next album sound like that?
Dejha B: My next project is called “Black Angel” that will have a variety of raw emotions, storytelling, and bold lyrics. You will get to know me a little better with this project, and know somethings I went through in life. I will also give you some feel good party records as well as some soulful records people can relate to. I will give you an idea on why I’m called the Black angel, and how sometimes I’m a walking contradiction with my music, and sometimes in life. My project will be released in spring of 2021 along with a documentary that shows the making of the project.