Student Musician Spotlight: DAP The Contract

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This week, Blog is spotlighting five Brown and RISD student musicians, all of whom will be performing this Saturday night at the Bodega Beats live session at The Spot Underground. We’re publishing all interviews of one musician talking to another.

Earlier this week, we had the event’s two DJs, Michael Moyal (aka Mulga) and Raye Sosseh (aka Chartreux) interview each other. Jahi Abdur-Razzaq Brown ’17 also interviewed fellow rapper Sebastián Otero Oliveras Brown ’18. A few days ago, Dolapo Akinkugbe Brown ’16 (aka DAP the Contract) interviewed Jahi. Now, it’s DAP’s turn to be in the spotlight. You can check out DAP’s work on his SoundCloud.

Keep reading to find out about his working with Mark Ronson (yes, for real), the influence of his Nigerian roots on his music, and why his post grad plans might include law school.

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Sebastián: So, DAP, you recently got back from Abbey Road Studios. Let’s just start with that.

Dolapo: Yeah, that’s a good place to start. That was this competition Converse does where they have artists apply. They have 84 artists go to 12 different studios around the world, and you’re given a mentor. Mark Ronson was my mentor, which was amazing. And he was mad cool, super laid-back, and made me feel comfortable. We made three songs together on a Friday, and then I worked on stuff with the horn section on a Saturday. So it was just like a perfect music weekend, really, in the best studio ever.

S: How did you feel when you entered Abbey Road?

D: I remember the first day, it was like a video when me and my sister walked in, and I was just silent. The best thing about the room was that when it’s silent–nothing sounds like that ever in life. It sounds perfectly silent but noisy at the same time.

You can hear anything in the room—it’s a big room—and you can hear every single detail in the room. It’s like the perfect noisy-silence, because you can hear a little hum, like you can hear the room breathe, but it’s perfectly quiet. That was the first thing I noticed. I didn’t even play any keyboards. We didn’t touch anything for the first ten minutes. We just sat there in silence, and it was just crazy.

S: Do you think that this is one of DAP’s greatest accomplishments?

D: For sure. That and performing at the Saatchi Gallery in London were the two biggest landmarks so far. Nothing comes close to that, really.

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Student Musician Spotlight: Bodega Beats Rapper Jahi

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This week, Blog is spotlighting five Brown and RISD student musicians, all of whom will be performing this Saturday night at the Bodega Beats live session at The Spot Undeground. Every day, we’ll publishing an interview, one musician talking to another. Yesterday, the event’s two DJs, Michael Moyal (aka Mulga) and Raye Sosseh (aka Chartreux) interviewed each other.

Today, Blog brings you an interview with rapper Jahi Abdur-Razzaq (Brown ’17). Jahi is interviewed by Dolapo Akinkugbe (Brown ’16), aka DAP The Contract. They discuss everything from the concept of “home,” to the best Nas album, to “S&M” by Rihanna. Definitley keep reading if you’re looking for some good rap recommendations. You can check out Jahi’s work on Soundcloud.

Tomorrow, DAP will be interviewed by rapper Sebastían ( )tero.

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“Tell Your Friends” by the Weeknd starts to play.

Dolapo: The first question I have for you is: what is your primary purpose for making music? What do you want to do with your music?

Is it for fun? Is it therapy for you? Is it therapy for other people?

Jahi: It’s therapy for me, but by accident almost. I was just obsessed with the idea of making music, it was something that I thought was so cool and that I had to participate in.

So I was like, yo — let me participate in it. When I started, I didn’t even put a lot of what was in me into the songs — which is what I wanted to say. So, I changed what I wanted to say into just saying everything that’s in my head. Telling my story: how I be feelin’. Even if it’s not my story — how I’m feeling through somebody else’s story.

D: I feel like a lot of artists start off just joining in because it’s cool, and then they realize how helpful it is for them, and that breeds more passion for it. Then you really start to get shit off your chest — and that makes it, I think, for everyone. So, this latest project you’ve put out, what’s it called again?

J: Home for the Summer.

D: What was that inspired by? What did you get off your chest in the making of that project?

J: What sparked it was just the idea of being between home and college. I was like, yo, like this is actually something that’s crazy, this phenomenon.

D: It really is. We really don’t talk about it enough. They’re really polarized lifestyles.

J: Yeah! The real thing is like, there’s vacation, right? And anybody can have vacation. It doesn’t have to be college. People have vacations. So, the whole thing is about stress. It’s about being as stressed as I am here — it’s nuts.

But from the beginning it’s stress and trying to figure out how to work with that stress, and then trying to get rid of it. Once you try to get rid of something like that with the wrong things, it kinda just messes it up for you. All that happened to me, and I was just like, “Screw it!”

D: Yeah. Going home for the summer for people is a very — especially, I come from Nigeria, so going home for winter, for me, for Christmas, is a culture shift like crazy. What’s home like for you? You’re from Brooklyn, right? Where in particular in Brooklyn?

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Students who do cool things: Dolapo Akinkugbe ’16 (DAP)

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DAP–that’s pronounced ‘D-A-P’–is a junior at Brown; he’s also a student who does cool things. A producer first and a rapper second, DAP has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, and is rising in his renown on campus and off. After studying for two semesters at the Berklee College of Music during his gap year, Dolapo came to Brown. An enthusiastic piano player since he was a child, DAP has a natural predilection for bringing different sounds into his production style. He matches this with his flexible lyrical delivery (“flow”) and many ideas about the world and his place in it.

A couple of Fridays back, DAP rocked a crowd at Aurora in downtown Providence. The following Monday he dropped his fourth mixtape, GoodBye For Never, which demonstrates his versatility as a musician (he casually produced every track on the album, by the way!) and great ability as a lyricist and thinker.

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with DAP and asking a few questions about his music and plans for the future.

Who are your main influences?

Kanye West immediately comes to mind, simply because he’s a complete artist. I also think he’s the best performer of all time, alongside Michael Jackson, and maybe James Brown, Beyonce. My favorite songwriter is Drake, the best rapper and lyricist in my mind is Kendrick Lamar. And I’d say Ab-Soul is the most intelligent rapper. I can tell that he’s both book smart and street smart.

And then I’m influenced by anything immediately around me, like A$AP and Gucci Mane, and I’ve taken influence from The Beatles and Motown, Stevie Wonder. For example, I’m going to a Stevie Wonder concert in a couple of weeks, but in a few days I’m going to Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Bibby and Jeezy concert. And I’m also going to YG and A$AP Ferg. So anywhere I get inspiration from I take it.

What are you studying at Brown?

Classics and I’m hoping to double concentrate with Music.

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