Chicago emcee D2X put together one of my favorite EPs this year in “Enjoy Life”. The ability to capture an variety of moods with a team of producers that bring this Art Gallery to life is rare these days. I had a chance to sit down with D2X to talk about growing up in Chicago, the people behind the soundscapes and more to learn more about D2X and “Enjoy Life”.
DEHH: For those who don’t know who is D2X?
D2X: I’m an upcoming artist from Chicago, and then I moved to the south suburbs right outside the city, Riverdale, Illinois, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m also a college student, at Western Illinois University, and I balance music along with my school work. I’ve been doing music for almost 2 years now, and It’s continuously picking up for me every day.
DEHH: Tell me a bit about growing up in Chicago and how you got into hip-hop?
D2X: Growing up, I was never in trouble, even though it’s been so many people I know who may have went down the wrong road, and associated themselves with the wrong people.
I always hung around positive people who helped me stay out of trouble and inspired me to chase my dreams. I initially was focused on being a professional athlete all my life, dreaming of playing in the NBA one day, since I was a kid. I think I was pretty good when I was in middle school as well. During my senior year of high school basketball, I was selected all conference and I also was nominated as a Mcdonald’s All American nominee.
I did have division 1 interests in high school, but I only had options at lower level schools, NAIA, D2, D3’s, but I couldn’t seem to find the right fit.
I really got into music, during the fall (2016) of my freshman year of college, when I decided that I didn’t want to try to walk on to the basketball team, at WIU. I started recording off my cell phone and computer, not even with a studio mic lol, and I would send it to my friends.
A lot of people was so surprised that I wasn’t playing basketball anymore. It definitely was weird at first, but overtime I got used to this lifestyle, and I’m thankful that I chose music, this is definitely the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. My main goal in life is to inspire others, and use the voice that God gave me to help change the world, and listening to J.Cole growing up, just hearing his stories and how he remained himself with a huge fanbase inspired me to really give this a shot.
DEHH: How did the idea for “Enjoy Life” come about?
D2X: Enjoy life came about organically. Back in May , me and GLOhan were working on beats , at this studio called Complex, downtown Chicago. We worked on about five that night and it clicked in my head that I wanted to put out an EP. Something short, cohesive, and concise, but effective. I didn’t come up with the title until I got to Los Angeles,California for vacation with my family, and when we drove through Beverly Hills, I looked up at the sky and the title clicked in my head.
It honestly felt like it was a message from God. I spent three months recording the project, getting it mixed, and mastered. Some songs came from further back, Lights i recorded in March, and Nites was a single I dropped in February, and I made everything else on it this summer.
DEHH: The production is varied yet keeps a cohesive sound, can you tell me about the producer’s you’ve linked up and how they were incorporated into this?
D2X: Every producer thats on my EP, I know personally, so I knew the chemistry would be key into making this project something special. By also knowing the direction I wanted to go with this, which is a beautiful, rich, and soulful sound, I told each producer the focus of the project and I was hands on in the production process as well, which made things much more effective with the how the music came out .
First off, I’ll start GLOhan Beats, we’ve known each other since first grade, but we started being around each other more once I started making music. He executive produced the entire project, mixed it , produced multiple records on here, did the monologues with me, recorded every song, and also helped in mastering process. One of the best producers I know, he’s also featured on Famous Dex’s Album “Dex Meets Dexter”, and has also produced for Lil Uzi Vert, a song called “Grow Up” and “Secure the Bag” featuring Gucci Mane, on 1017 V.S The World. (Other Credits, Juice WRLD, Rich The Kid.)
(Co-produced “Diamond Life Blues” , Produced “Nites” , & Co-produced “Might as Well”)
Kid Marquis, We also have known each other since 1st grade, he did the intro “Lights” for me, the song is also very reminiscent of “Spaceships” by Kanye West, if you ever heard that song, the drum patterns and song tempo is kinda identical, he has also produced one of G Herbo’s biggest hits “Pull Up”, he’s also produced for Cdot Honcho, and Lil Yachty.
Tr3asy From The Chi, is one of my favorite producers in the city right now and he’s making a lot of noise. I’ve known him for about a year now, and he produced the “1997” for me. He’s well known for producing “Bon Appetit” By Z Money (1017 Records), Ft Key Glock & G Herbo, and he’s also worked with Valee.
Jxnior, I met through a one of my rap homies, and I loved the way he made beats, classic hip hop beats, drums, and beautiful samples, he did the first part of “Diamond Life Blues”, and I knew it was special when he first sent me the beat.
Jon G, who Co-produced “Might as Well”, is an upcoming talented producer, and me, him, Marquis, and GLOhan work on music from time to time together.
Yikes Beats, produced the “Enjoy Life” joint for me, which was a sample he used from Tribe Called Quest’s album the “Low End Theory”. He’s also a mentor to me, and we’ve been working together for years.
DEHH: In the second half of “Diamond Life Blues” you mention you treat your art like a million dollar painting can you speak on that a bit?
D2X: Yeah, what I meant by that is music is a historic art form, and everyone has the right to express themselves no matter what type of style or music they make. I put a lot of time into my craft, and I make music from the heart, and for me, not mainly for the acceptance of others. Legendary painters like Picasso, and Michelangelo, made what they wanted to make and the people appreciated it, and now their works are apart of history.
It seems as though with hip hop, everyone’s super judgemental, and classifies certain genres as “real” music. Music is music, everyone just has their own tastes, and preferences. I want people to treat my art is that also, like an art exhibit. I have these 6 songs, take what you need from it, and that’s the show. I put my heart into it, and all I want is for it to be respected, and I believe people will appreciate anyone who puts their all into something no matter what it is.
DEHH: When people are done listening to “Enjoy Life” what do you want people to walk away with?
D2X: Just to stay in the moment, of course plan for the future, but just remember how far you’ve came in life, and never forget or overshadow your blessings. I could be living on the street right now, or have a family that doesn’t love me, or even a chance to take trips around the world. Its so many things to be fortunate about, and with making this project, it taught me to be more grateful, and to enjoy everyday of my life, because life isn’t promised to any of us.
DEHH: So far it seems the record has been successful, what have you done leading up to the release to make sure people listen? What tips can you give to artists that are getting set to drop their respective albums?
D2X: I just try to remain consistent, in dropping snippets, to get fans excited for anything I release, I express what it’ll be about, the process of making the project, as well as being active daily on social media.
The tips I’ll give to artists who are planning to release their upcoming projects is to stay engaged !
Be thorough and detailed in what you post. Definitely interact with those who supports you. Give yourself time, a month in advance to successfully release something, and also pace yourself with promo. Surprise your fans and supporters, and just continue to mix it up. Visuals will also help post release, as well as linear notes, and lyrics.
DEHH: The year’s not quite up yet, can we expect anything to close out the year, what’s next for D2X?
D2X: Really, my focus is to continuing this run with pushing “Enjoy Life”, I plan on shooting videos this fall/winter for it. I also got new music in the works, collaborations, and overall just to continue to expand my brand.