Indianapolis emcee Davey Asaph released his debut album “Never In My Wildest” earlier this month and it ended up taking the scene by storm. Debuting in the Top 25 on iTunes, Asaph’s approach to his music is different than most, as his comeup up was different as well. That said Asaph combines more upbeat production with his personal story where he holds nothing back. I got the chance to sit down with Davey Asaph and really learn about the man behind the music, talk to him about his life growing up and how he was able to come out with such a receptive album.
Dead End Hip Hop: Who’s Davey Asaph for those who still don’t know?
Davey Asaph: Davey Asaph, is a song writer, rapper, poet, and story teller. Im a man from Indianapolis who loves the small things of life. I’m crazy about my faith, wife, and my kids. I also love creating art with passion and feelings.
DEHH: Let’s set the stage a bit before we jump into the music. How exactly did you get into hip-hop and eventually start using hip-hop as a tool to express yourself?
DA: So I grew up in a Christian house hold where my Moms tried to protect us from the streets. So she wouldn’t let us watch BET or MTV. So I had to sneak to do those things. But I fell in love with the art form in 1993. When I saw Sister Act 2. Because it was like a clean movie about kids in the hood that attended this school that was a church, so my Moms let me watch it. You had these kids that no one was checking for or believe in do something amazing and embrace music. So I would sing all the songs and rap the lyrics over and over and over again until we broke the tape. I still remember all the words, word for word lol. So I wanted to be a singer and rapper. So I built a fake studio in my closet and started fake recording, when no one was watching. But my insecurities would never let be confident enough to do it in front of people. So I would write raps, songs, and poems and share them with no one really. But in High school I had a homie that made a studio in his basement and he start letting come over and record and that was the beginning.
DEHH: How exactly did “Never In My Wildest” come about?
DA: Well the term just came out of nowhere really. I had another direction I was going and title and album art but “NIMW” wouldn’t leave me alone. I am a man who’s faith is very important to him. So the concept become this idea that in light of my past I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t have a family. I shouldn’t be successful in any sphere. Yet God saw fit to bless me with those things. So at every turn in my life I am constantly blown away by the things that happen. Because again in light of my past I don’t feel like I deserve any of it. So now when things happen to me and my homies, we will say the phrase “Never In My Wildest”. But the content all came over the course of a year. Every song except one was made from experiences in 2016.
DEHH: The album is really heavy, how were you even able to open yourself up to the listener like this? You cover some really vulnerable topics that I don’t even know I could really talk about.
DA: Vulnerably is hard because it highlights our weaknesses. The thing is this, in Hip Hop it is not popular to show signs of weakness in any way. Yet the truth is that’s actually bondage and not human. Because we all are weak in some way so why not talk about it, or rap about it.
I had to realize that I’m not doing this waiting on the validation of my peers, friends, fans, or the charts. I’m doing this so people can be healed and have hope. Lauryn Hill said, “A good song/album is when a person hears it and says, “That’s how I feel”, but a great song/album is when someone says “I didn’t know I felt like that until you sang/rapped it” (Davey Asaph paraphrase). So I set out to talk about things that may be hard, so people could say “I did not know I felt like that until I heard you say it”. So many people have reached out and said, “Thank you for being honest”. That’s what people need. Nothing like that feeling. It’s crazy that my trauma can bring someone else through whatever.
Lastly, Tim Keller said, “If you want to be original and rare, then be honest”. I wanted to be original so I was just honest.
DEHH: Tell me a bit about the production on the album, combining serious topics with more upbeat and catchy production had to have been difficult.
DA: The great song writer Mary Poppins (lol) said it best, “Just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”. It was on purpose but at the same time I liked my production so I would write what I was feeling and it ended up coming out that way. Also if I give you something that your ear wants to listen to, ear cookies, I can talk to you over and over again because the production draws your ear in. I got some help from some dope producers like “Mantra” who produced Future and Rihanna’s song “Selfish”. He did “Up, Look at My Load, and Notice”. I couldn’t pass on that type of production. Yet I had the freedom to do what I wanted to do with them. So it was a dope!
DEHH: I wanna touch on “She Mine” too because while I was surprised to hear such uplifting talk on the album, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. The feelings you expressed match my own, yet we really hear this kind of talk. Tell me about “She Mine” and the importance of how we speak of and about women during these times.
DA: Man “She Mine” is one of my dearest songs I ever wrote for so many reasons. One, it’s about my wife. So I literally got to big up and brag on her the entire song, so that was just fun. Also very important because I got a daughter and son. They 2 and 4. I also work in my community, so lot of young people look up to me. So for those reasons I felt this song had to happen. I’m about that “High Value & High Honor”. The culture needs something that values our women highly and honors them highly as well. I want men to hear that song and say, “man I want to do that for my lady and if I can’t I don’t need to be with her”. I want women to hear it and say, “I don’t want nothing less”. Man I want my kids to say that same things. I feel this song is so important for the culture! It has gotten a lot of love and we are trying to get it pushed on local and nation radio stations. We will see if they get behind the song and the message. Hopefully so!
DEHH: Now you were able to step on the scene and chart in the Top 25 in the iTunes charts. How does it feel to have so many people consume your music and do you have any tips for artists trying to make a name for themselves?
DA: Yea…That was crazy! I did not expect that at all. Like at all! My team and I set a goal of the amount of albums we wanted to sell in the first month. But to blow that number out in the first two days floored us. We were shook and grateful. Literally felt like the title track was a foreshadowing “I built a fake studio when I was like thirteen, now I’m right here wouldn’t‘ve dreamt it in my wildest dreams”. Sto, you asking the million dollar question. Honestly if I knew I wouldn’t tell you… I would brand it and sell it. Lol! But I would tell the artist, create music that ppl can connect with. Create great art. As artists we want ppl to buy into us but that’s not a reality when you new on the scene. You have to create art that ppl want to buy into. Then they will buy into the artist. Show your art to as many ppl as possible. Also, do the leg work. Be excellent. Lastly, get a publicist!!!
DEHH: What’s next for Davey Asaph? Will we be seeing you on tour? When will we hear from you again?
DA: Next is pushing this album every week like it just came out that week. To be honest with the first week success it is easy to fall back. The temptation is crazy to do so. But I believe in the message and sound so I have to push this thing. Also we will be creating more and more content surrounding this album so people can accidentally hear it and buy into it . As for tour, that is the hope. Weighing my opinions now. I have some dates around the country pending as we speak. As far as next I have no idea. I am always creating art. But my focus like I said is to get as many people in the world to hear NIMW.
You can stream Davey Asaph’s album “Never In My Wildest” right HERE.