Q&A with Rapper D-Legend
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? What got you into making music? Who were your biggest musical inspirations growing up?
My name is D-Legend. I was born and raised in the heart of “ Little Haiti” in Miami, Florida. In my childhood growing up, I’ve experienced many trials, tribulations and difficult times, but music always brought me a sense of peace, hope, and inspiration! I love music! Throughout my childhood, my escape through my times of difficulties was always writing music and poetry. My biggest inspirations in music were 2 Pac, Notorious Big, DMX, Nas, Ice Cube, J-Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and many others.
Your music video for “Black Man” conveys strong imagery of police brutality that Black people face. What were you hoping to convey through this video?
Black people have been facing police brutality and injustice in this system for hundreds of years! Thank God for camera phones and social media, now these brutalities that we face are heavily exposed! We have been labeled as “Super Predators” and the Media has tarnished our image for years. I just hope to convey that all that is false. We are no threat to anyone and we are tired of this injustice system.There’s good and bad people in every culture, so why are Black people always getting demonized? We just want to live a peaceful, happy, and successful life like everyone else. I feel like it’s time for us to be giving equal opportunities just like every other race.
What was your reaction to the George Floyd verdict?
“I felt very happy about the verdict, but I still feel we have a long way to go on correcting the major problems in the justice system. The system is designed to always protect police officers, but finally we got some victory in this case, and I pray that changes and reform get implemented in the system.”
Are there any personal life experiences that led to you making this song?
I’ve been a victim of false arrest and police brutality growing up. I recall coming home from work one evening and some kids were running away from the cops and got away and then a few minutes later police knocked on my door and slammed me to the floor in my work uniform and arrested me claiming that I stole someone’s vehicle. The owner of the vehicle informed the police that it wasn’t me and they still arrested me and sent me to jail. I ended up losing my job over something that I did not do and I didn’t understand why. I’ve learned from this experience that many Blacks get set up, sent to prison, for crimes that they did not commit just because of the color of their skin, so I was heavily inspired to write this song when I saw what was going on in this world today.
Why was it important for you to use your platform to speak on this issue?
When I saw what happened to George Floyd, Travon Martin, Michal Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and many others it really affected me mentally , so I was driven to use my platform to address these issues that need to be changed. We are only Black people. I just don’t understand why it is a problem for us to live our lives happily like everyone else. Like Martin Luther King stated, people should not be judged by the color of their skin! People should be judged by the content of their character.
How important do you think it is for other artists to talk about issues affecting their communities, such as police brutality?
I think it’s extremely important for artists to discuss these issues in their music. Artists with small and large followings. The only way change is going to take place is when we all come together and demand change and reform in the justice system. People in the communities need us, especially the ones that fell victim and lost their lives and loved ones lives, at the hands of the justice system! We all have fear in the presence of the police and it shouldn’t be this way. They are hired to enforce law and order and to protect us! They are not hired to kill and harass people for no reason! I’m not saying all cops are bad, but it’s time for the bad and crooked ones to be exposed and weeded out!
You also mention trying to reach the youth, what role do you think hip-hop and rap has on influencing the younger generation?
Hip Hop and Rap have a strong influence on the youth. I remember growing up as a child, I lost my older brother to gun violence. He was my mentor and the person that always ran to me when I needed help, but when he was no longer here, all I had was God and music. I then ran to music for hope and inspiration, and I know there’s millions of kids just like me that look up to artists for guidance, wisdom, and inspiration. Music is a very powerful tool and I vow to always use it right. I walked the walk, so I will always speak the truth cause I know the youth is always watching and listening.
To follow up, should we be looking at artists to be role models for the youth?
Yes, I feel like artists should be role models to the youth. Rap & Hip Hop have a strong impact on every culture worldwide, and this shouldn’t be taken for granted. You can walk through any Hood and I guarantee everyone knows the big names in the music industry. Music has a big influence globally and as an artist it’s our responsibility to lead by truth and enforce what’s right. We have a voice, so let’s make a positive change with it and be heard!
How would you describe the music that you make — do you categorize your music as conscious hip-hop?
The music that I make is True.I don’t Sugarcoat what I write. I write music based on my experience and the way that I am feeling at that present moment. I’m a versatile artist. I write conscious rap, club Bangers , radio hits, reality music, and uplifting! I just live my life and I express all my experiences through my music. Every culture through every walk of life will be able to relate and enjoy my music , because I speak nothing but the truth!
You write, produce and rap, what’s your favorite part of the process?
I’ve been writing and producing music for years now. Music has always been my passion. My favorite part of the process is when I receive a track and immediately my soul gets inspired to write some fire to it! And when the finished product comes out bigger than I originally thought, it’s a wonderful feeling lol.
What can we be on the lookout for from you in the next few months — any upcoming singles, EP’s etc.
I am currently working on some finishing touches on my album. In the next few months, I will be releasing some surprise singles and videos. In addition, if God willing, my album will be released worldwide very soon!