A Talk with Dessie Da Don
Dessie Da Don – or simply Dessie – is a Missouri-born rapper whose latest album, No Social Activity, was released last August. She’s been rapping for over six years and released singles consistently in that time, fusing elements of R&B with melodic Southern hip hop.
Dessie touched on how she developed her sound as an artist: “I moved from Missouri to Montgomery, Alabama in ’07. The music scene in Missouri was completely different to the down-South trap that my stepfather introduced me to. My pops would plug in loudspeakers and shake the whole neighbourhood with artists like Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Doe B. My passion for rap, loud music, and bass thumbing came from him. Thanks, pops.”
Dessie spoke on the making of her new album, No Social Activity. She said: “The creative process of this project was something I never really appreciated until I looked back on it. I was actually homeless and couch-hopping while creating that album. I was working two jobs: one during the day at Finish Line and a security gig at the same mall overnight. I was walking back and forth to work. Burned out wasn’t the word, but on my days off or before I’d go in, I’d pull out my phone and Bluetooth speaker, and just create. You might hear a few dogs barking or people walking up in some of the tracks if you listen closely.
“I was blessed to have met a crew of in-house producers at the time who would bless me with new beat packs, so that helped me stay motivated and focussed. Those beat packs saved my life, actually. Shoutout to Vinny and Monte Marko. That was a really rough period of my life. I went through a lot of emotions during that tape and I’m just grateful it was accepted by my supporters how it was.”
The entire album was created on Dessie’s phone. She spoke on how that impacted her process making music: “I did not feel as if it limited me any, or challenged me. No. I actually think it showed I was limitless. My music is limitless. My creativity is limitless. It showed me, despite my challenges, nothing could keep me from creating new music. If I could build a time machine and go back, I would still record that whole album on my phone. It shows my dedication to me.”
After No Social Activity, Dessie has continued to drop singles, with the latest being “next to you”, a track which was released in early January. Dessie said: “For right now, I’m going to continue to push it as a single, but to keep it short and sweet, be on the lookout. We might be ‘next to you’ real soon!”
She went on to discuss her plans for 2023: “2023 is looking like a huge year for projects and collaborations. I do have an album coming out in June that I’m wrapping up now, [Dessie vs Da Don]. I’ve been networking for the past few years, and I have met some really great people who are very talented individuals I look up to … My goal in 2023 is to keep figuring life out. Doing everything better the second go around. My focus is building more connections … This year is the year I aim for everything.”
While Dessie is more focussed on full-length projects now, earlier in her career she was a frequent freestyler. She said: “Man, I started out freestyling in the car and the garage with my homies. Freestyling takes me back to the Dessie I first was when I got into music. It’s the art of being able to speak on multiple topics at once and not being judged for it … You’re free, creating your own story. I could never stop.”
She added: “The two-hundred songs I have out now all started out as freestyles for my freestyle videos I used to drop years prior … Once I learned how to distribute my music to different platforms, I started uploading my favourite freestyles as singles. I do plan on dropping more full projects in the near future, hence Dessie vs Da Don being released in June – and the track-list is huge.”
With Dessie vs Da Don on the way and a host of potential collaborations happening in the future, 2023 is looking like a big year for Dessie Da Don.