Hailing out of New York, HDBeenDope is building a name for himself with his incredible storytelling skills and wide range of talent. Greatly influenced by some of Hip-Hop’s biggest artists such as Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and J. Cole, HD’s hard-hitting lyricism and creative vision have landed him in a lane all by himself. HD’s 2019 singles “For the Record,” “Rev Run” and “Cayman” have generated millions of streams across all streaming platforms, including nearly 6.2 million views on YouTube alone and over 264,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. One of his biggest singles to date “Byrd,” has accumulated 8.3 million views on Youtube since releasing on April 29, 2019, and amassed over 25 million streams and counting. His hard work has not gone unnoticed either. As of September 8, the Brooklyn MC announced his new record label deal with Roc Nation.
“I’m a writer and artist from Brooklyn signed to Hov. Those of you who love hip-hop like I do understand how special that is,” HDBeenDope said. “I’d love to tell you it just happened out of nowhere but the truth is the intent has been consistent through and through. I think they call that serendipity. I’m here for legacy, living in the now, and creating for the future. That’s what I’m about, that’s what Roc is about. That’s what we are about.”
To celebrate the recent signing, HD dropped a brand new “Paper Planes” free verse produced by Dizzy Banko. The “Paper Planes” freestyle is the 22nd installment to his steady stream of weekly “FreeVerse” freestyles that debuted earlier this year.
Lyrical Lemonade had the opportunity to catch up with HD earlier this month to talk about his latest single “Wake Em Up,” and learn more about what we can expect from him this year. Check out our interview below.
Lyrical Lemonade: When you think about music, what was the inspiration for becoming the artist you are today?
For me, I was listening to Wayne early. 50 was like my introduction, I was watching 50. At the height of 50, that was the epitome of what it feels like to be a rapper. Wayne made me want to be a lyricist. Like do you hear what he is saying? Wtf. So all I was doing was making metaphors and similes. Then I found Cole, Cole made me introspective. Like ok cool, now put all of these together. But through Cole is how I found a lot of the older hip-hop. I didn’t grow up listening to a bunch of hip-hop like I’m Caribbean, from Grenada. My mom was listening to Kalipso and country music. So for me, I had to do my homework, but once I found Cole it was like I did all my homework and started building the sound into what it is now.
Lyrical Lemonade: What supporting visuals are you going to create for ‘Wake Em Up’?
So we have this concept essentially of converting fans. Having all these people laid out and waking them up. But you’re seeing this process. I feel like everything we do, we try to add intention. Bringing people into the world, that’s the major thing we’re doing.
Lyrical Lemonade: When you create music, do you want to be thought of as a lyricist or are you just creating fun music for your fans to enjoy? Or would you say a mixture of both?
Well I mean for me, I’m a writer so I still care about what I’m writing regardless of the purpose behind the record, I still have intentions of what I’m saying. Beyond being a writer, I’m a rapper. So that’s still the competitive side. Like, ‘Wake Em Up’, its energy, and good flow. You can essentially just shut your ears off and just ride with it. I say, “B*tch I’m on big timing/5, 4, 6 don’t fall I flip give me all of my shit I won.” So I’m on big time, but 5,4,6, like when I’m playing cee-lo. So you won, give me all my shit I won. But I know nobody caught that, nobody cares, and that’s fine, but that’s the sh*t I’m doing, that’s me, that’s their writing in me. That’s the shit I care about. You can still focus on the bounce. You just have to still do it for yourself.
Lyrical Lemonade: What’s your creative process like when you create music?
A lot of times, even now with my writing, I just go through and record and do a bunch of flows to get the energy. What is the music saying to me? Before I want to speak to the music, what is the music saying to me? Because I feel like if I’m just trying to speak directly to the music, it’s just a poem, at that point I can take the music away. But if I’m caring about this marriage and what the music is saying to me, then I can put the words together and this is what I want to say now.
Lyrical Lemonade: Earlier in the year, you were releasing one freestyle video per week. What was the concept behind this idea?
So that idea came from Wayne. Dedication 2.. like that’s big, that’s it. I remember how excited I was about those verses, so I was like ok I want to put out some records to get in that spirit. So I started doing that. Even just shooting it, that was me and my manager. He would shoot it, edit it, and it’s up. But for some of those, I’m shooting 4 hours before I have to upload it, sometimes I’ll finish 3 minutes before it has to go up. You know why that’s so exciting? Do you remember good Fridays and how it goes up at this time, or hold on this person needs their verse? With that feeling of urgency, I enjoyed those Hip-Hop moments. Anyone who is a part of the journey, I just want like oh damn I remember when, I want them to love that feeling because that’s how I felt at one point in time.
Lyrical Lemonade: Would you rather create a timeless song or a hit?
Everybody that I look at has both, so it’s like I’m not here to get either or, I want everything.
Lyrical Lemonade: What do you look for in producers?
Honestly, it’s new. Me and Dizzy locking in is a whole new thing. I actually sat down and worked with him. I started the process working with Earl On The Beat, then I worked with Plush. But that was like my intro sitting with producers, and picking out beats. This with Dizzy, I was sitting down and kicking it with him through the process of crafting out these records. He understands the vision, and he trusts me as a producer, the same way I trust him as a producer. I was making a lot of my beats, that’s why a lot of it sounds very specific. There’s no beat even If I got it from someone, I never give the beat back the same way I got it.
Lyrical Lemonade:With the release of your latest single, when your fans listen to it, what do you want them to get out of listening?
I really want them to understand themselves through the music. Anybody that has been watching the journey they will hear the music and be like damn this sh*t is fire. But you can notice there is a level of energy that is a little bit different. Anybody who watches the journey will be like nah this is still the same person. For someone seeing that, I just want them to see If i can do it, you can do it. That is really what I want them to take from it.
Lyrical Lemonade: What advice can you offer to any up-and-coming artist right now?
Sheesh. Honestly, always learn from the things you’re doing. Assessment. Because people do a lot of shit. Especially because now as an artist you have to do so much. You’re a media company, you’re not just an artist. You have to do so much. Artists get to a place where we all bump our heads and are like I did so much what happened? But that assessment does not come into play for some people. You did some shit and it didn’t work, understand how you’re supposed to communicate moving forward. If you don’t know how to speak to people it won’t work. If you’re frustrated, communicate. The first rule, know your audience and assess yourself.
Lyrical Lemonade: What can we expect from you for the remainder of the year?
Aww man, we are not stopping. I have music coming, and videos coming. At the end of the year, I always drop a song to let you know what the energy is moving into the next year.
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