How does it feel to come in here at 123, where you did your first show way back when…
D-Why: You know…you was there. I was wearing a 2 XL tee on stage. [Laughs] A 2 XXL shirt that said “Graffiti Changed My Life”.
It feels incredible. Being from Morgantown, being from Charleston, being from West Virginia, it’s a special place because they support their own. Always have, always will. To be back here and see the house packed, to see tickets sold out at capacity, I couldn’t do anything but smile. This is amazing, it’s a blessing. When I come back to Morgantown, in spring or something again for a bigger show, by then everything will be super tight and polished.
Don’t Flatter Yourself, how long did it take you to get that start to finish?
D: Start to finish? For real, two and a half years. Maybe even a little longer. It came about, I had the name, had the concept and from there it went through three phases.14 tracks? Nah. 16 tracks? Nah. When I got out to LA, I was like wow, this is the fucking time to really go in and get it. And just in the past 6 months, having a new engineer, he’s amazing. And really everything came together. It’s been an evolution man. I reference my age as 22, 23, and 24 on the tape.
How did living in Brooklyn and LA change your style, influence your style…
D: I was born in New York City, so I was always going to New York City growing up. When I moved to New York [after college], it gave me perspective. There’s more than just Morgantown. I’m nobody in the city, all I am is hungry. It grounded me, it told me…you have to make your fucking way in this world. I’m still nobody, I’m still just this hungry kid who wants to make music for people. But living in New York, I wrote “Devil Horns…” there. “I’m on Bedford and Halsey”, that’s the street corner I lived on. And Bed-Stuy. I tell people Bedford and Halsey, right near Bedford and Ocean, and their like “Oh shit, that’s not a good neighborhood”. And it’s dope because that gave hunger, that showed me the real hustle, the real grind. And then LA showed me the potential. LA was like…this is Beverly Hills, this is Hollywood. I need to go hard because of this. And that’s really what it’s been man. It’s been a great journey up to this point and it’s only beginning.
Tell me about your relationship with Marcus D’ Tray.
D: That’s my big bro man. We just started linking on a local tip. He lived in Morgantown, he had a studio in his mom’s garage, just making beats. We just chopped it up, we just kept building. And now he’s a big brother to me. I go down to stay in his crib with him and his wife. For days at a time we work in the studio. And it’s dope because he, mark my words, is the most talented producer that I’ve ever seen or worked with. Not joking, all that’s missing is the opportunity for him to get to the next level. He’s just as talented as your favorite producer’s favorite producer. Period, hands down, not fucking around. He does it all, everything. He produced “The Reprise”, he produced “All Good”, he produced “Good Will Stunting”. That’s a pop record, that’s an urban record, and a country folk record. He does it all. All the strings, like the strings in the intro, that’s all him, they sound real. It’s amazing. So it’s really just been back and forth. I’m trying to put him on, introduce him to people and that’s why he did the majority of the songs on DFY or at least touched them up. “Limitless”, he went in and made that sound even bigger. And I can’t think of anyone better than D’ Tray. It’s a blessing man, he’s uber talented.
So you finally have Don’t Flatter Yourself out. Can I get any early name…DFY 2? Do you have anything in mind?
D: There’s not gonna be a DFY 2, I don’t have anything in mind right now. There may be another possible free album. But what we’re doing now is building DFY, spreading it to the masses. We’re gonna release some singles, “2000 Miles”, “Stealing Youth” maybe. “Good Will Stunting”, shoot some videos. Release that, put ‘em on iTunes. The reason we haven’t put it on iTunes, there’s a lot of legal stuff and also because I want the stuff to be free. I want it to spread nationally, I wanna give back to the fans. So now’s the time because people are demanding, “I want to pay for it.” So we’ll do it a single at a time maybe and then the real goal is to take DFY on the road. I’m setting up a tour right now, I wanna be able to get across the nation just bringing it to the people. And from there, there might be a DFY retail version. How cool would it be to see that in Target?
Macchiato Music. Do you watch Sex In The City?
D: No. I mean, I’ve seen Sex In The City numerous times but I’m not a rabid fan.
How amazing was it to just go in Italy, shoot illegally, tell me about that experience.
D: First of all, we have videos that we haven’t released that we shot in Paris and a video in London. 2 in Paris, one in London, and then “Macchiato Music” was in Italy. So what we did was took all the money from our savings, took all the frequent flier miles we had saved up growing up, bought the tickets, slept on the floor of small ass hotel rooms. Got kicked out of hotel rooms. It was really just guerrilla-style shooting, it was great. Hopefully we’re gonna have those videos soon and release them as a mini movie.
Speaking of mini movie: “New York Times”…that is one of the dopest videos to come out this year. Who’s idea was that?
D: That was my idea. I have these 2 other videos, “Taxi” and “God Amongst Men”, which…you’re probably the first person to hear that. I filmed those 2 years ago, they might still come out and they’ll be a flashback to “New York Times” and how it all started. I filmed those and there’s a story in my mind and it’s this James Bond-like assassin, a young guy who’s kinda pulled into that world. I wanna continue with that black and white GQ James Bond theme and hopefully go bigger with the videos. “New York Times” is only beginning [of that story].
Meuwl. Profit Money. How much did they influence you when you were younger and you first started rapping?
D: I can’t even put into words really. First of all, rest in peace to Meuwl. He was like my big brother, the big homie, and that’s why I looked up to him. May he rest in peace, I always looked up to him and now he’s looking down on me. I was passing out flyers for shows, he’s the one who encouraged me to rap. He was the first one who said “What are you gonna call yourself?” He was the reason. In high school, I was listening to his shit thinking, if he can do it…he’s a kid from Charleston, he skateboards, he writes graffiti, he raps. That’s me, I can do that. Then when I got to WVU in 2005 as a freshman, the homie Profit Money was a little bit older, he had been around more, had see more. And we teamed up because it was opposite sides of the spectrum. He would come in the dorm room, stay the night, I’d wake up for class and he’d up hella early drinking coffee; making beats. We put out The Wake Up Call and he was heavily involved in the Two Thousand And Hate shit. That’s my homie for life, I talked to him a week ago.
Five years from now, where’s David Morris?
D: I’m only gonna say this: No competition with rivals, only competition with idols, D stands for disciple and DFY is the bible. That’s all I can say, that’s all I know. Constant progression and where things go, that’s where they’ll go. All I can tell you right now is that I’m blessed with DFY and I’m trying to go even harder on the next.
I spent the next 20 minutes or so saying my goodbyes to everyone. D tried to convince me to head to Bent Willey’s with him but I knew my night of Red Bulls would’ve turned to my night drinking and being late for work the next morning, so I passed. As I split up from the group and headed back to the parking garage, I felt awesome. Not just because of the interview and how much content I had gotten for this article but because D-Why is the same kid I’ve always known. He’s just a little bit more famous now.
I’m sure the future holds super stardom for D at this point. He’s too stubborn to fail. And for one night, I got to be apart of watching the fuse get lit on his stick of dynamite. Think if you went to interview Drake a few days after So Far Gone had dropped, before everyone knew So Far Gone had dropped. This was that moment for me and I’ll remember it for a long time.
Then again, he might never get as huge as I think he will and I might have jinxed him by writing this piece.
But then again…don’t flatter yourself.