Devin Burgess is a hip hop artist from Cincinnati, Ohio.
After releasing several projects such as mixtapes and collaborative EPs, the rapper is now unveiling his first album entitled “Trash”, released on September 25th.
The debut album is a 15 track album that features various artists like D-Eight, Miir, Dayo Gold, JayBee Lamahj & more.
“What you are hearing is a collection of songs that I’ve just been sitting on over the past 2 years. “Trash” was me emptying my hard drive. These were what I considered my “throw away” songs,” explains Burgess.
The Cincinnati-based artist has just released “Bounce Back” as the first single off the project.
“Trash” is now available worldwide.
My name is Devin Burgess. I’m an emcee/producer/engineer from Cincinnati, Ohio. And I’m ready to leave lmao.
What’s your story?
I don’t really know what my story is. Like I feel like I’m the most regular person that just so happened to be blessed with a talent for rapping. lol I got into music by producing before rapping. I wanted to be a producer and a DJ. This was around when I was like 13 and all that equipment is expensive. My dad bought me FL Studio 8 for my birthday one year, and that was my introduction into making music. I hung around some “rappers” when I was in junior high so I would be the one to make a beat or beat box when they was trying to get a cypher going. One day in school, my homie Breon was just like, “yo you should write a rap.” I listened to him, went to my next class and wrote to no beat while I was supposed to be taking notes lol. I came back to him at lunch, rapped my rap, and he thought it was dope! Encouraged me to do it some more and I’ve been rapping ever since. I put out my first body of work on my birthday of my senior year of high school called “The Elegant Project” in 2012. Over the years I’ve just been periodically releasing music. Not just raps. I put 2 instrumental albums out.
When did you start feeling connected to music?
I feel like it’s cliche to say that I’ve always had a connection to music, but I really have lmao. I don’t know. I’ve just always been in tune with it. As I get older and remember things about my childhood, at lot of my memories are music related, and it makes me believe that I’m really supposed to be doing this.
What did you grow up listening to?
I’m 24 and have the worst memory of all time. I’m really an old man. But I can’t really remember what I listened to. But I was free to listen to whatever I please in the 2000s. In like 03 or 04 I was REALLY into Kem. He’s a neo-soul artists. When i was in junior high I listened to a lot of Jazz and Soulja Boy lmfao. I was really into Art Tatum, Sun Ra and Ahmad Jamal. I didn’t have an ipod but I had a CD player that I carried PROUDLY AND FAITHFULLY and I listened to Crunk Juice by Lil Jon & The EastSide Boys 80% of the time I was at school as well as a plethora of mix cds. I’d literally get in trouble by my dad for making so many mix cds lmao. I got into 9th Wonder super heavy. That was my production style of choice so I got into his catalogue. I faithfully played Little Brother. I remember my dad playing a lot of Ice Cube, No Limit, and just random music he got from mixtapes.
When did you know music was more than just a hobby?
I always knew I had something special and I was way more talented than my peers rapping growing up. Not to take anything away from them because they were talented as well. It’s just that I always knew that i was a little more advanced. I never tried to be anything I wasn’t. When I released The Elegant Project and I was able to hear the whole thing back in full, I felt like I was meant to do this. Looking back on it, the execution was TERRIBLE, but you can hear my potential in what I was TRYING to do. So really, after I dropped my first body of work back in 2012 .
You released various projects before releasing this new album. How did your sound and artistry evolve over the years?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. I feel like I’ve definitely gotten more polished. I feel as if I have more of a balance in my music now and I’m not so worried about just rapping my ass off all the time. That’s all I ever wanted to do was just RAP. Whereas now I can still rap my ass off, but still write songs out of said raps. So that’s what I mean by balance. Being able to be as lyrical as I want to be or feel I need to be and still make a really dope song out of it. I pride myself and I joke around because my love songs have bars in them. lmao I just think that’s hilarious. I guess that’s another form of growth as well. Like I feel like over the years I’ve been able to really grow into myself and share my personality through my music.
What can you tell us about your new album Trash? Who did you work with?
The way Trash came about is hilarious to me. It’s been the most unorthodox and effortless body of work I’ve ever created. These songs are just songs that I’d been sitting on over the last 2 years. At the top of this year, I was promoting for a project called “I’m Retied.” All I did was talk about that and retired related things just to build hype. Well while I was working on I’m Retired, I was also just making these miscellaneous songs that had no ties to a specific project or I’m Retied. I was just holding on to them, not dropping them or anything. June 2018 is here and I’m Retired still isn’t done and I didn’t want this year to pass without me dropping SOMETHING. So I was like, I’m going to drop a project with all of my “throw away” tracks and call it Trash. It was literally that simple. The name is also reflective of the culture as well. We live in a day in age where consumers digest music so quickly and determine a song or albums value instantly. Something is either a classic, or something is trash. THE FIRST DAY THAT SOMETHING DROPS. And to me, calling my own work trash is just funny. Like who does that? lmao So to have a really dope body of work under that name is just dope to me.
You have several collaborations on this album. How did these collaborations come about?
Man. I do my collabs as organically as possible. I don’t ever force anything. The song has to feel right. I have a really big thing for voices, and if I don’t hear your voice on the record then you can’t be on the record. lol I reached out to everyone and was basically like yo, I have this beat or song that I think you’ll dig, and they all dug the songs lol. Like everyone I reached out to first was on the songs. I didn’t have to replace anyone or anything. I’m pretty in tune with the other artists in Cincinnati, so I know what people would sound good on. Being an engineer has made me have a good ear for things like that. I’m very fortunate.
What are the things you are looking when you do collaborations like these?
Usually, as long as you voice sounds like it’s supposed to be there. I’m down. I work with like minded individuals that are all extremely talented. I just gotta make sure the vibe is right. It’s really not much to it.
What message do you want to deliver through this record?
Trust your process. Stay in tune with yourself. Love yourself, even your flaws.
What did you learn about yourself after finishing this album?
That I work TREMENDOUSLY GOOD under pressure. Lmao yo. So Trash came out Sunday September 23rd right? I was still recording, mixing and mastering on the 20th. I learned that I can put a really dope body of work together without trying. lmao God that sounds so cocky, but people don’t understand, as cohesive as this project is, it was by accident. Since I’ve been putting together bodies of work for some time, and that’s the type of artist I am, I know how important sequencing and transitioning is. I just took what I thought were the best songs off my hard drive and just give it to the world. There’s mad songs I didn’t put on here. Like I low key could put out a trash 2 lmao.
What was the best thing about making this album? And what was the hardest thing?
Reflecting back, the best thing about making this album was not having to think about it for majority of the time it was being created. I was just making songs. The hardest thing was worrying about it getting distributed on time since I was STILL working on it so close to the release date.
“Bounce Back” is the first single off your latest project. What’s the story behind this song? Who wrote/produced it?
“Bounce Back” is produced by the homie KSG. He’s a New York based producers. I’ve been working with him over the last couple years. He’s been on like 3 projects of mine. We always have a good energy together. I originally released “Bounce Back” on my soundcloud. When I uploaded it, Trash hadn’t existed yet. lmao. Like I said before, I was just making songs not tied to a specific project and bounce back was one of them. I just wanted to release it because I thought it’d be good for people to hear me over production like that, rapping the way I did. People aren’t used to be doing something like that, and I thought it was catchy, so I dropped it lol.
What would be your definition of hip hop?
Hip Hop is everything. If you look around, you are more than likely going to find something that is or has been inspired by hip hop culture. That’s what it is, it’s waaaayyyy more than just a genre of music. It’s a culture, its a lifestyle. It’s how you move. It’s how you talk. Hip hop is black culture. Hip hop is love. Hip hop is my life. I live and breathe this shit and I love it.
What are the things you are the most proud of?
I love this question because I just had a conversation with my mother about me being proud of myself. Up until Trash, I don’t think I’ve really been proud of myself for real. Everything up until this point I’ve debunked as things I was supposed to be doing, so in my mind, it’s no sense in gassing myself up over something I’m SUPPOSED to be doing. With Trash it’s different. I don’t know if it has something to do with me releasing it in time or what. But I’m EXTREMELY proud of Trash. It’s the dopest thing I’ve ever created I feel like. There’s an aura and vibe around it that I just can’t put into words and I think there’s something to be said about that.
What does it mean for you to be an artist?
To be an artist means everything to me. Being an artist is great. It sucks sometimes but it’s great majority of the time lol. With this music, it’s like having a person you can tell anything to at any moment in time and not be judged for what you’re saying in that moment. Of course, you’re open to criticism after you release it. But I’m speaking more so on the moment when its just you and this instrumentation. I’m not the best at expressing how I feel about things in person, but when I write these words, it’s like I’ve never been more clearheaded. Whenever I’m stressed or I’m going through something, I have these words and they bring me closure or they help me to know a little bit more about myself. I find myself writing from my subconscious more than anything. It’s very weird. Being an artist also means that I’m able to connect with people in a way that someone who isn’t an artist may not understand. I love being able to relate and be relatable. It gives me further proof at how connected we all really are.
What defines you?
I have absolutely no idea. lmao I’ve never been asked this question before. I feel like Hip Hop defines me. I feel like love defines me. Anything and everything I do is hip hop and all out of love.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
What’s your purpose?
My purpose is to put music into this world in some way, shape or form. Rapping, making beats, engineering, writing, SOMETHING. I’m supposed to be doing something music related. I love engineering my music as well as other people. It really brings me joy seeing peoples ideas come to life. I love making people laugh and seeing people smile which is why I’m as goofy as I am in real life. So I don’t know. Maybe my purpose is just continue to do positive things? I feel like that’s super simple, but so is life sometimes. Purpose doesn’t always have to be this super deep concept. I’ve often felt like I was put on this Earth to help people. I feel like I don’t have a real answer for this question lmao. So maybe my purpose is to figure out what my purpose is. Hopefully I do before it’s too late.
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