Coming out of the deep dark crevasses of Harlem is DVS. You may not have heard of him yet, but if he has his way, you will, and you’ll remember. DVS is the essence of the New York underground, partaking in the EOW circuit, a Lyricists Lounge type of place that has seen the likes of Pumpkinhead, Poison Pen, Immortal Technique and others come up there or spit lyrics there. Backed by his Overthrow Entertainment brigade, DVS is poised to make some noise on the scene. We sat down with the DVS one and discussed hip hop in general, his Overthrow Entertainment crew and other things….
WYDU: Why don’t you kick the knowledge on who you are and where you are repersentin’?
DVS: My name is DVS and I’m from the Harlem/Uptown area in NYC. The old, porno theatre, fifty cent soda, blunts on the street new york, not the shiny, Disney store, can’t smoke a cigarette anywhere without fed time one. They can Sex In The City every inch of the city, but me and my team will remain Taxi Driver, if ya smell what I’m cookin.
W: Alright, I’ll admit, I’m new to you and your music myself….why don’t you discuss how you got into the game and some of your influences.
DVS: As funny as it sounds I got into the rap game as I was getting out of the New York Hardcore/Metal game. That’s a dangerous thing to tell people, because you run the risk of people thinking you sound like Hatebreed or Metallica with a boom-bap in the background, but with me it was a completely organic transition. Ain’t no Limp Bizkit type frat boy backwards-hat nonsense in my blood, never was on the hardcore side, none now on the rap side.
Anyway, while I was getting my feet wet on the rap side of things, I ended up at this place called EOW (End Of The Weak: eodub.com ), which if you haven’t heard of it is one of the most important things to come out of New York hip hop since the park jams. Basically it’s an open-mic/training ground for up and coming as well as established MC’s, and its been going on every single week for nearly 8 years now, non-stop. Why it ended up being so important for me is that it gave me an environment to sharpen my blades as far as being an MC. If you weren’t swimming with the sharks, you got eaten alive, and that was how I was able to come back week after week sharper each time. Plenty of semi-household names that the hip hop community is familiar with have gotten their start or have benefited from EOW greatly, Iron Solomon, Immortal Technique, Jin, Poison Pen, as well as others, which also gives you an idea of the sharks you gotta swim with to get your head above water.
Personally, my influences have always been those who were ahead of their time, especially Big Pun, all the way to shit like older Cam’ron when he was on the “Confessions of Fire” tip….people who weren’t afraid to do something different, not just to be different, but to legitimately change the game.
W: You are down with Overthrow Entertainment, what exactly is Overthrow Entertainment? What’s the story behind it?
DVS: Oh that’s the million dollar question. Its a long and storied history that spans seven years and three releases. Basically Overthrow Entertainment was a situation I was recruited into during its foundation stages, the founders being Solomon Starr and Majesty. Overthrow was the first to rock “It’s Not Music Its a Movement” back when that meant something. Music was never the final and only goal. There’s a lot of sociological and community interest as well, but the details on those projects are under wraps for now. We’re aging all the secrets like champagne grapes, the end result is gonna be classy.
I talk too much so imma get to the point. Overthrow Entertainment is the TV, you can put down your newspaper.
W: You have a free mixtape out right now, “A Piece of the Action”, who are some of the guests and producers on the project?
DVS: A Piece Of The Action is a special situation in that putting it out, I’m able to raise awareness not only of myself, but of who I consider to be the top shelf of the NYC scene today. Artists like Jess Jamez (who also produced the second single “Can’t Catch Me”), Final Outlaw, Nonezeo and others are on the tape not just because they’re the best at what they do, but because we’re soldiers in the same army, on some Boondock Saints shit.
The producer of the bulk of the original material is Skammadix, Overthrow Entertainment’s resident beatsmith. Skammadix is an anomaly we discovered at a show and he’s shown and proved to an extent unseen by many producers. He has production credits in the coming year for Doap Nixon, Sabac Red, Vinnie Paz, Ill Bill, Army Of The Pharoahs and a whole heap more. He’s one of the secret weapons.
W: I’ve been a fan of Pump
kinhead for awhile now, how did you hook up with him?
DVS: I met Pumpkinhead at EOW, and on Overthrow Entertainment’s second mixtape offering (Majesty’s Heir To The Throne: The Alpha Project) we were on a song together along with Majesty and Poison Pen (who hosted the first two Overthrow Entertainment mixtapes). When he was working on his Park Slope Renaissance volume 2 mixtape, he hollered at me to get on a song and the result is “Power Summit”, a crazy track also featuring EOW Generals Vanguard and Nonezeo. A while after that, EOW was doing a project with a producer from Spain named Hazhe and Iron Solomon was put in charge of the lineup. Having heard Power Summit, he decided to try the formula of me and Pumpkinhead again, and hence “Usually” featuring Arch Rival was born.
W: What are you hoping to accomplish with this project? Why should the average hip hop fan check out this mixtape and your music in general?
DVS: This project’s aim was to finally have a concrete example of some of the things DVS is capable of. I had enjoyed relative shine on the feature spots I had been doing and of course the previous Overthrow Entertainment releases but it was time to give the people a better idea of my whole bag of tricks. Keep in mind, its only a piece of the action, this is barely the tip of the iceberg, but its a well rounded chunk.
The average fan should check it out because if they’re paying attention they’re pissed off right now. That’s how bad this is getting, even the casual listeners are getting bored with the current scene. Believe me every interview I read is on the “Nah but I’m doin it different, I’m changin it all up” tip. And ain’t no one changing shit. Or if they do they change way too much and it gets in the “creative” zone. Ain’t nothing wrong with being creative, but when shit gets “creative”…i think you know what I mean. Piece Of The Action is like nothing you’ve heard before, but its like everything you love. Plus is comes with a free ticket to Disneyland. It’s in there…search hard…if you didn’t find it, you musta dropped in on the floor. Would I lie to you?
W: Sweet! (looks around)….hmmm, nothing. Anyway, you seem to have some pop culture influences on here, from the Britney “Toxic” sample (edit note: It works better than one might think…), which I’ve always thought was kinda dope in it’s own little way, to a “Hotel California” sample from the Eagles, which I think is freakin’ brillant…what is the story behind those joints….and is it something you want to do more of?
DVS: Since Toxic came out I had to hit that beat. It was necessary. I don’t understand how people hadn’t done that yet. Rappers are scared, real talk….If things don’t fit into the “this is how your city does hip hop” box everyone gets nervous. Fortunately that’s never been a problem for me.
Pop culture is something that’s in my blood….I took in far more TV and whatnot growing up than is healthy unless your goal is to create a walking TV show. But it is what it is, and here I am. There’s really no option for me other than to exploit that, and the result has been strangely appealing.
W: What’s your outlook on hip hop, and more specifically, NYC hip hop at it’s current state?
DVS: Hip hop is in a really dangerous state right now, but only because of the situation the music industry is in. There’s a financial earthquake as far as the future of physical music is concerned and right now everyone’s holding onto the doorway until the aftershocks pass. In plain language, everyone’s afraid to take any risks. New York hip hop is a perfect example because regardless of other territories becoming strongholds for rap in general, NY is still looked at as one of the most important braintrusts for new hip hop. But if everyone’s so afraid to do anything, ain’t shit gonna happen. There’s still a large handful of talent in NY, and we’re gonna see that on a global scale very soon…I see a lot of cats on the come up ready to shake the foundation, and others already solidifying their positions. Cats like Stronghold, 5th Column, countless members of the EOW family, the list goes on and on.
W: What does DVS have on his radar for the future? World domination? Big cars? Hot women? hahaha
DVS: DVS is going to hurt a lot of feelings. But its for your own good, trust me.
We have the video for “The Beast” coming out soon, and all sorts of goodness on the horizon…stay tuned to www.myspace.com/dvsvendetta
Also on October 31st, Overthrow Entertainment is kicking off our monthly event at Uncle Mikes (57 Murray Street) in lower Manhattan. The first event is the dual release party for “A Piece Of The Action” as well as Majesty’s “Heir To The Throne: The Alpha Project”. We got Jess Jamez comin through, Homeboy Sandman, Solid Ground…its gonna be something special.
W: Any last words for the readers out there?
DVS: Its a dangerous world out there…in the coming months, Doctors are urging citizens to do self-check ups on who their favorite rapper is. If it’s not DVS, you may be suffering from crazy.