Nas concluded that Hip-Hop is dead. Many believe that his statement is true; however there has been a resurgence of prominent lyricism that resonates throughout the underground. Hip-Hop’s life cycle is evolving once again, giving birth to a new breed of emcee. Amongst them is the Iceman, Bobby “W.A.D.D.A ” Drake. This globetrotting lyricist discusses poetry, lyricism and his latest album, “The Dark Side of the Moon”
Where are you from?
BD: I was born in Brooklyn, NY. Then I moved to Houston at the age of twelve, then came to Philly to go to school. I’ve been here ever since.
You’ve navigated the globe quite a bit. Where do you consider being home now?
BD: Every where I grew up and became the man I am now which is Brooklyn, Houston, and Philadelphia. People tell me all the time I should pick one, but nah these places are the cornerstone of who I am.
What or who influenced you to enter the realm of Hip-Hop?
BD: I always loved Hip-Hop from the time when I broke my pops Kurtis Blow 45 record when I was trying to scratch when I was like four. But as far as entering into Hip-Hop, I was always in to poetry. But when I was at Temple I remember when my friend Sam had this freestyle session, and according to him, I dumbed out. He was my first PR man and eventually I started rhyming more and more in college and out. It kinda just happened.
Poetry and rhythmical expression has always been a part of your genetic make-up. You’ve even had some of your work published when you were only twelve years old. How has that experience helped to shape you into the lyricist that you are today?
BD: When I really wanted to start rhyming professionally, which was not to long ago, it gave me courage; a certain [aspect of] validity if you will, knowing that I could write poems effectively gave an incentive want to compete in this game.
You’ve had the opportunity to live in three cities whose musical sounds are widely divergent. How have you been able to capitalize on this fortuitous period in your life?
BD: My childhood and current experiences helped me appreciate music in general, not just Hip-Hop. Plus in hindsight it also gave me and impromptu history lesson over the years of the origins of Hip-Hop both musically and culturally. So I guess it helped [me] capitalize by giving me the tools to create a new sound.
What experiences did you take from each metropolitan area to aid in the formation of your style?
BD: In Brooklyn I remember the late 80’s and early 90’s Hip-Hop scene and how I was child growing up amidst that. Then when I was in Houston, I witnessed the emergence of the dirty south. In Philly, I see the underground Hip-Hop scence bubbling every time I perform. It’s so raw it’s, so hungry and it’s so beautiful. What I do find is a nice niche in all these scenes, and I add my personal experience and creative spin and create something totally new.
You’re current LP “Dark Side of the Moon” consists of fifteen slammin tracks that heads are sure to fide and vibe to. How long did it take for you to construct this album?
BD: Some of the concepts took longer than making album itself. For instance, the track “Herstory” took almost two years in working the concept perfectly, but overall the project it self took maybe 3 or 4 months tops. That’s not that long at all, but I the same time I didn’t want to rush through to make an album.
What message are you trying to convey to your audience on DSOTM?
BD: Hip-Hop Lives in 2009. There’s too much going on in our lives to be one dimensional for any reason, period. I guess that I want my audience to understand I’m throwing out the formula and just putting what needs to be said out.
The album’s first single, “Preaching to the Choir” exhibits your poetic abilities. What prompted you to write this song?
BD: I felt a need to tell my audience that this album, that this LP, starting with that track, was made with them (your average hip hop/ music lover) in mind my people if you will. I just wanted to lay a few issues going on today in the world and relate to what most people see and feel today. In short, I wanted to bring the people 2009 Hip-Hop CNN .
One of my favorite tracks on DSOTM would have to be Underground King. Everything from the production to the flow represents 1998-1994, Hip-Hop’s golden era. Lyrically, the first verse of the song seems to convey the blueprint for your success. Have you been able to follow your blueprint and how successful has it made you?
BD: Yes I have. I really was talking about the hustle of creating not only name for yourself as an artist but as an entrepreneur as well. And right now things are really starting to look good.
Like many emcees of late, you play the role of both producer and emcee. What sparked your interest in performing both functions?
BD: I’ve been trying to find my sound and to increase creativity, so that led to producing. Unfortunately a lot my production will be on future projects.
Which skill would you say that you’re better at?
BD: Emceeing. Not that any of my tracks stink. They don’t, but lyrics are paramount.
Are there any other emcees or producers that are featured on your current LP?
BD: Just me as far emceeing. But production I relied on tracks from Sinima (Google him he’s sick!) and Dub C to name a few.
With a name like Bobby Drake, one would consider you to be a fan of Marvel Comic’s X-Men. What made you decided to name yourself after one of the X-men’s coldest characters?
BD: Big X-Men fan, Bobby Drake’s persona more, so I definitely related to his story line. But it’s only part of the reason for my pen name. The whole pen name is Robert W.A.D.D.A Drake, meaning Ice cold water which I use to define my style by combine Drake’s power with my acronym of water which is actually my motto: Willfully Accepting Duress but Destined for Advancement. I know it’s a bit much but yall can pick at it at any way yall want, it’s cool.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
BD: Life and Death. Simple. You only get so much time to say and do so many things.
How can fans of Bobby Drake or artists looking to collaborate with you get in touch with you?
BD: www.myspace.com/robwaddadrake or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s next for Bobby Drake?
BD: Me and my rhyme partner drew the picture gearing up for our group called the Breadwinnerz LP. But now I’m staying busy hitting up various venues across the country. For more info hit up my MySpace at:
Plus the website will be up soon.
What advice do you have for your peers who are trying to make a career in music?
BD: Love it. Do for the right reasons. Never do a career for just money, that what you got jobs for. Plus work, work, work because if you want success, you don’t have to be the nicest at all times but you can never be the laziest!
If you could sum your musical style up in one word, what word would it be?