If we ignore the albatross that is Macklemore, Seattle isn’t really known for its hip-hop — Cobain, Starbucks, the Space Needle, sure, but definitely not hip-hop and especially not genre-bending hip-hop at that. Dave B. is looking to change this narrative. Blending hip-hop, soul, funk and jazz with nimble wordplay into a style that is simultaneously relevant and singular, Dave burst onto the scene last year with his debut project, Punch Drunk. This time around, he’s liked up with fellow Seattle native and Soulection producer Sango to present Tomorrow, a decidedly darker but equally intricate, meaningful and infectious collection of songs. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, and Tomorrow is not only a promising leap for both Dave and Sango but a sign that the two of them are slowly but undeniably carving out their own niche in an already crowded genre of hip-hop and soul innovators.
Dave took a few moments while promoting the record to discuss how he and Sango met, his musical inspirations, and the difference between Punch Drunk and Tomorrow.
How did you and Sango initially link up? Did you know instantly that you guys had chemistry?
It was over Twitter, he hit me about my Punch Drunk project and we just went back and forth on how we were fucking with each other… he came over to play some beats and we put it together.
Who are your musical heroes? Is there anyone out today that you’re really fucking with?
Kanye, Andre 3000, Erykah Badu… the list goes on. I’m really fuckin with Alabama Shakes right now though, and Leon Bridges.
The sounds on this album are dark, in a way, or at least pretty subdued, especially compared to some of Sango’s more funky/tropical stuff. What was the sonic vision you and Sango had for this record? How was working together — do you feel like the record is equal parts you and him?
Definitely, I remember him saying he wanted to get me on some harder sounding shit. Punch Drunk was real light as far as vibes so I got to showcase another side of that on this one.
Sango’s beats aren’t necessarily typical hip-hop instrumentals. Did you ever feel intimidated going in over his stuff? Or did it instantly click?
Nah, I’m by no means a typical hip hop artist so it just kinda worked out.
What’s it like being a rap artist from Seattle, considering not too many rappers have paved the way for you? Do you feel like you have to rep harder for your city?
It’s dope, I just gotta stay focused and properly represent. It doesn’t matter where you come from when it sounds good.
Your hooks are so catchy. I don’t know if it’s just your voice or your melodies, but the Tribe flip on the hook for “Help Me Find a Way” for example is infectious. What’s your writing process like?
Shoutout A Tribe Called Quest… I think a big part of finding your voice is realizing what actually works for you. I like to take notes throughout the day but when it comes to putting shit together I just pace the room until it comes out.
Soundcloud and online streaming/discovery has played a big part in both your and Sango’s careers. How do you feel like the internet and online communities/collectives, like Soulection, help out independent artists like yourselves?
It gave me an actual platform, otherwise I’d still be uploading shit to MySpace.
Jackson Howard is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Not Mad. He really needs a job because Not Mad doesn’t make any money.