Hailing from Hackensack, New Jersey, Da$h has played his own part in putting his city on the map, releasing stellar projects and making a number of well-known friends along the way. This MC’s CV boasts impressive collaborations with Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, A$AP Mob, Action Bronson, Vince Staples and Ab-Soul, among others.
Since slaying ‘Grown Ups’, on Earl Sweatshirt’s 2015 album ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’, Da$h’s name is quickly gaining further notoriety. Stripped down, his music represents a quest of self discovery in the midst of his hazy, drug-fuelled life. His last few releases – from 2013’s ‘V.I.C.E.S’ to last year’s ’17 More Minutes’ – showcase the 23 year old’s keen ear for atmospherically eerie, boom-bap production and evolving lyrical prowess. The conflict of chasing money and drugs provides an endearing side to his music, but don’t get it twisted, he couldn’t care less about what you think of him.
Viper recently caught up with Da$h in London after performing another sell-out show in the UK’s capital, to discuss the past year, crazy tour stories and trolling his friends…
Welcome back to the UK! This is your third time here, are you a fan?
I really love the UK, I’m even thinking of moving from America and getting my own place here…. I’m just joking. I need a million dollars first before I come over here.
You had a busy 2015, with the release of the ‘Screwface’ EP, followed by your album ‘17 More Minutes’. What, for you, has been the highlight of your career over the past year?
It’s really between releasing ‘Screwface’ and ‘17 More Minutes’. I hadn’t released a body of work for about two years so to drop those two back-to-back and kind of give the fans what they were looking for, then going on the road directly after, that was really something that I needed to do. It was really a fresh start for me…. or more of a revamp.
You’ve released a visual from the album already, for ‘Hello’. Have you got plans to release more videos?
Yeah, we’re waiting to do ‘Runnin’ Round’, and we’re shooting something for ‘Live Nigga Rap’ and ‘RedruM’. There’s a few joints coming but it’s just about timing right now. I feel like if we dropped the visuals along with the audio content and the other shit all at the right time, then all the blogs will take notice and it will all catch wind and blend together. I don’t want to just drop something randomly without it being cohesive.
You’ve had several projects this year, but also H’z Global as a whole have had a lot of projects, with RetcH and $ha Hef releasing as well. You collaborate with them regularly and you’re good friends with them as well. What are your favourite things about them as artists?
They can really rap, better than most of the people who act like they can. They’re really my friends, I grew up with $ha and I’ve known RetcH since we were 10 years old, it helps because whenever we make music together we all naturally gel. It’s not like we have to ask each other what beat to rap over or what type of song we want to make; it’s more, ‘Oh I hear this’. It’s just easier to work with people who you have a natural chemistry with and those are two people I have the most chemistry with.
Do you guys ever have disagreements or issues over beats or anything?
Most definitely. I can’t even remember the amount of times we’ve argued over a beat we got sent. Everyone constantly saying that they did it first. But, you know, the next day will come and it’s forgotten. Or we’ll just throw a verse on a beat to piss the other one off.
Would you guys ever do an album as a collective?
Hopefully, we’ve been thinking about it and talking about it for a while, but we’re all just at completely different stages in our careers. When the time is right, you’ll see it.
Okay. Well what about a tour? Or do you think that would end up getting too crazy?
I can’t wait for that! I really can’t, but they don’t trust us enough yet. If they give us a big enough budget and think of us less like liabilities, me, RetcH and $ha Hef are going on that tour.
You’ve been busy on tour this year with Maxo Kream, who you recently released the single ‘Fetti’ with. Did you guys perform that a lot on tour?
I closed every one of my shows with that song during the tour. It’s just one of those songs that sends people’s energy levels up and where nothing else matters, they all get lost in it. Even when we were making the song we didn’t predict the reception to be like that. We just made it because it sounded cool and catchy and we liked each other’s verses. When we put it out, we weren’t thinking about whose single it was. We just put it out in the streets to see what it would do, and it’s got three million views worldwide! It’s really taking off, but the way it makes people feel is more important to me.
What was the tour like overall? Were there any crazy moments?
There were a few crazy moments but I would say, for my first headlining tour, everybody went home, nobody went to jail, no one got hurt, all the kids went home happy. Everything went smooth, even though it was kind of rough – we slept in fucking roach motels but we got it done. It was a 16 passenger van with 18 of us. It was rough times but it was worth it, I wouldn’t change anything.
So you’ve done the US tour and you’ve been to London and you’ve performed in New Jersey, New York and LA a lot. Which city is your favourite to perform in?
London right now. I actually can’t believe the love I got the other night, I really can’t. The fact that I came on stage and there were kids acting the way they did – like they’ve been waiting for me for years – I couldn’t believe it. Especially being a kid from Jersey. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for London and its whole scene and even the rap scene out here. I wish I had more Crazy Titch, Wiley and everything in between. I promise you when I dropped ‘I Luv U’ by Dizzee Rascal, you would have thought it was the first night the shit came out the way kids were reacting.
This is an extract of an article from the SS16 issue of Viper. Buy the SS16 issue of Viper Magazine with Novelist on the cover via BigCartel.
Photos by Jimmy Cortez
Words by Yemi Abiade