Division One a.k.a. D. One has been at it for 6 years now. Having a late start compared to most people, he started rapping in college when he was 20. He recently moved from Boston to L.A. and began valeting cars at a Mercedes dealership. He ended up valeting a producer’s car, who was part of Upscale Records, gaining him a record contract, a $10,000 advance, national distribution, and a collaboration with one of his biggest influences, AZ. I had a chance to catch up with him and see how things were going so far.
MVRemix: How did you first get into making music and what were some of your musical and non musical influences?
D. One: I was always a music lover, especially hip hop. Started writing around the age of 20 so I’ve been at it for 6 years now. My major influences as far as rap were/are AZ, Nas, Pun, basically mid nineties era artists.
MVRemix: I know on your album you have a collaboration with AZ, how does it feel to have worked with one of your big influences? And now that you’re signed to a record label, how do you see things differently? How has it changed/altered your perception of how you were doing things?
D. One: It’s a good feeling man. AZ has been my favorite rapper for a long time. It was an honor to vibe with him in the lab. Accomplishments like that keep me motivated. I got signed to an indie label: Upscale Records. Even with the 10,000 advance and the distribution, I know I still have to work just as hard as I ever have.
MVRemix: How did you end up getting your foot in the door with Upscale Records?
D. One: I actually valeted the Record Label owner’s car at a Mercedes dealership out here. I moved out here from Boston about a year ago.
MVRemix: Do you plan on staying in LA for a while or moving back to Boston?
D. One: I actually just got back from a trip home to Beantown. I was featured in a couple major newspapers and had a Boston record release show. I have a year contract, so we'll see what happens. One of the major goals of the label is to get me a major label deal. I have an LA show/showcase coming up soon too.
MVRemix: What can we expect from the release of your new album, and how is it going to be different than your older albums? Who's producing it? I know a lot of rappers nowadays that do a lot of producing themselves, i.e. Aceyalone, Pigeon John, Living Legends, etc. Do you do any producing yourself or making beats at all?
D. One: The album was released independently in June before I was signed, and those tracks played a major part in getting Upscale's attention. We are re-releasing the album next month after touching up some of the tracks, and adding a track with Canibus. The major differences in this project is that it has a lot of big names on it, and it will be distributed internationally instead of out of my trunk and off my website [laughs]. I know someday I will produce, but I don't have time for that right now. I'm really focusing on my writing and the business side of things. I always play a major role in overseeing where the drops should be, song arrangement, and what beats to use and all that. I'm right there through all that.
MVRemix: This is the start of a new step, and the end of an old one. Where do you see yourself going from here?
D. One: Some light has definitely been shed, so I feel you on that. I’m working on new joints to shop to the majors and waiting for "Second Nature" to hit the stores. I have proved on a small scale that I just need to get this music in the right hands.
MVRemix: When most musicians become big in the industry, they seem to bring some of their friends up to the top with them. Who are some people that have stuck by your side and you think have skill?
D. One: As far as artists, if I ever blow, my man Lace Payne will have a ticket and a contract waiting for him. I have a strong hometown following, but as far as doing the Entourage thing, my girl and my brother will be right here when it happens, and a couple close friends
MVRemix: You had a crew a while back, didn't you? Who was in it? Any chance of it getting back together or starting another group or do you just plan on doing a solo thing?
D. One: I'm staying solo.
MVRemix: Well thanks for your time, any shout outs, thank yous? And any place people can go check out your music?