This was definitely one of the funnest projects I had the opportunity to be a part of. Late last year, I traveled down to Atlanta, Georgia to work with a small crew on the Derez De'shon documentary, "Pain 2."
We followed Derez all through Atlanta documenting his process and learning about his story. We were invited into his home studio, where he creates music, then followed him to the famous PatchWerk Studios, where he records the final track. On the last day of the trip, we drove to Biloxi, Mississippi to film his performance in front of a live audience.
Prior to this I didn't know much about him, aside from the fact that he had a hit single that I heard everywhere, named "Hardaway," which at the moment of me writing this, has 104 million views on Youtube. It's a song I genuinely liked, but it was easy to cast Derez into the "mumble rapper" category. At the end of the week, I walked away with a newfound respect for him as an artist.
I'm guilty of playing music in the background and not always paying attention to what the artist is really trying to say. Listening to more of Derez's work, I realized there was a lot more depth in it than I originally thought. He was rapping about pain, regret, loss, and fears, things that everybody can relate to on some level. I suppose some could argue that these are common themes in some sub genres of rap, but theres a certain energy and authenticity he brings that doesn't always come through from other artists. Go to spotify and listen to the first verse of "Morton's", and you hear exactly what I'm talking about. Other songs of his, like "Wanna Believe U" and "Too Many Nights" are other great examples. Something I've learned pretty recently is that all great art comes from an emotional base.
One thing he mentioned that I think a lot of creatives relate to is that, when people see you creating good content, they expect that from you all the time, not realizing all the factors that go into it, including being in the right headspace to even start. He also mentioned that when he's making music and lets people hear groups of songs, he gauges their reactions to each one. It's always surprising to him which of his songs people are drawn too, even those in his main circle. I suppose all creatives have a somewhat skewered relationship with their work. Just because we love and appreciate certain pieces, doesn't mean that others will be as drawn to it as we are.
Check out the full documentary below.