Brandun Deshay when he raps, Deshay Ali when he produces a bit - whoever this kid is, he's someone to look out for. He’s from Chicago, but doesn’t really have that ‘Chi-town’ sound, he’s different. If you’re in tune with the rap scene right now you know that the word “different” is starting to become a cliché, but for Brandun it really applies. He’s got some great opinions on where reality and the world of Pokemon meet and how the fathers of hip-hop just need to let their kids take the car out once in a while. If Kid Cudi is “the man on the moon” and Lil Wayne is a “Martian”, then Brandun must be out of this galaxy.
(This interview is barely edited; I’m just anal about apostrophes)
Ryan: Firstly, I can't seem to find it anywhere, how old are you?
Brandun: Ha dang. It’s prolly cuz this is only my 3rd interview… but I’m 19yrs young.
Ryan: What was school like for you? Were you a quiet guy or all over the place?
Brandun: Well high school, I was definitely a socialite. People knew me, but I ain’t know them in a good way. I don’t know how either, cuz I ain’t party AT ALL really.
Ryan: Are you still in college, and what are/were you taking and how have you found it?
Brandun: Yea, still in college. At Columbia, the Chicago farm for talent. I’m doing marketing for unknown reasons. My dude Big Wiz told me it’s a smart major to take. Originally, I was a pharmacy major, but something weird happened and I ended up here.
Ryan: Music, not just rap - how did you know it was your thing, because your stuff sounds like it's made with ease; a natural thing.
Brandun: God. I really ain’t have no say in this, my life is still on autopilot. It’s crazy weird and stressful. So, yea, it’s natural in the sense that I have no control.
Ryan: You're pretty damn young for getting into the game (referencing Pokemon cards and whatnot) - what keeps you courageous in such an intimidating system?
Brandun: I don’t really think. I’m pretty sure when I succeed it’ll be with the people and not with the artists. I don’t fit into the mesh of the hip hop artists now. My sound correlates, clearly. Contrary though, my mindset is totally different. Plus I have a theory on how Pokemon is relative to life. Ha that’s for another time though.
Ryan: Besides being a talented rapper, you produce some wicked stuff. What are your most used instruments, programs, and/or gear?
Brandun: Imagination. Ha simply. I use Fruity Loops, Reason, my guitar, my mouth, piano and…my friends.
Ryan: Brandun Deshay raps, Deshay Ali produces. Are there any other distinctions between the two names and roles, and why are they distinct in the first place?
Brandun: Yea. DeShay Ali remains in music forever and is the normal kid. Brandun DeShay will most likely pull a Lupe and quit before agrees that he should. Not sayin I’m skitzo, but I have two easily distinguishable moods.
Ryan: You've started to work with Charles Hamilton, how'd you meet him and get this collaboration going?
Brandun: I wish I could tell you. Ha Someday after a GRAMMY or right before one, I’ll spill the beans. But the collaboration is due this month. He really liked this track off Vol. 2 that I sent to him waaay before it dropped.
Ryan: What's some music that you've found yourself inspired by in the past?
Brandun: So many. Everything my dad played me since I can remember. Basia, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, John Mayer still, Hi Five. That’s just a few.
Ryan: I saw a picture of you younger, surrounded by Sega Genesis games - why does it seem like every rapper had specifically a Genesis, and for that matter, what are some of your favorite games, old and new?
Brandun: What’s funny is…that picture was taken in December. HAHA that was during Christmas. I don’t know if you noticed the tree. A lot of cats had SEGA, so it’s like asking why most rappers had Jordan’s. I don’t play new school games, so honestly Playstation was the last system I got into. Favorite game hands down, that I play while I come up with raps and listen to samples is Streets of Rage 2.
Ryan: There's something you call Operation: Rare Candy (I'm noticing the Pokemon trend now..), can you explain what this is?
Brandun: YEA. Ok so this is a part in the book Imma write about how Pokemon relates to life. Operation Rare Candy is growing very quickly. It started in March when I decided to do music for life. I rapped and produced at a ridiculous volume and studied other music artists hard. This made my talent in music grow mad quick, like rare candy, and in my opinion, I’m ready to take on a Charizard like Jay Z or a Blastoise like Kanye.
Ryan: You've got your blog that you update frequently, sharing what your day was like or what's on your mind. I feel like the artists who have this connection with their audience are the ones who really make a difference in the world (as narcissistic as Kanye can be, he updates his blog probably 5 times a day). How do you feel about this direction music is taking? Where you can just drop an email to your favorite artist and actually expect a human response back.
Brandun: I think it’s either really ingenious or deceiving. Album sales will prolly rise cuz you feel as a fan, you’re also a friend. You wouldn’t bootleg your friend’s album I’m sure. I do it cuz I’m actually a socialite, so the fact that people ACTUALLY dig my music, I wanna meet em and thank them for taking time to listen. I wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for them. I’m not clever. I’m just honest.
Ryan: Obviously, hip-hop has always played a huge role in the diversity of music, but rap is becoming clearly the big thing right now (It seems like this happens when the underground and mainstream scenes are equivalent with their dominant sound). It was recently indie music, but I get the sense that's dying down, now it's this new wave rap sound. What do you think brought this on? Why now?
Brandun: Hm. I have no idea. I feel like this happens to all genres when they begin. It starts one way and ends in another; same with people. Hip hop is like a child: the fathers, or forefathers like Nas and Jay and RUN DMC to name a few, look to it like something they raised. So now that it’s growin up and bout to graduate jr. high or whatever, it’s asking for the keys to go out with the other genres to the movies. Those old bastards still look at it as a kid, their kid so they say things like…Hip hop is dead. And the other parents, like Jay, rather let it do what it wants and be apart of it, even though it’s WRONG, rather than not be a part of it at all. Hence why he still talking bout what everyone else is talking bout after all these years. He ain’t really grow up either. You know, parenting is bout raising your kid and raising yourself, to me. I hope I’m explaining it right. I’m a better speaker.
Ryan: Do you have any plans for the future, upcoming mixtapes? - I can't wait to hear more of your stuff in the future.
Brandun: Thanks dawg. I’m working on a Volume 3 or some other tape right now. I got some backing for it, so I’m real focused on that. Other than that, I’m just working on meeting the right person that can get me major distribution. I’m ready to put together something for the world. I’ve outgrown what I’ve become.
A big thanks to Brandun for some great answers, and best of luck in the future!