An Interview With Detroit Rap Phenomenon DREW PARKS!
Posted On 25 Jul 2016
Drew Parks is a hip hop/pop artist, producer and songwriter from Detroit.
Known for his witty lyrics as well as rhythmic production, his style can be described as “rhythmic rap with flavor.”
His sampler album features “We Love Them” ft. Fatman Scoop, “Put It On Me” ft. Omar Aragon’s & “Like A Fool”
He has performed alongside the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Timeflies, Hoodie Allen, Gym Class Heroes and B.o.B. MTV labeled Drew as “Up Next”.
Respect Magazine called Drew “Detroit’s Rookie of the Year.” Vibe Magazine referred to Drew as a “Detroit Rap Phenom.” Drew’s music has been featured on ESPN’s First Take, Sirius XM Shade 45, MTV On Demand and Billboard Magazine
BBC 1Xtra selected Drew Parks to represent Greece as one of 32 total hip hop artists around the world to record a “World Cup Freestyle” for each of the 32 national teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Follow Drew here: drewparks.com twitter/soundcloud: drew parks facebook.com/drewparksmusic
Learn more about Drew Parks in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! How’s 2016 treating you so far? How’s your summer been going? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you?
Thanks for having me! The summer has been going great so far, I’ve done a few really dope shows, and have just been making a lot of music. We’ve been really pushing my single “We Love Them” with Fatman Scoop, and it’s been getting a great response so far, so I’d say overall the summer has started off well!
One of the best highlights from 2015 for me was getting in the studio with 88-Keys when I was on the east coast. He’s definitely an inspiration to watch work in the studio, and we ended up making a song “Bad Man” which is on my Soundcloud. Another cool highlight from 2015 for me was performing out in Phoenix, AZ at some clubs during Superbowl weekend. While out there, I also attended a Kevin Hart stand up show and performed at his after-party and was able to meet him. His show was hilarious!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
The first thing I ever wanted to be was a cartoonist or a children’s book illustrator. I always loved drawing and art, especially if it was part of a story. I’d always be doodling in class throughout elementary school. I started getting exposed to hip-hop around the same time, at around age 8 or so. One memory that stands out to me was when I was around 9 years old listening to Bow Wow’s first album; I would lay on my bed in my room and have printed sheets of paper with his lyrics on them that I would be trying to memorize. It sounds so stupid now but at the time I was obsessed with memorizing lyrics and flows; it probably subliminally helped me learn how to write and structure my own songs.
What do you think it is about Detroit that produces such high caliber musicians? Why does that city in particular foster such musical talent?
Detroit is a very hardworking, blue-collar city. Historically it has been one of the biggest manufacturing cities in the nation. The city has had its highs and lows, and throughout all of that, music is what has kept people going. Even right now, Detroit is a time period of revival. I live about 20 minutes from downtown Detroit, and you can really feel the energy amongst the city and surrounding areas. I think it’s very inspiring, and all of that lends itself to great artistic creativity.
I’m curious to know how you came up with your style of rap, your “rhythmic rap with flavor” as you call it?
Well my music is considered rhythmic because it is usually fun and upbeat, and many of my songs are easy to dance to, etc. Recently I’ve been adding the “with flavor” part. (Laughter) It basically means that I try to include worldly influences into it. Growing up I listened to a lot of Reggae music, Brazilian samba music, bossa nova, etc. I’m also of Greek heritage and have been exposed to quite a bit of Eastern European and Middle Eastern music. All of those influences are what I say gives my music a bit of a different flavor than what you’d normally hear on the radio.
What was the inspiration behind the songs on your “Away We Go” sampler?
Lately I’ve been experimenting more with dance music vibes, and have also tried to be even more melodic with regards to singing and stuff. So, I think “Away We Go” is a perfect introduction to that side of me, and also gives listeners a good idea of where my sound will be going in the future. The inspiration came from my everyday life and things I go through. There are feel good songs, party songs, as well as break up songs and things that are more personal too.
You have performed with some incredible acts like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, B.o.B and others. What experience really stands out to you the most?
All three of those shows you mentioned were incredible experiences and were amazing shows. But if I had to say one that stood out the most, I’d have to say the Kendrick Lamar show I did at The Fillmore in Detroit. The Fillmore is a great venue and the crowd was really hype that night, and I think it was one of our best performances. Also, one of my favorite performances was when I opened for Timeflies up at Michigan State University. College girls were going crazy and it was an outrageous show.
What was it like recording a “World Cup Freestyle”? How did you get chosen by BBC 1Xtra to do that?
That was kinda crazy! I don’t even know how we got contacted, but my manager got an email one day from a woman who worked for BBC 1Xtra about participating in the World Cup Freestyles they were doing for the World Cup in Brazil. I represented Greece (my heritage) and did a verse for the Greek national soccer team. It got posted on the BBC 1Xtra site and I think they aired it as well. It was super dope because I love watching the World Cup and I was very honored to get involved in any way.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
My favorite artists are Bob Marley, Kanye West, Eminem, Royce Da 5’9”, Big Sean, 2Pac, Jay-Z, Sergio Mendes, Diplo, Dr. Dre, Akon, and many more. I’d really love to work with Big Sean and Diplo! They’re the most influential to me at the current moment.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
My music is mostly about my own life and daily emotions. My message is always to be true to who you are in your life, and enjoy yourself along the way. I want to make music that makes people want to party, dance, laugh, cry, have sex, fall in love, and feel something!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Stay tuned for new music on the way! Also will be dropping the “We Love Them” remix soon! Check out my Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/drewparks