The Knux with Kidz in the Hall, Jealous Monk and Dee-1
9 p.m. Thursday
Howling Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-9653; www.howlin-wolf.com
David Augustine, the 23-year-old local rapper better known as Dee-1, is going to spend less time with some of his young fans. He's leaving his job teaching at a Baton Rouge middle school to concentrate on his music career full time.
"The kids were a little hurt that I wasn't coming back this year," he says. "But the pace of my career justified it." Setting aside his interest in teaching affected the rapper deeply enough that he recorded a song for his students called "The Announcement": "Now I've got a vision worth more than green paper/ So I'm resigning. Now I'm a full-time dream chaser/ My friends say 'Man, you got a job with good benefits!'/ I'm like 'Yeah, but when I blow, the hood benefits.'"
Dee-1 has drawn a young fanbase beyond local schools. Together with Dr. Rani G. Whitfield M.D., aka "Tha Hip-Hop Doc," he travels the lecture circuit, mentoring kids through rap music. The duo's efforts have landed them on CNN and the pages of Billboard magazine. Dee-1's youth, positive outlook and the fact that he doesn't curse in his lyrics mean he's often booked to perform at schools and youth functions. But he is quick to point out his wider appeal. "I am first and foremost a true hip-hop artist who plays clubs," he says. He resists being lumped with pop acts like Soulja Boy and Bow Wow merely because kids like him. "In the same way some artists are big on the strip club scene — which is a whole other world from the regular clubs — I just figure schools are one scene I'm big in," he adds.
Dee-1 is at the forefront of a large group of talented and popular local lyricists putting forth positive messages detailing both the city's street struggles and other real-world issues. He has penned positive anthems including "Young Obama," "One Man Army" and "I Hate Money." In his brief career, he's released three mixtapes plus his recent remarkably creative and laser-focused first album David and Goliath. The strength of his recorded work has earned him gigs opening for Lil Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, Juvenile, Musiq Soulchild, Akon and Lupe Fiasco, among others. He opens for The Knux this week.
When performing at small clubs, Dee-1 is backed by a DJ, but for most of his shows, he works with the band Eu4ria, which provides drums, keyboards, guitar and even violin. The sets are often broken up by appearances from the New Era Brass Band. Live, New Era helps perform Dee-1's rap re-working of the classic New Orleans second-line anthem "Rebirth" (which features the Rebirth Brass Band on David and Goliath).
He worked with trumpeter Shamarr Allen on a new song, soon to be available on iTunes. The two hope to tap into enthusiasm for the New Orleans Saints with "Bring Em to the Dome," a brass-band/rock/hip-hop mash-up.
While he focuses more on recording, Dee-1 will continue to contribute to education efforts. He is the official spokesman for the New Orleans' based Hip-Hop for Hope organization, dedicated to helping raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness and education.