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On the Rise: Dean Dollars

By The Rap Scout
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

Currently, Dean Dollars is working on his album, Money Over Sleep. A native of England, Dean Dollars is now in North Carolina and is working on several projects. Aside from his musical projects, Dean Dollars is also the head of his own company, Burn Money Entertainment.

Dean Dollars has an unusual background, as he was born in England and never heard hip hop music until he was eleven. However, upon hearing Tupac Shakur’s “Wonder Why They Call U Bitch,” Dean was inspired to become a rapper. As a client of Randy McCoy’s Bottom 2 da Top, Dean Dollars is making major moves.

Recently, Hip Hop Vibe spoke with Dean Dollars about his future plans.

Read the entire interview below:

What was it like growing up in England? It was different, both musically and culturally. There are not too many black people over there. When I first came to the United States, I did not even like hip hop. All I had heard was Will Smith. Originally, I was interested in Damon Albarn’s music, the head of the Gorillaz. Their mass media and everything is different.

Do you prefer living in the United States over England? Yeah man, the mentality is different over here. Even the health care system, and in America you are made aware of the real world earlier. While America gets a bad wrap from the other countries, there is no better place to be. I have the American drive.

When you first heard Tupac Shakur, did you decide to be a rapper then? No, I was just really blown away and I was sucked into hip hop then. I was really caught up in the Biggie/Tupac feud and I grew up not liking Biggie. But, as I got older, I learned to appreciate all the different rappers in the game. I knew I wanted to get into music, myself, when I was fifteen. I was heavily inspired by the New York movement, before I grew older and developed my own style. When I learned to make beats, I was able to fully express yourself. To me, Tupac was the biggest inspriation and the most well-rounded rapper.

Did your England background have an effect on you growing up? Musically, I was aware of different genres of music. I always knew all the international stars, it affects my album, I sampled The Beatles on my album. Growing up over there, I heard a lot of their music and I see it as an advantage to be able to tap into my England roots.

Why did you name your album Money Over Sleep? It is just the period I was in. A year ago, I was on the grind and sort of desperate. The only thing that could save me, at the time, was money. I wanted money so much, I could not even sleep. I just had that ambition, in North Carolina, you see a lot of people like that and that’s what it was for. I definitely think I am a different kind of artist, I touch on a subject and then ask the listeners’ opinion.

Do you see any comparisons to yourself and Ace Hood’s situation? I guess, we both have that hustler’s ambition. At the same time, I am not trying to take away from his shine and we do not have much in common on the music side. We went through the same situation, but we are in two completely different musical lanes. However, I do listen to Ace Hood’s music. I represent Fayetteville, NC, but I will never forget England.

Can you tell us about some of the songs on the album? I have this song called “Funny Paper,” I sampled The Beatles. I talk about having a job and not having gas in my car to go see ladies. I actually went to college for two years and I had a loan out, that’s what the job was for. During this time, I did not even have money for the club, so I stayed home a lot. Still, I bet there are more broke people than rich people. I am not the type to try and stunt on people.

How do you feel about the overall “money rap” genre? It’s good, it does what it is supposed to do. J. Cole is from the ville and I think he is one of the best rappers in the game. However, I do not think he would jump into the “money rap” game, because of his style. Not trying to brag about myself, but I am willing to change lanes at any time and “money rap” is one of those lanes. On my album, I have all these different styles.

So, how do you feel about school being the key to success, do you believe it? It depends on each person to define their success. If you want to be in music, you do not need a degree. You do not need a degree for someone to tell you you’re a good rapper. But, if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, you have to obtain a degree. I always wanted to be a rapper, but my parents wanted me to go to school and I went to school for accounting, I did not want to be an accountant, so I went after what I did want. I am not saying not to go to school, because it is something good to fall back on. J. Cole, he has a degree, so it is good for those who want it. Looking back in history, many of the best were self-taught.

How did you link up with Bottom 2 Da Top? I have been doing a number of local shows. I noticed people in the crowd and I met Iraq (Randy McCoy), as he was looking for more artists. We both deal in the music industry, so I decided to deal with Iraq. He’s driven like me, so it was a good move to work with him. It’s easier to align, especially in a state like North Carolina, so now I am taking it from the bottom to the top.

Can you tell us a little bit about your own Burn Money Entertainment label? That’s the label I’ve had, even long before Young Money. Burn Money is just that ambition, I want to have enough money, so I could afford to burn it. Through the label, I have a number of artists signed and they are all working on new projects. I have a lot of younger people signed to the label, as well. Burn Money is a label, but is really more of my crew. Check out Wise Words, he is dope.

Will Wise Words be on the album? He will likely be on this song I produced called “38 Special,” which will be on my album. It’s a crazy sample and the concept is off Ocean’s Eleven. It would be hot if we rapped about a robbery and doing it in 38 bars, I thought it would be cool for the people to listen to. In current rap, rappers are spitting 12 bars and he’s giving 38. Wise Words also has a song called “Lost Without You” for the females.

Do you have any shout outs? Everybody trying to get it in Fayetteville. Everybody who has haters and fake friends, and people who are trying to get this paper. I have no rivalries or enemies, I wish them all luck.

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