Detroit, Mich., birthplace of Motown music and a plethora of other genres has become a melting pot of young, talented artists from around the metro area. The rap scene around Detroit is booming as more and more lyricists are coming out of the woodwork. The wave of internet websites that allow artists to push their work to millions of people and the use of social networking sites, has increased artists exposure. However, not all of these aspiring rappers are worth the listen.
James Dillinger, or The King James Dillinger (KJD) as his stage name, 20, is not apart of this subgroup. Hailing Warren, Mich., this aspiring artist has set himself apart from more mainstream amateur rappers in the Detroit Metro area.
“When I first started I was stuck in the same boat that most of these dudes are stuck in now as far as following the fads and writing what you think people are going to like. ‘I heard this on the radio so I can write this, this will be acceptable,’” says KJD. “I got to the point where it’s like I am not going to keep on pretending. There’s too much real emotion that needs to come out that I’m not letting out because I am trying to fit into these fads. So I had to start writing the real.”
Not uncommon for most rap artists, KJD began his craft as a poet at the age of 13. It was through his use of poetry that he was able to develop vocalized rhymes he could produce with music. Dillinger feels that rap music is simply poetry with a beat behind, so he felt it was a natural transition.
Dillinger states that Run DMC, Jadakiss, Tupac, Eminem and Tech N9ne are a few of his lyrical influences. The type of music each of these artists has produced has helped him develop his own style of sound and propel himself into a different caliber of rap music.
Michael “Michael John” Detloff”, 25, a former rapper and friend of KJD, says that Dillinger’s work ethic is pure dedication.
“He’s always writing nonstop,” says Detloff. “He’ll call me at random hours of the day like, ‘Hey I just wrote a new line I wanna know what you think.’”
Detroit hip-hop recording artist Adam Reverie, 26, and fellow friend of KJD says that he admires the passion him.
“KJD’s work ethic is phenomenal to me,” Reverie says. “Very strategic and steadfast. What stands out to me most about KJD is the integrity of his music. When you listen to his work you can definitely tell he stands firm in delivering organic hip-hop music.”
He plans on developing a larger fan base that has the same ideals and beliefs as him in fighting fads in rap music. Dillinger states that he wants to bring out people’s true feelings and thoughts about rap music right now as he tries to bring back the original hip-hop sound.
“There’s too much stuff out right now that kids think is acceptable,” Dillinger says. “They see everybody else doing that same style so they follow the fads because it’s acceptable. I refuse to follow any of these fads or touch on these same subjects that any of the guys are touching on.”
KJD says he does not even listen to the radio. He states that he feels it is always the same 10 songs in rotation and they all sound the same and like they do not have any thought put into them. This aspiring lyricist feels he speaks from the heart and the mind that allows him to steer clear of the “mainstream” sound on the radio.
“As far as coming out of Detroit, it’s kind of a bitter sweet thing,” Dillinger says. “We do have our artists that are well known nation wide. Detroit is known as, as far as hip hop, as the city that jocks everyone’s style. We have a lot of artists that just copy everything that they see on TV and the radio. There’s really not much originality coming out of the city. The big difference between me and most of these artist is I don’t talk about things you will see on TV or hear on the radio.”
KJD insists that his reason for wanting to produce music is a contradiction to the words spewed in other artists songs. In fact, when asked that question, he lets out a deep sigh before embarking on his explanation.
“ I could care less about the money or the fame,” KJD says. “I just want to get my word out there, I want to make sure my voice gets heard and what I have to say gets heard clearly.”
Readers can download or listen to his music at Facebook.com/KJD and they can also follow him on Twitter for updates @KJD_Official.