Enfield, NC’s Derty Den has had a pretty consistent movement in the Carolinas for some time now. What some may not know of is the business moves "President Gates" (no more calling him Big Gates, at least for now) has been able to make behind the scenes.
With sponsorships from established brands such as Stall & Dean, Flud Watch, Ciroc Vodka and Adidas, Derty Den has effectively managed the art of operating in the corporate world while maintaining relevance in the Carolina streets.
Earlier this month Derty Den, his team plus what seems like all of Rocky Mount, NC (I keed) stopped by the studio for an interview as June’s Featured Artist. He’s prepping for his 5th release, Limitless, scheduled to drop next month. Below are a few excerpts from our interview but you can peep the video above to learn why Derty Den named his last album, Tony Soprano, after an Italian mobster, the concept behind the entire Limitless album, laying a blueprint in the industry, how to gain fans plus much more.
Connecting With The Streets:
I’m the messenger for the streets. The whole game right now is leaving the streets. That’s where hip hop started from, [where people could] actually get away from everything that was going on. I’m like the CNN news reporter, motivation for the streets. I’m the one who makes a person that’s working hard, poke their chest out and feel like somebody stands for us.
On Young Jeezy’s The Real Is Back & If He’s Fallen Off:
I liked the mixtape! I didn’t even know people weren’t feeling it. Win, win win, win win, win! A lot of people lost the focus of actual music these days. Everything is not supposed to sound the same. It’s supposed to be a lot of different elements of music. And what Jeezy’s doing, we need that right now you feel me? Somebody to actually represent for the streets. Everybody’s going pop, running around here with the skinny jeans, the mohawks and all the colors and stuff. I don’t have nothing against it, to each his own, but you need to have a full flavor of different things, that’s what makes it better. At the end of the day when I go to the club, I’m not going to dance to no stinky leg. But when Jeezy come on, I might just pop a bottle or something.
The Importance Of Branding The Derty Den Brand:
Branding, marketing and consistency has been 100% of my whole career. Rikers (of clothing company Stall & Dean) taught me a lot in this game. One of the things that I ran with is “the music don’t count until the people are paying attention”. You can make great music all day but if nobody’s paying attention, it doesn’t even matter. It’s all about the attention that you draw; you can be in the spot, fresh to death popping bottles but if you’re not making any noise nobody remembers you [at] the end of the day. When companies see the attention of the people and the numbers you’re bringing in, thats what draws them in.
The Pressure Of Living Up To Past Success:
I’m returning, and with the success of the Tony Soprano project I dropped in September. It did well, got a good response and sold a lot of units in the streets. But now the pressure is on me, [people are wondering] can I keep doing it? This is my fifth installment.
Crossing Over To Rock & The Meaning Behind "Crazy", The First Single Off The Upcoming Album, Limitless:
It’s the whole feeling of limitless, there’s no bounderies. I’m still going to give people the same typical Derty Den that everybody loves me for, but I’m also going to step outside of the boundries and try a lot of different things. We’re getting a lot of buzz from the streets on that record. But the whole Limitless album will have something for everybody. I’m also on my corporate right now, so I’ll be talking more business too.
On His Business Plan & Success:
I have a wonderful team. Plus it was actually the moment. The same people who didn’t like me winning all those awards, they have a lot to do with my promotion. Once you talk about a person enough, the people want to know what you have going on. And then the momentum in the streets was crazy.