In The Spotlight: Von Dupree

Happy Friday yall! We have another feature for you all today! As always, if you are or represent an upcoming artist, designer, model, etc., and are interested in a spotlight on the blog, please visit our Features/Submissions page for more information!

Today, we have hip hop artist Von Dupree! The artist began playing the piano around 12 or 13 years old, participating in various recitals and competitions, and also playing and singing in church. "When I was 18, when I went to North Carolina Central [University], that's when I actually started rapping, when I made my first song," Von Dupree said. "From there, it just kind of took off." The rapper listened to and was inspired by several artists including OutKast, T.I., Slick Rick, and especially Tupac Shakur. "Some people may fall in love with Tupac's thug life, the hard part of his music," Von Dupree said of the late rapper. "[For me,] it was more so the way he talked, the poetic parts. Even when he had his interviews, he was talking about things that people never ever said." He also draws inspirations from other genres like rock, country and pop, determined to never limit himself.

Von Dupree released his first mixtape, By God I Am, back in 2010. Putting in hard work and releasing several mixtapes over the next few years after, the rapper is still going strong, having released his most recent mixtape, HIStory in September 2014 (buy it on iTunes now!). "I was really thinking on the music, you know, God's story for me," he said of the title. "From there, I just hit every aspect from that point of view." Having formed his own label three years ago, Dupree Fam Productions, Von Dupree has signed other artists Rio and Unc, who were both featured on the mixtape as well. He also worked with engineer Chaka Harley and a few other producers to develop the project. Check it out below!

Not too long after the release of HIStory, the rapper was signed to Famous Records under Universal Music Group. "My management sent my music and information over to the label," he said. "At the beginning of January [2015], they had emailed back and said that they were interested and wanted to distribute my music." Von Dupree made his deal official on February 17, and released two singles with the next month, "Don't Cha" and "I'm Alive."

Currently, Von Dupree is working on developing and releasing new music for the summer.  "I have so much music that's been done between the release of my last mixtape [HIStory] and the single that just came out," the rapper admitted. He'll also be releasing new music videos so be on the lookout for that! He also has a comedy TV show that he wrote that has gotten picked up as well.

In terms of what sets him apart from other artists, Von Dupree believes his content is what makes him stand out. "My content is not being told right now, especially on the [mainstream] platform," the artist stated. "I have different styles, so whether you listen to straight R&B or you listen to pop artists, I'm going to be able to speak to you." In the future, Von Dupree wants his music to have a serious impact. "It's amazed me how you can affect somebody [with music]," he said. "It's bigger than awards. My goal with my music is to change the world."

You can check out more from Von Dupree on his official website, and hear more of his music on SoundCloud, ReverbNation, and YouTube. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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