Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Diji "Who The F*ck Is Diji?!"

It’s been a week since Diji’s first official mixtape dropped and he’s already playing me new tracks from the next project he has been working on. I tell him to calm down and stay in the moment, but that’s just who Diji is. Migrating from a third world country at the age of 12, he truly embodies the spirit of a kid chasing the American dream. We walked around Downtown LA discussing all sorts of topics from the concept of his mixtape to his love for fashion. Read and you might just find out who the f*ck Diji really is. 

When people read the title of the mixtape, they might think it’s another cliché way to title an introductory mixtape. I have a feeling it’s deeper than that. 
It IS deeper than that. When we decided to make the mixtape and call it Who The F*ck Is Diji?!, it was so that I can introduce myself to people through my strengths and skills in rap, but due to our team's conflicting schedules, the tape kept being pushed back and was constantly pending from being released. This gave me time to write more material, but more importantly, to really find myself as an artist. The mixtape, for me at least, started drifting away from a statement to a question that I asked myself: who the fuck AM I? What kind of music represents me? The mixtape doesn't only serve as an introductory mixtape to people that have never heard of me, but it also helped me find my niche.

I truly believe that finding your niche is very important regardless of what line of work you are involved in. How did finding your niche help with your development as an artist?
I remember my manager asking me during one of our earlier meetings "What is your niche? Why do you rap? Who do you rap for?". I never really was able to answer the question. Not until now, but verbally I still wouldn't be able to. I can definitely answer that question through my music. The wait for WTFID gave me time to really think about what my niche is, and looking into it helped me develop as an artist because now I feel more secured as to what my music represents. I'm more clean-cut and feel like I'm not jumping from subject to subject anymore. I guess you can say that finding my niche helped develop myself as an artist because I found what I represented, and I show that through my music.

Speaking of your manager, how did that relationship come about? 
Well, I had a friend in high school that knew him when he was rapping. My friend introduced me to him, and that was it from there. Having a mentor like him really help develop my skills. To come to think about it, I probably wouldn't be rapping right now if I never met him. Whattup Yanne!

On your track "Lobby Life", you mention that you listen to Waka Flocka and House of Balloons. Those are two completely different genres of music. I'm very interested to know what you had on your iTunes while recording WTFID.
I was listening to a bunch of different shit. My girlfriend introduced me to other types of music other than rap. I was listening to indie, hardcore rock, rap, and all kinds of music. I just became more open minded as I grew older. Listening to different artists from different genres inspired me to take their passion and use it to spark my own. I just love music, plain and simple.

Other than music, what else inspires you not just as an artist, but a person in general?
It might come off as a surprise, but a whole lot of other things inspire me. From shit I learned in my art history class, to the aesthetics of clothing. I try to tie it all together to help me grow as an artist. 

Being that The Common Grounds focuses mainly on men's fashion, what's an essential piece of clothing  that you can't live without?
I'm very big on denim, specifically jeans. I love the idea of being able to transmit my personality into the jeans I am wearing. If you take the time to research the whole idea of denim, it really has its own world. It might seem a little far fetched, but I can relate denim with my music. As I wear my jeans overtime, you can see different stories through the different fades. My music is exactly that. I try to tell stories of my experiences and hope that my listeners can relate.

The world of denim is really crazy when you get into it. It's amazing how dedicated people can be with their jeans. What are some of your favorite brands?
I'm really leaning towards APC and the whole idea of "less is more", but damn they're expensive. I'm a starving artist who goes to community college relying on financial aid. I can't be dropping $200 on a pair of jeans! I'm working on a pair of selvage jeans from GAP right now. They're not APCs, but they're serving their purpose.

Going back to your music, what's next for Diji? 

I have a few projects lined up. I have my 2nd mixtape that I am working on, but I really can't give too much info about that. We still have a few projects we want to do with tracks from WTFID. We recently sat down with Oishi Media to discuss future video plans and finalized a few things. I can't wait to start shooting with them. The next few months should be very exciting!

That pretty much sums up the the interview. Thank you for participating and it truly was an honor to have you as the first feature in our "Artist Spotlight" series. Any last words?
Whattup to the Redlight Music Group fam! A big thank you to my Back2Pluto folks for constantly showing me love. Thank you to The Common Grounds for the feature, and for always giving me style advice! Last, but not least, thank you to all those who downloaded or streamed the mixtape! It really is a blessing for me to able to share my work with all of you. It's to the top from here!

If you've yet to listen to Diji's "Who The F*ck Is Diji?!" mixtape, you can download it here, or if you prefer to stream it, you can do so here.  Also, check out his personal blog, which happens to have a very cool banner that I am extremely jealous of.

No comments:

Post a Comment