Brooklyn mixtape king and rapper, Deontre Blayz is not stranger to the music scene here in New York. Derick Bowers has been battling rappers since he was a kid in grade school. Growing up in Canarsie Brooklyn wasn’t always a breeze as Deontre Blayz had to make a touch decision between a career on the streets or higher learning after high school. He took the path of higher learning in Washington D.C. while at Howard University. This is his story and it will explain why you need to be on the look out for this ‘blayzing’ new artist.
BE –New York: For people who may not know who Deontre Blayz is, because you’re a legend here in New York – why don’t you go ahead and explain who you are and what you do.
Deontre Blayz: I mean Deontre Blayz is a mixture of a lot of different things. People like to stereotype and I don’t like to be stereotyped as just ‘this rapper.’ I don’t really think that. A lot of people, they try to put rap in a box. And I feel like my job – Deontre Blayz’s job, is to take rap out that box and turn it to real music, you know what I mean? Deontre Blayz is eclectic, he’s intelligent, he’s also street, he’s also club, he’s also feel good, and he’s also content. All the things that makes an artist versatile and relatable to mainstream and also those that don’t cover mainstream flow.
BE-NY: You were featured on DJ Envy and Tapemasters mixtapes. When can we expect your debut album? That’s what I want to know.
Deontre Blayz: I’ve been doing this for a minute… been in it for a while. And I’ve had one mixtape that splashed any ways called The Breakfast which created a lot of buzz, which started the whole internet campaign that my management does for me. And I’ve been getting a lot of buzz for not only writing my music but for the name Deontre Blayz the person. It’s becoming more visual because of the internet. And I dropped the Snares and Heartcares mixtape in February. I heard the consensus was it was a great mixtape, people liked it and people are still bumping it. It’s like we’re trying to constantly feed the consumer that wants to consume every single day. People gonna blog all day everyday. And their trying to get this music. I know we’re constantly giving away music with hopes for us to sell records in the future. I’m working on the Continental records right now. That’s going to be the next joint up online. It’s a sequel to The Breakfast but it’s going to be more eclectic, bigger and a lot of different things people aren’t going to expect. I can’t wait til’ that happens so I can see how people react to it and see what I can do and see what ever buzz is coming.
BE-NY: Your bio mentioned something about a struggle growing up, almost like a fork in the road – of choosing one like versus another. You decided to go down the path of continuing your education by going to Howard University in Washington D.C. There are a lot of people in the music industry – especially rappers – who don’t pursue their education. What’s your thought on this? How important is having an education as an artist?
Deontre Blayz: Just by going to Howard it was an opportunity to network with people that are big in the industry, in Black people’s eyes. I mean any form of entertainment, any field, like Howard produces many of the people who run that field in terms of Black people in those fields. So I mean, Howard is a big entertainment school and it was a nice time out. But speaking that education was essential there – it was definitely essential! I don’t think I would be here, where I’m at and trying to pursue what I want to pursue if it wasn’t for me going away. I don’t know man; a lot of young Kats got it confused. They see rappers on TV and they think this is what it is. A lot of these dudes (on TV) are broke, on the real! A lot of dudes are broke. Once they fame go – once they one or two years of lavish cars and homes and dudes ain’t buying albums no more – once that goes like what are you going to do? And who are you going to be around? It’s like, you go to college you’re going to find other people that are like minded that have the same intelligence, the same drive you do. So these people can end up being your lawyer, your manager, your P.R. (Public Relations). All these people that you need in your corner as an artist are all going to be successful in the industry. Their all going to be in college with you. The best place to find these people is coming up in college, going to a school and trying to connect with other people that’s doing the same thing. So it definitely was essential.
BE-NY: Who have been some of your influences both past and present for you to think about pursuing a career as an artist?
Deontre Blayz: Michael Jackson. Definitely at a young age. Man people have been giving Michael Jackson a bad name because of all the stuff that he’s been doing. Musically there was no artist before him who really made themselves an icon. He changed it all up. Definitely Michael Jackson. Definitely Diddy. Hov (Jay-Z). Being from Brooklyn you look up to Kats like Biggie and Hov. Hov kind of like, did his own thing and kind of like took Brooklyn with him. He has pretty good swag and he’s a good business man. He’s living right now. Beyoncé’s his boo and he’s doing whatever he wants to do. I would definitely love to get to a place like that. Those would definitely be some of my biggest influences. Outside of Hip Hop I would have to say Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, even Ray Sammie – people that I’ve like grew up with.
BE-NY: Please Don’t Stop, Always Strapped, Kill Yourself are some of your songs. How do you come up with the concepts for your songs? I know it has to be hard to do rhymes for some of them over beats that have already been done. How do you make what you do seem so effortless and yet fresh?
Deontre Blayz: It’s like if you’re use to doing something that you’re good at. It’s like if your doing interviews and writing articles and you do that for years and the next thing you know your on Times and People. Doing big things from something you’ve gotten good at. But like when I sit down, I mean, I did it. I can’t write without a beat – that’s another thing – it’s funny when I was younger I used to be able to just write. You know when your younger you ain’t answering to no producers, no beats lined up, you just write whatever comes to your head in the lunchroom. But now I be in the studio so much, I need to hear beats because I like to cater to it. I never understood rappers that write first and then they find a beat for it. Because that’s never gonna sound like you meant for it. I need a beat and then I can just flow. Do like my rain man thing on it and come up with a concept. Come up with the sound, the flow, the concept. Hopefully the hooks and verse. And then I can be able to freestyle.
BE-NY: You’ve opened for artists such as Juelz Santana, Three 6 Mafia, and Young Jeezy. What does it feel like to be on stage and performing?
Deontre Blayz: It feels good man. You know sometimes with all artists they have like they ups and downs on stage. Hopefully you have [like] more ups than downs. But dealing with a crowd, dealing with the mood of the whole venue and the show itself. Doing like a whack show where people hating what’s going on already. Then you go up and they ready to see the main act. But if you can catch the crowd, which most of the time and nearly all of the time I get the crowd onto what Deontre Blayz the artist is and my songs and they can feel it. Be excited. Feel good and do good. And you hold the power to make them feel a sort of way. That’s a good feeling.
BE-NY: What advice do you have for up and coming artists?
Deontre Blayz: Never quit. Quitting is just a guaranteed loss. I feel like as long as you keep doing it, you’ll get to the end of the race, eventually. But if you stop running because the race is taking too long, you’re not going to get to the end. You’re goi
ng to walk in a whole other direction. So I mean like, just keep running the race. That’s all I can say.
BE-NY: How did you get the stage name, Deontre Blayze? Is it like a superhero name kind of like the Danity Kane character? Is it a comic book behind that?
Deontre Blayz: Man, ain’t no comic book behind it! (Laughs) I was ‘Blaze’ for a while. Whenever you hear people refer to me they never said Deontre. It was always ‘Blaze’. My rap name was Blaze for a while. This is when I was younger. But when I started to get more industry wise, I started to talk to some people – A&R’s at Universal and they was like how ‘Blaze’ is so common. They was like you have to change the name or the spelling at least. So I changed the spelling to ‘Blayz’ so it looks different but it basically sounds the same. And then I talked to some Kats at Interscope and they was like you should come up with a new name. I was like I don’t want to come up with a different name. They was like don’t change who you are but try and find a different name to represent who you are. So I thought about it and I just thought… Deontre is my middle name. So I just added it as my first name and ‘Blayz’ was like a second part. Deontre Blayz sounds pretty good. It’s part of my real name. It represents me pretty well. It has a ring to it – a little swagger. So it was a go, we made a logo and there you go.
BE-NY: That’s what’s up and I still feel like it could be a comic book character. Like ‘Deontre Blayz’.
Deontre Blayz: Like ‘Green Lantern?’ (Laughs)
BE-NY: (Laughs) Yeah, and if you do end up doing it, I want to get credit for it as giving you the idea, as the first person who brought it to your attention.
Deontre Blayz: That might not be a bad idea. That might be a good idea. I might look into that.
BE-NY: So where can people check out your music and get at Deontre Blayz?
Deontre Blayz: Follow me at Twitter.com/DeontreBlayz
Listen to my music at MySpace.com/DeontreBlayz
That’s where you can find all the hits. You can get a feel for who I am and people are going to love it. So I expect everybody to go there.