It’s not every day you get a shout-out in a hip-hop song, but this reporter did.
It’s right there in “Celebrate,” a song by Raleigh rapper Drique London, from his 2015 album “Sound of the Rising Sun.” The song is filled with London giving props to many people and outlets (including Durham hip-hop producer 9th Wonder, fellow Raleigh rapper King Mez and hip-hop news site 2DOPEBOYZ) for supporting him throughout the years. He gave this reporter love for a 2012 profile piece that was printed in this very paper.
“That write-up was big for me, man,” says London (government name: Madrique Sanders), 25.
For London, he’s always grateful that people are paying attention to what he’s doing.
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“Nobody really has to listen to you,” he says. “So, I celebrate every moment in everything that I do, because nobody really has to pay attention. So, I just really wanted to put out a record and let everybody know who was involved in making me the person that I am today. I just wanted to thank you. And you were one of those people who opened the door. That was my first-ever write-up in a paper.”
London talks a lot about doors being opened for him, especially after the release of “Sound.”
“Like, my life kinda changed a little bit, in a good way,” he says. “I started getting exposed to more people, exposed to more things. I’ve been growing a fanbase – just doing a lot more than I’ve ever done in my whole career.”
After releasing “Sound,” London says he’s picked up fans in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, all the way to South Africa.
“Like, ‘Sound of the Rising Sun’ was, I can say, one of my breakout projects. It really opened a lot of doors. It pushed me to be a better rapper, more creative, see how far I can take things. And it really opened the door for a new Drique London.”
It also pushed London to the status of headlining his own shows – one of which happens at Kings on Tuesday. Along with performing in the Triangle, he’s also performed at South by Southwest in Austin, and he has taken meetings with some important folk in the rap biz.
“I’ve been in the Def Jam office,” he says. “I’ve been able to just meet people, go to offices of blogs I’ve always looked up to my whole career. It’s just opened a whole new door.”
As of late, it’s been kind of quiet on the London front. Apart from doing a verse on Raleigh rapper NANCE’s “Yogi Berra” last year, London has kept an uncharacteristically low profile. But he says that’s on purpose.
“I’ve been wrapping up my new project. I really just went in after everything from ‘Sound of the Rising Sun,’ like, really started slowing down from that era. I went and locked in and created my new project, and that’s really what I’ve been focusing on right now.”
London says the still-unnamed album, which he worked on with his longtime producer Majestic, is “98 percent done” and scheduled for release this summer. It will be released independently on his D.O.C. (Dreams of Children) Music Group label, which also distributed “Sound.”
London has learned it’s more important to work on your craft than to just be out there hustling with only mediocre work.
“When we first sat down in 2012, I was, like, 17-18 and all I wanted to do was just work, work, work – put project out, put project out, put project out,” he remembers. “And I realized, you know, it’s quality over quantity. And you gotta work smart as well as hard. So, as I got older, I started realizing, man, you don’t have to do as much. I can make a full-quality body of work and have just as big of an impact. So, I’ve been taking my time more with creating these projects and making smarter moves and doing what I do, and the outcome has been better.”
Who: Drique London, with Clavvs and Janxx
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
Details: 919-833-1091 or kingsraleigh.com