Spitters who can freestyle off the top of the dome has always been a move that gets a true MC the respect they deserve. REVOLT’s “Off Top” is here to bring real bars back to the game with Big Tigger, Rapsody and DJ Nyla Symone, as they chop it up with today’s biggest and rising rap stars. Peep the convos here.
On the latest episode of REVOLT’s “Off Top” hosts Big Tigger, Rapsody, and DJ Nyla Simone sat down with YouTuber turned rapper DDG. The Michigan native dropped gems on becoming successful on social media, his own journey conquering the world wide web, his decision to drop out of college and much more.
The “Moonwalking in Calabasas” rapper initially found his fame where many industry hopefuls before him have: YouTube. In 2015, the then Central Michigan University student began creating videos there and ultimately dropped out after finding financial success. He garnered over 2 million followers on his popular channel “PontiacMadeDDG VLOGS.” Nyla kicked started the discussion by asking DDG about his strategy that led to his viral moments.
The rising star said he started creating online content out of curiosity. “It was really something I was just experimenting with,” the 23-year-old explained. “It was like, I was around the age of 17 or whatever, I was just vlogging my daily life. You could see when I was going through college when I moved to Hollywood when I bought my first car. Bought my first house, you know? I think people just really fell in love with my story and seeing me come up.
However, the “Let You In” rapper’s presence on YouTube would soon be no more. In mid-June, the star uploaded a video titled “I Retire” where he announced his departure from the platform. Then, he removed all of his videos.
When Tigger asked why, the rapper stated he wanted to make his music his main priority. “I got a passion. This is like really what I want to do. And, you know, I feel like, some people can juggle both, but it’s like why put that extra stress on myself.”
DDG’s path to stardom has essentially become the new normal for aspiring entertainers with social media being the driving force for almost everything from branding to growing a sturdy fanbase. Still, for many of the 2021 XXL Freshmen’s older peers, keeping up with the changing times has proven to be a bit challenging.
As someone who has managed to leverage social media to his advantage, DDG offered some advice to seasoned artists who may be looking to do the same. “Really you just gotta be yourself, entertaining, and consistent,” the rapper told Rapsody. “‘Cause everybody wanna be a social media star, you know what I mean? Everybody wanna post pictures just to see how many likes they get. Everybody wanna do it. So, it’s like a lot of competition. So I feel like consistency — that’s what I always tell people.”
However, the social media guru cautioned that building a following was challenging — even when the other requirements were met. The rapper even admitted to purchasing subscribers just to conquer “the numbers game.”
“They get your numbers up, but you don’t get no engagement,” the rapper explained. “So, it’s like, it’s no point. There’s people; they got like 20 million followers but get 100,000 likes, you know what I mean? You can fake numbers, but you can’t really fake engagement.”
“ feel like I haven’t gave people a reason to not like me, you know? And just showing my personality is how I got here. So, when people know I’m making good music to go with that. So, it’s like, why wouldn’t I be on that list? ...So, I rather be picked by fans than someone in an office.”
Still, the rapper says being on the XXL Freshmen list was one of his “biggest goals.” “I’m like a big fan of the list. I used to watch it every year, and I would discover new artists off of it, and I would start actually listening to them,” he explained. “Like, this is what I need. I need somebody to see me and really look at me as just an artist, so I can give that same effect it gave on me with the artist that I watch.”
With all the success the artist has seen thus far including snatching a spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, earning a platinum plaque, and gaining millions of views on YouTube thanks to his record “Moonwalking in Calabasas,” DDG’s effect is evident.
“I pull up to the studio. It was late at night. I kid you not, it took me like 25-minutes just to make that song,” he revealed. “You know how you go in the studio sometimes, and you just got it? It’s no writing block—none of that... It was one of those nights, I went in there, and I was just messing around….”
Later on, Nyla asked DDG about his experience in school before shifting gears into the music industry. Ahead of devoting his time entirely to his artistry, the young emcee was like any other kid, going to school, getting good grades, and becoming valedictorian at their high school. Humbly speaking, DDG said he was always an intelligent kid and even admitting to being a bit of a teacher’s pet.
Rapsody applauded the former CMU student, noting a period when being smart in hip hop wasn’t acceptable. DDG says he believes everyone is smart to some extent. It just isn’t always academically. “You gotta be smart to be in this business and make it big,” he said.
Don’t forget to watch DDG’s full “Off Top” interview above!