Drew32 Talks Detroit Hip-Hop: ‘The Diversity Is Actually A Gift’


It’s so cold in the D, but Drew32 is up for the challenge. The Detroit rap phenom has grinded in the music game since he was just 13-years-old. With 2012’s “Label Me” mixtape, he’s grabbed the ears of DJ Skee, Royce Da 5’9” and hopes to catapult into the national spotlight. VIBE caught up with Drew32 to chat about touring for big names, Detroit hip-hop and his dream collaborations.

You’re been aggressively touring all year. Are you back on the road soon?
Drew32: Hopefully soon. I’ve done some pretty big shows in the past, opening up for artists that come through Michigan. I’ve opened up for J.Cole, GymClass Heroes, Kirko Bangz, Hoodie Allen, Travis Porter, Chris Webby. I’ve done spot shows. I’ve done SXSW the last two years. I did some shows in Missouri, I did a show at Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Definitely, this year I want to hit the road and put a full tour together, because that’s what I’ve been missing.

Between Big Sean, Danny Brown and now you, Michigan hip-hop seems to be enjoying a resurgence.
Talent wise, I think it’s at a high. I think that there’s a lot of talent coming out of Detroit musically. Big Sean, Jon Connor, everybody is just making noise. Royce da 5’9, Eminem, there’s too many to name really. A lot of the guys that I haven’t named, I’m pretty close with. People are supportive and there’s a lot of talent coming out of there, I just don’t think it has the scene of like a NY or an LA to gain that type of exposure.

For a lot of people, Detroit rap is what they saw in Eminem’s 8 Mile. Is the shelter still big?

The shelter’s a real place, for people who haven’t actually been to Detroit the shelter’s a real spot. Eminem performed there, I performed there; plenty of people have performed there. It’s not the one in the movie. That’s not what it really looks like. I invite you to come to Detroit and catch a show there.

Do you think Detroit have a distinct sound? It seems like artists from the D all have a different sound.
I think that the diversity is actually a gift, not a curse. I think that it’s definitely cool, coming out here to New York, you definitely have that New York sound that has been crafted throughout the years, LA has their sound and the south has their sound. Detroit, you’re right, it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly the sound. I like that though, because you get diversity, you’re not like getting the same thing every time.

Do you feel any competition with guys like Eminem and Big Sean who have made it?
I don’t necessarily see it as a competition, because if I see it as a competition, how am I going to compete with someone like Eminem? You can’t. You can’t compete. I just have to make the music that I love to

You also produce records. How do you divide your focus?

I was lucky enough that I got my hands on some recording software. I was just like, I don’t want to have to deal with relying on other people. I just want to do it myself. It wasn’t like I should focus on one thing, I actually
wanted to do both, especially because I’m inspired by people who do both. Kanye West is a huge inspiration for me. He produces and raps. J.Cole produces and raps.

In the beginning, people told Kanye not to rap and just stick with producing.
Well, you see what kind of mistake they made when they told him that. He’s one of the biggest rappers in the game now.

What rappers do you want to collaborate with?

This might sound weird because I don’t think that people would say that my music fits with this combination, but I actually want to do something with some of the cats from Odd Future, I think that would be cool as hell,
I don’t know why. People don’t think my music is as crazy as them, wild. I just think that they’re fun and funny to listen to and stuff. I think that would be a fun collaboration to do.

It would definitely be a different kind of energy.
And on the other side of things, I think Joey Bada$$ is definitely making moves. His whole movement is making noise.