David Makes Man, OWN’s critically-acclaimed drama series, returns for its second season on Tuesday, June 22 at 9 p.m ET. However, its season premiere is preceded by a mixtape inspired by the series, featuring new music from Wu-Tang Clan legendary rapper Raekwon, who recorded the project’s lead single, “Bring Dat Doe.” Having rapped about “growing up on the crime side” on the classic Wu banger, “C.R.E.A.M.,” Raekwon is well-versed in the growing pains that a number of young men face on a daily basis, particularly those like the show’s protagonist and others within the Black community. This season, David—a Black man in his thirties played by actor Kwame Patterson—finds himself caught at a crossroads where the teachings and ideologies fostered by his environment don’t align with his own personal and financial progression. His difficult, life-altering decisions end up impacting not only himself but also his community…forever. The Chef spoke with VIBE and gave an exclusive listen of “Bring Dat Doe” and the mixtape’s entirety, revealing the inspiration behind the song and how it embodies the sentiments and spirit of the show.
“You know, being a man and being a young man, you go through many mood swings and changes,” Raekwon says via our Zoom call. “And for me, it was just a record about feeling good and really having something to live for. A lot of times, we’re driven by materialistic wants and needs because we feel like we come from those places where we’re not entitled to get things. So if you hang out with a bunch of cats that ain’t trying to do nothing, it’s only but so far where you’re gonna go,” he states matter of factly. “So this song pretty much is about me having a good day that day and just knowing that, ‘Yo, things are starting to change. I feel better.’ So, I just wanted to kind’ve brighten up the spirit of a young man coming out the hood and trying to go get some money to take care of himself.”
Realizing how life is a constant knowledge quest, Rae explained the state of mind further: “He’s learning, everything he’s doing is pretty much transparent because he’s really realizing like, ‘Yo, I could be standing here doing nothing or I could be going for it. I could wake up in the morning, kiss my lady, make sure she’s good, hit her with a couple of stacks.'” He continues: “Whatever the case [of how] he may be feeling it’s just all about having a good day. So I made the record kind’ve like a warm vibe record that you can just jump in your car and just float and just yell the hook. And the song meshed perfectly with the vibe of the show.”
Produced by Lord Quest, whom Raekwon connected with while working on a previous project sponsored by Red Bull, the track finds Rae taking listeners along his travels throughout the five boroughs and taking in the rugged beauty that defines the concrete jungle from which the rapper comes from. Featuring guest vocals by singer PWright, the song’s backdrop has an ethereal, atmospheric quality that conjures a spirit of upliftment that is a reflection of the rapper’s current station in life. There was a point in Raekwon’s life where he was admittedly a “knucklehead.” During his education in the school of hard knocks, he learned the ropes of life and how to properly conduct himself on the fly. With his own personal experiences of raising children (namely his 18-year-old son), Staten Island-bred artist’s life has given him an alternate vantage point on parenting—of allowing a man to come into his own— and the patience and perspective it requires.
“Absolutely, that’s what I’m talking about,” Rae said when addressing the parallels between his own life and that of the storylines within David Makes Man. “And what I really respect about it is because us being guys that come from certain places, we become men fast. And it’s like almost being prepared for something that you’re really not prepared for, but you have to go through these different channels to see who you really are. And shout out to the women that deal with men that’s just finding their way. So I felt like, ‘Wow, this is really a reality of what men have to go through to be men.'”
The thought wave turned to his own young man that he holds close to his heart. “I have a young son, he’s 18. He just got his license, finally, to where it’s like now he realizes that, ‘Yo, I can be this, I can do this.’ And it’s not easy sometimes when you get a lot of pressure from your parents, where it’s like they mean good, but they just come off a little grumpy. Like, I’m the grumpy dad. His mom is the sweet lady, I’m the guy that’s constantly pushing him, so I kind’ve seen the reflections in everything that’s going on within these storylines.”
As far as the origins of his involvement in the David Makes Man mixtape, Raekwon sends a nod to actor Michael B. Jordan, who happens to be a producer of the show, for being a big factor in his decision to hop on board. “I’m a big Michael B. Jordan fan anyway,” he said of his respect for the superstar leading-man. “Just really loving everything he got going on. I heard that this month this series was coming out. I was excited to just see if there was a slot there for me to just support and get in the mix and my people, they made it happen. One thing led to the other and we’re here now. He’s a young genius, he [Jordan] comes from the hood. Of course, I salute him based on that and I know this is something that’s gonna resonate with the people in a great way. This record is designed to have fun and float and feel good and think about moving forward.”
Speaking of vibes, the David Makes Man mixtape and tunes in the show are curated by music supervisor Jabari Ali who—along with Academy Award-winning executive producer Tarell Alvin McCraney—spoke on working with Raekwon and the other artists involved in the making of the project: “We are extremely excited to have amazing musical artists contribute and support the musical vision of David Makes Man for Season 2.” Singer PWright, Jourdin Pauline, Berto, Lok Akim, and producer Donald XL Robinson also contributed to the mixtape, which is accompanied by an official playlist of songs (see above) curated by Rashida Watler of Super Femina Entertainment for OWN. The show’s upcoming mixtape will also include exclusive David Makes Man videos found exclusively on Vevo.
The first season of the Peabody Award-winning David Makes Man, includes appearances from Akili McDowell, Cayden Williams, Alana Arenas, Travis Coles, Phylicia Rashad, and more. Executive produced by Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and John Strauss, with showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence and creator Tarell Alvin McCraney, the second season of the show is primed to raise its profile as one of 2021 superior shows.