Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Drayco: Just words

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 2:27 PM

click to enlarge Drayco and Little Town - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted Photo
  • Drayco and Little Town

The genesis of this interview started with a conversation I had with Jessica Hemesath. She's best known in Indianapolis music circles as half of the duo Shame Thugs and more recently as DJ Little Town. Hemesath spins frequently for rapper Drayco McCoy. I told her that I wanted to spin one of Drayco's tracks on my Wednesday evening radio show for WFYI, but I couldn't find one song in his catalogue that was suitable for airplay.

That's not an entirely unusual scenario within the context of rap music. But 21-year-old Drayco's case is unique, as the young MC has amassed a massive body of work to select from, recording excess of 100 songs on over a dozen albums and mixtapes — and each track is laced with a profuse amount of profane language that would quickly get a radio station's FCC license revoked.

Hemesath mentioned that a lot of false assumptions are pinned on Drayco's character due to his propensity for sexual, violent or drug-filled language in his lyrics. (It's worth noting this is an ongoing topic in the discussion of rap on a global scale.) She suggested it might be interesting if I interviewed Drayco on this subject. I agreed and the conversation below was the result.

For more on Hemesath, check out my 2015 cover profile on Shame Thugs. Pick up Drayco's current best-of compilation Fuck 2015 for an excellent overview of the charismatic rapper's work.

NUVO: You're a very prolific artist. In the last two years you've made 13 albums and mixtapes. You must have an intense work ethic.

Drayco: You need it. Do you know how many people want to rap? It's hard to be a rapper around here. Talent is easily overlooked. You've got to force your way in there. I'm a new one out here and I had to show them that I could do it.

NUVO: What's interesting to me is that I read an article about you in NUVO and you said that you don't even want to be a rapper, and that you're not pursuing rap as a full-time profession. Yet you're so creating so much work.

Drayco: You've got to be passionate. If you're going to do something you've got to go all the way. I've always been like that. I realized I was good at music, and I wasn't good at much else. So I thought "for the time being I'm going to do this." 

I just had a daughter. I dropped out of school to make that happen. When you've got something you can do in the meantime, why not? It's going to be beautiful if it works out. But I want to be a doctor.

NUVO: What type of doctor?

Drayco: Right now I want to be an ophthalmologist. I've worked in three different eye places and I really like it. There's air conditioning and you're not bothered by that many people. It seems cool. It's chill.

NUVO: This is a real basic question. When I was a kid I listened to rap music, and it was all one genre then. It all was just labeled simply as rap music. Now rap is broken down into dozens of sub-genres. How do you describe the work you create? You have a unique sound. Do you attach a label to it? 

Drayco: Nah, I don't like the term hip-hop. I feel like that's real old. I guess you can just say rap. It's real underground cloud rap, kind of experimental. Whatever anyone wants to call it they can call it. I don't like labels. I call it punk rap because I like my shows to be real crazy. It's a big punk scene with all the friends I hang out with. I like the energy of it. I go to the shows and it feels so good. There's a band called the F.Y.C.'s that's like my favorite in the world. Other than that I don't listen to music much, because I've been so consumed in my own.

NUVO: Right, as much music as you're making it doesn't really leave you time for leisure listening. As I mentioned you've made 13albums in the last couple years. That's a lot of lyrics you've written. Can you talk about some of the themes or subjects you address in your songs?  

Drayco: [laughs] Man, nobody wants to hear about that! Look I'm a highly… [pauses] It's vulgar. It's crazy. 

I've never met nobody, even pastors, that didn't have something crazy going through their head. But a lot of people don't address that stuff. They think it will make people uncomfortable or nervous or something. But me, I don't really care. So much more is relatable than people would think. I have a song called "All I Do Is Pray", I was at a show a couple weeks ago and this dude comes up and he was like, "Dude, you just had all these 666 guys in here with their hands up praying."

I got a song called "Too Much Sway" where the lyrics are just so bad. But I got all the feminists singing along to that stuff. [Dditor's note: Drayco is referring to the chorus of "Too Much Sway" which begins with the line "Oh my god, all I want to do is fuck her face."] It's self-expression. I say whatever is on my mind at all times.

NUVO: You mentioned that you see different elements of your audience singing along with your lyrics at shows. So while they might not feel comfortable publicly expressing these ideas in their daily life, you see how it taps into some part of their consciousness and they relate to it and express it in that moment?

Drayco: Yeah, there are some crazy people out in this world. Everybody's into something, that's why there are so many different things on the internet that you can find. Somebody put it up there. What I'm saying ain't that crazy. It's real independent. Nothing is safe. I don't like safe music. I hate it when people are so concerned about their image that they hide everything that is true about themselves.

NUVO: One thing I've always found unacceptable in American popular culture is that rappers are held to a different standard for their work than other types of artists. For example Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese depict loads of violence, drug use, and sexuality in their films and they're seldom held personally accountable for the art they create in the same way rappers are. How do you view that?

Drayco: That's how I explain it to my mom. She's like, "How are you rapping about this, this and this?" I'm like, "You used to read Stephen King books and you watched Kill Bill. There's some crazy stuff in there." It's expression, it's storytelling, it's art. The stuff that I talk about happens. Some people relate to it completely. I'm just one of those people that's not afraid to say what everybody is thinking. That's why so many people like it.

I want people to understand who I am, or why I am who I am. Right now I feel people have accepted that I'm not fittin' to change who I am because it makes some people uncomfortable. That's why people like it. "That Drayco, he just don't care about nothing." But that's a result of a lot of things. I've been through a lot. I feel like it's okay to not be afraid of who you are.

It made her uncomfortable at first. [points to DJ Little Town] We were walking around and she was like, "At first I was really taken aback." I'm like, "Why? I'm a good guy." At the end of the day if you're a good person, people will understand. I care about the people and I care about how I look. I'm not going to be out there acting crazy and doing really crazy stuff. That's not my thing.

NUVO: Why do you think there's still an issue in our culture when it comes to holding rappers to a different standard as artists?

Drayco: I don't want to be that guy, but I think it's a racial thing. You know how many of these same people are fans of Eminem? That man's got songs about raping people and killing his mama. That boy's crazy.

She [points to DJ Little Town] asks me, "Why do you tell people you want to be a doctor?" All right, how many people would take me seriously if I said rap is my life? You know what I mean? Being the person I am, I have to have goals. I'm 6-foot-5, I have dreads and I sometimes speak with an accent. You know what I mean? I'm not the most comfortable person to be around in the first place. So I would understand why people would be extra taken aback when I drop a mixtape called Prolly Going To Hell or Hold My Whole Dick. I've got cassettes that say that. Eminem or Machine Gun Kelly can say whatever they want and they don't have to face that. That's just what it is. 

NUVO: Thanks for speaking so candidly about your work. I really appreciate it.

Drayco: I used to be shy. I still am. If you catch me out in public without my friends I'm really quiet. It's nice to be able to express myself around somebody and not be uncomfortable.

Editor's note: After a conversation with the author and subject, the headline of this article was changed to better reflect its content and intention. 

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