Hip-hop promoters excel
What: D5 City Tour
Where: Club Liquid, 71st & Michigan, Indianapolis
When: Thursday, April 26, 9 p.m. (ladies free until 10 p.m.), $20, www.dfeonline.com
Walking into the cramped, dimly-lit room in the basement of an unassuming office building, you’d never guess you were in a recording studio. In the corner stands a wooden booth, soundproofed with foam, containing only a single mic.
This tiny studio is the home of Indianapolis hip-hop/R&B/reggaeton group DFE, which stands for Destine Fame Entertainment. Started in 2004 by Ray “Ray E.” Embry, his sister Kameika “Ella Capone” Embry and Vanzell “Villion” Coleman, the band started out playing wherever it could get shows. Soon, the three got serious and decided to start the DFE label.
Danny “Danny S.” Soto and Jair Coara of Red Zone are the fourth and fifth members of DFE, rounding out the group’s sound by adding their reggaeton sounds to the mix.
The DFE label also has two other artists, Alexis, an R&B/neo-soul singer, and Nando, a West Coast rapper who does hip-hop and reggaeton. They also recently added manager Giovanni of Darkside U.C.O.N.N. Entertainment to the fold, giving the group more time to focus on its music and upcoming tour.
“DFE is a multifaceted group,” says DJ Orion, who first played the band on Radio Now 93.1 FM. “Most groups don’t seem to be very well-mixed, but DFE has a combination of ethnicities and styles. Plus, they’re self promoters — they are very motivated people.”
The band will perform in Indianapolis and other cities April through May on the D5 Inner City Tour. Performers will include national acts such as Twista and Cuban Link. While DFE will perform at every show, it set up the tour to network and help other local groups get exposure. After struggling to form a band and a label, DFE now strives to help other bands get ahead.
“We want to be able to help ourselves get there [and] then get everybody else there too,” Embry says.