Deante’ Hitchcock’s affinity for Hip-Hop spans nearly as far back as his roots in Atlanta. Hailing from Riverdale, a nearly famous community of some of Atlanta’s most recognizable rappers, Hitchcock now shares his words to a worldwide audience. That’s all thanks to his uncle, he reminds me. As early as 11 years old, the knack for rapping was recognized by his Uncle, a former emcee himself. Eventually pairing up Deante’ with one of his friends, his Uncle would manage the duo and help write their music. “It’s funny, looking back I think he wanted me and my friend to be like Kriss Kross, or some shit,” he laughs. Needless to say, child stardom wasn’t in Hitchcock’s adolescent timeline, but undeterred, he would hone in on his own writing style.
The fervent passion that kept a young Hitchcock writing wouldn’t equate towards a passion for 4 years of college, though. Undoubtedly intelligent, Hitchcock made the decision to leave Georgia Sate University and pursue music full time. Saying that, one needs to be able to fund their dreams, so off Hitchcock went to Minnesota, trading I-24 for 24 degree days building snowmobiles.
“That has to be the most random period in my life; I was in the middle of fucking nowhere. I had just dropped out of college, I knew I had to get up off my ass and go make some bread to fund these dreams,” he explained. Through grueling workdays, the yearning for music always pushed Hitchcock to tread through the snow. Soon thereafter, 5 months pass and Hitchcock’s work contract ends. As soon as he got back, it was back to the mission. Linking up with now longtime collaborator Brandon Phillips Taylor, the two would go on an extensive run together popping off Soundcloud singles and projects like cheap champagne.
Then, after multiple projects and a multitude of singles, everything would change from a freestyle posted to Twitter. Kicked back in a drop-top Camaro, Kendrick Lamar’s “Maad City” pumped through the speakers and Hitchcock did what he does best, tell a story. This time, the reaction was proportionately different, though. “That shit took off. Hella folks ended up posting it, The Shade Room, Diddy’s son… I got something like 20k followers in a single night. My phone got so overheated I had to turn that shit off,” Hitchcock laughs.
In a few moments’ time, Deante Hitchcock’s freestyles became an internet sensation. A large portion of the videos would amass millions of views, and it was all from the comfort of a passenger seat, with the occasional snack of course. The success early would lead to opportunities to open for the likes of Rapsody and J.Cole. At 23, sharing a stage with Hip-Hop greats was both eye opening and overwhelming. When asked about the takeaways from those experiences, Deante’ didn’t waver.
“The Rapsody tour was my first one, dawg. I didn’t know what to expect at all. I’m not going to cap to you bro, I don’t really remember much of it at all – I was drunk as hell. I was around 23 at the time, and that sticks out cause it was the time where I didn’t have to drink pedialyte after every time I drank. (laughs) Overall though, that Rapsody tour just taught me what all it takes to put together a tour, how much it costs, etc. It’s funny though cause on that first tour, I brought 10 of my n**** with me. We were deep as fuck, but most of them didn’t have anything to do with the tour. That shit REALLY hurt my pockets dawg. The second time around though, we got it right. It was only B, the DJ, and my tour manager. It’s a learning process.”
With all of the newfound success came a set of new obstacles, and Hitchcock felt trapped in a lane the internet made for him. The new experiences were life changing, but the success was mostly in part to the freestyle’s reception. Hitchcock felt trapped, and unsure of how to break out of the faux box.
“Dawg, for the most part, I was pissed. I’m not going to cap you down. I used to rap in the car and I was like, it’s cool all the love I’m getting, and I really appreciate it, but whenever I went out, if somebody recognized me they’d be like, oh shit you’re the dude who freestyles in the car. It’s kind of funny now, but I remember thinking, fuck, is that who I am? I didn’t want to be pigeonholed, but it seemed like I was and it was real hard to get out of it. That’s why I’m thankful for that Dreamville shit too, that helped a lot,” he divulges.
REVENGE OF THE DREAMERS SESSIONS
The stress of feeling boxed in would be sliced apart in January of 2019. Golden tickets filled timelines, and the internet was ablaze with news of Dreamville’s Revenge of The Dreamers sessions. As they began to take place, Deante’ wasn’t cheering like fans on Twitter; he was confused and hurt. Where was his golden ticket?
“I saw all the golden tickets people had been getting, and I was pissed off that shit hadn’t been sent my way. It was like, y’all are in my city, after I have worked with y’all and you couldn’t let me know? So later in that evening, I decided I was going to go hard as fuck with my writing and used that as motivation to hone my craft. I ended up writing like 10 verses that night, and when I woke up in the morning… I got my golden ticket. That moment was wild,” he explained.
The atmosphere was packed, room to room booked with talent and the camaraderie only the best of Hip Hop’s talent can command. Hitchcock knew that in order to make a lasting impression, he had to step up. Recalling the sessions, the excitement in his voice can be heard.
When I first went into the sessions, I knew Cole, JID, Ari and most everyone there prior, but a lot of these n***** didn’t know me. I had something to prove, there was a dream team in there. Imagine Jordan, Barkley, AI.. just the highest level of competition you could imagine. In one room you had Cole and Tip, the next room it was like JID, Ross & Wale, and then another room with Swizz, Khaled and them. The workflow was constant, and I remember just contemplating if any of my verses would end up on the tape. There were so many verses and tracks being made, it was real hard to tell. I think I recorded something like 10 verses, and they ended up choosing the “PTSD” joint.”
Coming off a stellar session with Hip Hop’s heavyweights, a renewed sense of motivation was coursing through his brain. Countless late nights and too much Hennessey was taking its toll, and a new game plan needed to be put forward. Sitting down with JID, the two came to new revelations on their goals.
“JID and I have had hella conversations arguing about who’s the better rapper, this that and the third. (laughs) Eventually we sat down and really started talking about it. JID was like look, we want people to know us differently than what they know us for now. He was really adamant on changing his whole approach cause he was like, “I folks know I can rap type shit, but I want to be known for songs. I want folks to be able to sing my lyrics back to me at the show and shit like that. I don’t want to be just standing on stage rapping fast or just rapping to folks just looking at awe,” and I felt the same way. Watching him on tour, just seeing how folks reacted to certain songs. It was like, okay, I get it. I see how this is supposed to be. I see the points. I’m supposed to change it up. When we got off that tour, we went home and finished everything. “Attitude,” “Got Money Now,” “How TF,” “Shadowman’s Interlude,” shit so many more. All of it basically came in like a two week span.”
Now a little time post album release, Hitchcock is still fast at work. Videos for “How TF” feat 6lack, and “Attitude” feat Young Nudy have been released. When I explained that the chemistry with Nudy on “Attitude” was infectious, Hitchcock laughed before explaining the shoot. “Man, I met Nudy that day! He’s a good dude, but up until that point we had only connected via internet due to the virus.”
The star studded album features Miguel, 6lack, Nudy, JID, and St. Beauty. The 10 track project is not only deeply personal, but capitalizes on the authentic array of skills at his disposal. Two personal favorites of mine, “Angels” and “Shadowman’s Interlude” almost didn’t make the project. To my surprise, Hitchcock explained the tricky process was picking each song out, not recording them.
“Shadowman was originally over a different beat entirely. B (Brandon Phillips) eventually flipped it around and changed the whole feel of it, and that’s the only reason we kept it. It’s a completely different song.”
In similar circumstances, fans curious about what happened to Talking To God Pt. 3 should be alleviated to know that “Mother God” was originally the third installment of the “Talking To God” series. “At the last minute we changed it because the song is really an ode to all the women in my life, and all that they have blessed me with. If you see God anywhere in my titles, you know where I’m at with it; faith is a constant for me. Whenever those tracks drop, it’s a real insight into what I’m going through at the time. “Talking To God Pt 2” was a lot darker, and it was during a really fucked up time in my life. I was trying to get out of it,” explained Hitchcock.
As songs change, so do we as humans. This year, Deante’ Hitchcock isn’t drinking and dropped one of the best albums of the year. More recently, he even joined Spillage Village. If anything’s certain, it’s that the momentum isn’t stalling for the Atlanta rapper. Stream BETTER below, and let us know what you think.