The ‘new wave’ of hip-hop is here, and it goes by one name: De’Wayne Jackson. The cutting-edge rapper talks with us about the ‘impulse’ to move to L.A. in pursuit of his music career, his partnership with Dr. Martens, and more.
“I had to go through that blues to be able to be here now,” De’Wayne (fka DeWayne Jackson) says about his struggle to break into the hip-hop game. After falling in love with the genre as a youth, the Texas native packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles to find fortune and fame. What he found was himself and his own brand of hip-hop, one that blends in elements of rock, punk, industrial metal, and electronica. With this and his unbridled confidence makes him one to watch in the next decade.
DeWayne’s journey was captured in the first-ever Dr. Martens Music & Film Series. L.A.-based filmmaker Erik Rojas and NYC-based filmmaker Vincent Martell curated the initial lineup of artists sharing their stories of resilience and determination to succeed. As part of Doc Marten’s new film series, DeWayne spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about where he draws inspiration from, why you’ll likely find him blasting Radiohead along with Kendrick Lamar, and why you don’t call him Mr. Jackson anymore, even if you’re nasty.
HollywoodLife: How do you feel Dr. Martens reflects your personal style, and what made you want to be involved with their Music & Film Series?
DeWayne: I dig the way they move, every time I see something from them, I see longevity. That’s important to me and definitely a goal of mine. It seemed like a great fit for where I’m heading, wanting my art to live on for a long time and also look good while I’m at it, so I’m glad we made it happen.
Tell us about your music and where you draw your inspiration from?
It’s all about stories for me – I try to get across how I’m feeling at an exact moment or from a specific memory. Through songs, you can see pictures if you listen closely enough, so that’s the goal. I get my inspiration from just living and from my family, as well.
Who would you love to collab with?
It would be a dream for Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead to do the string section for a song on my album. If Jimi Hendrix were alive, I would ask to jam with him and never release it…that’d be sick!
How would you describe your sound?
It’s a new wave of hip-hop and rock, along with electronic and industrial influence. The NEW NEW WAVE.
You dropped everything to move to LA to pursue music. Why and how hard was that for you?
I wouldn’t say it was hard, I was a kid and just made the impulse jump…I was just in it, you know? It was the only decision that felt right. I had to struggle through having 3 minimum wage jobs at once and still being broke as hell. Not being able to see my family made it even harder. It was pretty much what I signed up for though, I’m more thankful than anything that there is a little more stability for me now than when I first got here.
What’s something about you people don’t know?
I’m dropping the Jackson. It’s just going to be De’Wayne now.
Who do you look up to musically?
I’m pretty crazy about Beck, and The White Stripes, [Radiohead’s] Kid A is a top 2 album for me. Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana I listen to a lot of Coltrane too. Kendrick [Lamar] is the GOAT.
Best piece of advice a celeb ever gave you and what was it?
My friend Awsten Knight told me the only thing that matters about a release is what happens before the release, and I haven’t slept since.
DeWayne’s journey was captured as part of the first-ever Dr. Martens Music & Film Series, which offers filmmakers and artists with unique voices a chance to express their artistry on a national platform. In addition to DeWayne, the first slate of artists includes Samia, Junglepussy, PJ, L.A. Witch, Paranoyds, Sad Girl, OSHUN, Combo Chimbita, Phony Ppl, and Death Valley Girls.