To me, DeVon is to Hip Hop what Basiquat, starting out in his career, was to the world of art. Unique, extremely talented yet possibly misunderstood. To the average mainstream music loving fan, DeVon's work may seem so off, which in return, may make them diss it all together. But to the one who sees the art in music, his music and videos make you wonder what is really going on in DeVon's head. When I reviewed DeVon's JOECHILLWORLD project, I said (and I quote), "DeVon seems like the runaway child of a gay polygamy marriage between Lupe Fiasco, Tyler, the Creator, and Danny Brown." And then I went on to explain that outrageous description. But over time, I played his songs over and over again. Just trying to absorb every sound bit of it. And I've come to the conclusion that DeVon is not a product of those three artists or any artists! He's a product of fantasies, emotions, nightmares, and probably some anime. But this still left me with questions. So I stopped beating around the bush, hit DeVon up on the Twitter DM, and on Tuesday night (3/20), I had one of the most interesting conversations I ever had with an artist so far in my young blogger life.
Interview after the cut.
For those who don’t know, please enlighten us on who DeVon Hendryx is.
I am a dude making rap classics in his basement. I'm the sexiest underground artist in history. You've never seen an underground nigga as beautiful as me. I'm like the Hip Hop Ariel Pink. The rap Brian Wilson. I could go on but just know that, one day if I actually get on, I'm gonna be remembered as the the Lou Reed of rap, with better beats.
Well that's fucking awesome and informative. I’ve know about you for a while now but I feel like I know very little about you. Do you purposely want a mystery aspect to you as an artist?
Well, not on purpose. I honestly don't crave attention like that. If I could have it my way, I would make music and leave it at that. But in this day and age of the MP3 and rap blogs, I think people feel like they need to know every aspect of an artist's life in order to enjoy their songs and that's not right because then you're listening to personality not music. Like some dude messaged me the other day and told me he loved me and my music. He knew how old I was, where I lived and everything. That shit is weird, yo. Like seriously,that …shit …is …weird. So I don't put on a mysterious vibe on purpose but I just don't want people to know personal things about me. So yea, I leave some information out of the public, like you don't need to know my dick size in order to enjoy my albums.
For what I do know from your music, I know that you were born 1989 and rep Generation Y. How do you feel about the uprising of 90’s babies nowadays, especially in the music industry?
I think it was inevitable. The 90's were some of the most colorful, unique times in the 20th century. And us kids born in that were bound to grow up eventually and when we grow up, things like the Rugrats and Pokemon cards [are] bound to become a source of nostalgia for us. I love it though. I think its great. It makes rap more relatable because as much as I love artists like Wu Tang and shit, I admit, I have no fucking idea what they're talking about sometimes, you know.
That's so true and I tend to think us 90s babies are kind of fed up with a lot of the business and cliche aspects to the music industry. Would you agree and do you feel like you need to be your own boss when it comes to your career?
Definitely. I don't know why people sign to major labels anymore. It takes the "music" out of your music. And makes you dream a job. Like ok take [for] example, Wiz Khalifa's album Rolling Papers. [Did] around, let's say 170K first week right? He had a smash single, he had label support, he was doing late night shows-all this shit prior to the album and he sold 170K. Now lets look at Kid Cudi's second album MOTMII. Had no hit single. Not promoted anywhere near as vigorously, and still managed to sell roughly the same amount without the backing of a monster record label like ATLANTIC. It's all about the music. If people like your music and who you are and what you're trying to do, you will always sell. Lady Gaga could sign with any fucking body and sell the same amount right now.
Good points! Now, your music is extremely unique and sounds nothing like anything else out there. Like it’s hard to compare your music to someone else’s. How would describe your style?
Lol I have no fucking idea. I don't have a distinct style or sound. I just do what feels natural at the moment. Like seriously, you hear the beats on The Rockwood Escape Plan??? I couldn't even duplicate that shit right now if I tried. I would describe my music as a random burst of creativity. But if I had to put a label on it I would say, Ghost-pop, future-wave,cave-rap.
I respect that cause I don't think most artists would admit that their music comes randomly. Even artists try to put themselves in a box. But anywho, who are some of your musical influences? Dead or alive?
I'm so glad you asked that. I made a list of my favorite artists ever like 3 years ago. And no one ever asked until now so here it goes...
Lol that's dope.
1. YEEZUS - The best thing that ever happened to Hip Hop, hands down. No rapper is this creative or forward thinking. I love art way more than I love technical rapping skill and Yeezus delivers.
2. JANELLE MONAE - I love this woman so much. She has literally helped me out of depression several times. When I think of someone who would never sacrifice art for money or fame, I think of her. Smart, intelligent, creative, chocolate goddess.
3. MARVIN GAYE - Other than Yeezus, I relate to this man more than any artist. Me and Marivn Gaye have almost identical backgrounds. I won't go into detail but if you ever want to know some of my back story, look his up. It's almost the same, seriously. Whenever I listen to his music, I hear sadness, even if the song is happy, I hear sadness. Like Sexual Healing, I don't hear a baby making jam. I hear a man who wants a father in his life. I love Marvin Gaye and What's Going On has the most replay value of any album I've ever heard.
4. JANET JACKSON - No artist in history has portrayed sex as well as Janet has to me. All of her albums are spectacular to me. My favorite is Janet. Janet is open minded, care free and not afraid to take risk. And that's rare in a pop artist. Love her.
5. YOKO KANNO - I am a big anime fan and Yoko Kanno composes damn near all of my favorite soundtracks. Here Wolf's Rain soundtrack is one of my favorite records ever. And I even did a tribute to Here back in the day. But you'll never hear it cause it sucks. Lol! Before I die, I want to work with Here though. She's awesome!
Lol! Honestly, its not my cup of tea. I won't say it sucks because music is subjective, there's no right or wrong but it's just not my style. At the risk of sounding like a complete homo, I have really "gay" taste in music. For real, if you picked up my ipod by mistake, you'd swear I was a girl. Lol All kinds of weird crybaby ass shit in there, lol. But that's just who I am. I like melody and pretty harmonies and stuff. So yea sometimes I can't get down [with] most shit. I listen to a lot of southern rappers though because they don't give a fuck- 2 CHAAAAAAAIIIIIIINZZZZZ!
Wow! Totally didn't expect that answer! But I guess this explains your song, I Love You Hip Hop But I Can't Be Your Girlfriend Because That's Gay
Lol Congrats you're the first person to get that.
That's fucking awesome! Lol Besides being your best project to date in my opinion, what exactly is The Rockwood Escape Plan?
What do you mean?
Like is there really a Rockwood Escape Plan? What's the meaning behind the name/title?
Oh funny thing, I've had an idea for this anime I want to create one day and the name of it was The Rockwood Escape Plan. I called it that because whenever I would be at school or just bored in general, I would kinda drift off and daydream or "escape" to that anime which takes place in a fictional world called "Rockwood" and the album acts as something like a soundtrack for those fantasies. The videos as well are just me trying put what comes to my head on video.
Your videos were my next question! You beat me to it! Lol But what makes you edit the videos they way you do? Cause in a sense, they seem simple yet complex.
Aww, yessss. The vids! They are [when] I try to capture the feel of the song. Not over editing or extra stuff just the natural feel of the track. If you watch one of my videos and watch anyone else's, it's like another world because there isn't all that crazy, skitzo camera pans and switch ups and stuff. The videos are not planned either. Whenever I'm out and about, I turn on my little cheap camera and I press record. So you could be watching anything literally, anything. For example, the first scene from the Quisha video is actually the bare-naked ass of the the girl from the KING video, but don't tell youtube that doe.
KING ♚ video
Hahaha! That's clever! So what’s next for DeVon Hendryx?
I'm not sure honestly. I love music so much but it's very difficult to get into the industry on talent alone. And ATM, I'm in a position where I cannot perform live, so that makes it even harder. I'm hanging on a prayer really, but I have to make it because I couldn't imagine doing anything else. As cliche as it sounds, music is everything to me. Like if someone gave me a choice between being deaf and blind, I'd go with blind because living in a world with no music would be a living death to me and I mean that. So I don't know. Hopefully something... Some kind of miracle will take place in the near future and I'll finally achieve my dream but it's not looking promising right now.
Are there any projects you plan to do in the future or are already working on?
Man I just mixed down like 40 something beats the other day. One of 'em samples Candy By Mandy Moore (!!!!!). I would send it to people but I prefer to work alone. And when I send people beats, they just tell me that the beat is too weird and they never use it. Like I sent the A Song about Nothing to a few people and they all said it was too weird, so. And they couldn't rap to it.And I'm like, "WTF???" I'll probably release songs with videos to a company them but right now ATM I'm playing MASS EFFECT 3!!!!
Well, it's going to be their loss when you blow up and they are begging on their knees for you to give them a beat. As we wrap up this awesome interview, any last words for the people?
Damn Devon! Now I gotta translate that!
Sidenote: I'm going to let y'all go to Google and translate that. Little hint, it's Japanese. Have fun with that translation! HA!
For more of Devon Hendryx, be sure to check out:
Interview done by: Es Famojure
Edited by: Es Famojure
Original photos by: DeVon Hendryx
Photos re-edited by: Es Famojure
Featured on: TheGirlTheyCallEs.com (WeAreDope)