Giving Devin the Dude his due in Vail
VAIL In the ranks of rap, names like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Jay Z command respect from both peers and fans. They are very recognizable and bankable commodities. Heck, your mom probably even knows who they are. Theyre three of the biggest modern hip-hop forces in the market, and have done a lot to bring the genre into the mainstream.So whos this Devin the Dude guy?Although he doesnt draw the same size crowds, or sell the same amount of albums, he is respected from the aforementioned trio of hip-hop moguls. Each of them worked with Devin the Dude, aka Devin Copeland, in the studio, likely because they dug his easy-going stoner raps. His popularity with hip-hops elite earned him the proper title of your favorite rappers favorite rapper, according to Prefix Magazine. Hes one of the industrys greatest secrets, but that may be about to change with the release of his new album, Landing Gear, which debuted at number five three weeks ago on Billboards Top Rap Albums chart. Devin has gone from being the sought-after guest star on other rappers albums, to having big-name rappers appear on his albums. Snoop Dogg joined Devin again on his latest release; the pair can be heard performing together on the track I Dont Chase Em.I was like, one day maybe Ill be able to be at least in the same room with these cats, then … were getting phone calls from the same guys I was just hoping to be in the same room with to be a part of their project. That was pretty much overwhelming, Devin said during a phone interview sandwiched between two California shows.Theres some heavyweight people behind him. … He may finally get his due. Its been a long time coming, said Dick Dime, manager of the Sandbar in Vail. Dime hopes Devins laid back, humor-laced songs will appeal to local music lovers when the rapper performs at the venue Thursday night.
Devin seems like a perfect fit, too. His light-hearted, comedic commentary on relationships, police harassment, weed smoking and drinking often come off as dismissable or stereotypical because of the content. But underneath the surface topics lie his witty criticism of double standards and social ills, and warnings of what can go wrong when bad habits are taken too far.One blunt, one more shot of Patron/Im lit, I cant make it home/Cops right behind me, I might be gone/I cant make it home, Devin raps on I Cant Make It Home, a song about the bad things that can happen if you drive drunk. At first listen it sounds like just another song glamorizing the we-can-do-whatever-we-want lifestyle many hip-hop artists perpetuate, but Devins lyrics convey the negative side of such actions the rap goes on to describe the main character getting pulled over, resisting arrest, almost getting shot by the cops, ending up in jail and asking his girlfriend to bail him out. Devins music is deceiving in other ways, too. His most recent album almost sounds like a lovemaking soundtrack, and right when the listener expects talk of passion between the sheets, Devin begins lazily spitting raps about rolling blunts and unrequited love. If Cheech and Chong rapped over an Al Green album, it would be close to what Devin the Dude does best. I just try to have the most fun possible, said Devin, who bases much of his material on embellished true life experiences. There can be a lot of curves and bumps in the road in this music career but if you make the best out of it and just have fun its not hard to … get the vibe going in the studio.
Devin recently jumped from the Rap-a-Lot label to Razor & Tie, and even took it one step further by starting his own label called Coughee Brothaz Music. Its been real cool and hopefully it will jump off and keep things rolling and Coughee Brothaz will pretty much be a home for other artists, Devin said.But even after his new album, praise from other rappers and respect from the industry, a new national tour and his own record label, Devin still hasnt found the level of success hes craving. I would definitely be wrong to say that I dont care about moving units or anything, Devin said.But success isnt only measured by album sales, either, Devin said. While in school he rapped for one of his friends. Word of Devins talent spread fast and four days later he found himself surrounded by a group of people listening to him perform.And that was the best feeling, man, that was the best feeling to be appreciated for what you did and somebody get excited about it and be like damn and want somebody else to listen to it too, he said. Eventually Devin feels hell create that same kind of excitement in the world of hip-hop, but even if he never becomes a household name, people still respect and appreciate his talent, and thats enough for him. High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Devin the Dude with opening act UmConscious.When: Thursday at 9 p.m.Where: Sandbar Sports Gril in West Vail.Cost: $15 in advance, $17 at the door.More information: Call 970-476-4314 or visit http://www.sandbarvail.com.
Need more proof that Devin the Dude is truly a rappers delight? Heres a short list of some of the artists hes collaborated with and the albums you can find him on. Houston-based rapper Scarface produced and guest starred in a couple songs off of Devins first solo album, The Dude. On his second album, Just Tryin ta Live, Dr. Dre produced the track Its a Shame while Nas and Xzibit performed on the track Some of Em. Waitin to Inhale, Devins fourth album, had him rapping alonside Outkasts Andre 3000, Snoop Dogg and LIl Wayne. On his latest release titled Landing Gear, Devin teams up with Snoop Dogg once again.