Baltimore, Md. native Damond Blue is trying to carry town up via his music and philanthropy.

In 2018, FBI knowledge revealed that Baltimore topped the listing most violent cities within the United States. Per 10,000 residents, 98.6 crimes have been dedicated within the metropolis. Blue was uncovered to the robust avenue life on the east aspect Baltimore at an early age. By the time he was 17, Blue claims he was carrying a loaded firearm promoting crack cocaine as a method to get by. After witnessing the dying an in depth good friend, Blue left the life behind to take his abilities to the following stage.

In 2015, Blue made his introduction with the discharge his first mixtape Blessonz. The venture featured King Los, Fat Trel and Houston legend Bun B. Blue adopted his debut with the one “Give It To You,” which grew to become an area hit in Baltimore. The buzzy file caught Wale’s consideration to the purpose the place he remixed the one, and Wale’s stamp pushed the Baltimore artist to drop Dream Bigger: Vol 1, which served as an ode to his label Dream Bigger Music Group.

Though he's bringing a complete new vibe to town, Blue can be giving again via his youth group Beats Not Bullets. The group fers children within the Baltimore space an opportunity to study the fundamentals music manufacturing and beat-making. “There's an absence assist] in my metropolis, nobody is giving again,” Blue tells Billboard concerning the scarcity assist.

While uplifting his metropolis, Blue is eager on sounding like no different artist in hip-hop. Teaming up with Billboard to premiere his new venture V.S.O.P., — which options Young Thug, MoneyBagg Yo, and TK Kravitz — Blue is trying to additional separate himself by pushing the graceful lure sound he’s adopted, ahead.

Billboard sat with Damond Blue as he spoke about his album V.S.O.P, Baltimore’s affect on his sound, his motivation to proceed serving to the youth in his hometown and why his profession, up till this level, mimics Antwone Fisher. Stream the brand new venture beneath, and take a look at the remainder our Q&A after the soar.

Baltimore holds a really particular place in your coronary heart. How has it contributed to your sound?

It contributed loads, not] solely to my sound, however my life. It's extra than simply the music; it's a way of life. It's a spot with a lot tradition and expertise, nevertheless it's overshadowed by the violence and killings. It molded and formed me into an individual that needed one thing extra and one thing higher. I attempted all the things from the road life to the 9-5. But that is the one factor I caught with and it helped me get to that platform that I'm at now.  

You’ve mentioned up to now that everybody in hip-hop sounds the identical. What are you doing to ensure you’re not falling into that class?

I'm proudly owning my craft and being myself. I don't fall into what's occurring proper now. I really like what's taking place proper now, don't get it twisted, however I got here from the period the place you needed to be good and really spit. That's me all the best way however I had so as to add a bit melodic aspect to it and simply be who I’m. That's what makes Damond Blue. I by no means attempt to step in anybody's lane. I management the lanes and personal the roads. People all the time inform me to choose a lane, however nah, I'm not with that. That's simply how I really feel. In hip-hop right this moment it’s a must to be that manner. You can't be caught in a single field. You need to be multi-faceted as a result of issues should not how they was once again within the day.

You have a really distinctive sound that you just name easy lure. What precisely is that sound?

It's self-explanatory. It's st, however nonetheless has that edginess to it. You can trip along with your woman within the automotive and nonetheless get that knock that you just want. You may really feel the edginess, really feel the starvation and really feel the ache, however you may additionally really feel that vibe like you possibly can play this on a highway journey. It's not only a style, it's a way of life. You by no means heard easy lure earlier than. There's loads artists who do it however they don't categorize it as that.

With your group, you’re giving children an opportunity to harness their creativity. Where do you discover the motivation to proceed giving again to your group and assist the children that want it in your metropolis regardless of making strides in your music profession?

It's an element me. My mom was into philanthropy earlier on once I was a child. I didn't perceive it however my mom would take all of the outdated garments and footwear that we couldn't match anymore to all the children on the block who have been much less lucky. That's one thing I embodied and made me wish to begin Beats Not Bullets. It was additionally because of the reality a younger man bombed the house a household and killed them. I gained’t get into particulars about that for apparent causes however that was one thing I needed to do as a result of I come from a tricky place the place we don't have retailers or recreation facilities.

They simply constructed a $35 million jail however faculty began a month or two in the past and there was no AC within the colleges. No AC, man. That's what retains me going greater than something. It's simply having a platform and I'm an artist, I come from a spot the place you get up and say what you bought to say. Social media retailers create a lot and I really feel like that's what I would like and that's what I have to do to maintain going. Even when I’ve songs, tour dates, and interviews I all the time find time for the children. We simply did a again to highschool backpack giveaway. They set us up for failure, however me? Nah, that is Beats Not Bullets, we're going to set you as much as win.

What’s the that means behind the V.S.O.P title ?

All my those who prefer to take a sip they know, that's the highest the road prime shelf liquor. For me, it means "Victory Shall Only Prosper." I've been coping with loads hardships and loads ups and downs coming into this sport. When I first obtained the title, I couldn't assume what I needed to call it. V.S.O.P. happened and I sat with it for some time and I felt that one thing was occurring with my persona or universe as a result of I'm coping with an excessive amount of stress and an excessive amount of weight on my shoulders, you already know what I'm saying? I simply relocated to Atlanta from Baltimore to chase my dream and I'm working so exhausting to get my household out that and get my daughter proper. This is it for me, victory shall solely prosper.

You have Young Thug, TK Kravitz and MoneyBagg Yo on V.S.O.P. What did you’re taking away from every artist you labored with on this album?

I'll begin with Moneybagg Yo, as a result of we now have the file out referred to as "Ride." Working with him it was only a recent sound. I watched him come within the sport and blossom. Just listening to a recent sound that's edgy and the streets bang with him, it's dope. My metropolis loves him and Yo Gotti, so I used to be like, "Let me get with this man." He was cool. He got here to the studio and we banged the music out. We shot the video the following day. I needed to fly to Houston for J Prince Weekend. We have been within the center the third ward within the lure. It was an incredible vitality.

TK Kravitz, that's the homie. Our chemistry is nice as a result of I already knew what data to throw these artists on. Young Scooter is one other homie. He's actual cool and actually say what he's about. That's genuine stuff you possibly can't beat that. I reside for authenticity, chemistry, and vitality. All these folks gave me that regardless that I'm a newcomer within the sport. They may've simply chopped me up like, "Let me get your bread and also you stand up out right here." I'm not saying these guys do it, however artists within the business do it on daily basis simply to get a bag. These folks don't work with all people. They simply don't soar within the sales space with you since you've obtained a bag otherwise you're cool, it’s a must to actually pay your dues, go in there and chop it up with them.

What was executed in a different way on this venture in comparison with your others?

I’ve a plethora music, like 2,000 songs. We switched the songs up so many instances as a result of there was a lot music. My supervisor Ron was telling me I have to personal this second, personal my sound and cease being afraid to step into the sunshine and be] who I’m. I really feel like that is the one which'll give folks a greater understanding who I’m as an artist. It's on a bigger scale. We've obtained loads nice issues flowing. We have an incredible relationship with Empire Distribution, in order that they're going to push the file and assist us get to the following stage.

I'm in an incredible scenario and making an attempt to remain constructive as a lot as attainable within the midst all of the issues I'm going via personally, and what my homeboys and household going via. They're me because the anchor and it's essential to me. I really feel like it will break the chain for my metropolis. Nobody got here from Baltimore and made noise or made any sound. I no less than wish to be entrance and middle when it occurs. I imagine in myself and this venture.

As you proceed to progress in your profession, is there a film character or athlete that you may evaluate your self to creatively?

I might evaluate myself to Antwone Fisher. You see how he went via all his stuff, the triumphs, the downfalls? He went via ache and it's parallel to my life. It exhibits regardless that I went via all these things, I struggled and went via ache. I'm nonetheless right here. Nothing can cease me. I'm going to get it. I'm right here. Antwone Fisher is the place I'm at proper now. I'm on the level the place he went to his adopted mom's home and instructed her he's nonetheless standing and nonetheless successful. That was dope to me.