Is the World Ready for Young Roland?
I recently had the chance to vibe with one of the Twin Cities fastest rising stars, emcee Dwynell Roland. Dwynell has been building steam since releasing The Popular Nobody in 2016 and touring with P.O.S. We talked about the thought process behind his brand new album Young Roland and discussed the current state of hip hop. Dwynell also lets us know about his plans and goals for the future and how his crazy new music video became a reality. Young Roland drops June 1st at 11am, and I can personally guarantee that the album is indeed fire. It features MaLLy, Dem Atlas, and an army of dope producers. Mixed by Dillon Parker from Stophouse the album is both lyrically and sonically on a whole nother level, and you can find out yourself June 1st!
First of all congratulations on being named City Pages Emcee of the Year. That’s a huge honor considering the depth of talent in the Twin Cities area. How did you feel when you found out, and were you surprised at all?
I was super surprised by the selection! I honestly didn't know that was going to happen until I looked on the site and was like ayyyyyy... damn. So it was a very dope surprise to really see and take in. It's a dope accomplishment but it’s deff more work that needs to be done to keep the ball rolling!
Is that really your mom on Twitter liking all of our tweets about you? How supportive has your family been of your rap career?
Hahaha.. yeah that is. It's wild my whole family are big supporters of me and really give me so much support to make this music thing happen. My mom is most likely the biggest supporter out of all of them! She flew to San Diego just because she wanted to see me while i was on tour and see the show. It was a very crazy moment and very rare that family supports someone chasing the music dream. Wild.
What are some of the challenges of juggling a day job and a music career? How have you successfully balanced both careers?
Man. If you want something enough you'll know how to make shit happen regardless. I’m usually tired a majority of the time, but I know it comes with the grind, so I suck it up and make it happen. There can be some off days (meaning being lazy) and just not wanting to do a damn thing with music at all. But for the most part I know how to get it done and juggle everything to make this music shit happen one day at a time.
Hip hop has evolved over the years to the point where a lot of mainstream rappers are pretty much pop artists at this point. What is your opinion on how hip hop has changed over the years, and how do you successfully connect with a younger fan base?
I mean hip hop has and will always change every year. It’s a weird year in music regardless, but you just try to adapt as much as you can. That's all I can really do is adapt but try not to lose my original sound and values with the music I actually want to make. Which is why I try to make a good blend with what you say later with the old school and new school type of music. I feel it doesn't leave the core values on what I want to make and still reaches the young hip hop crowd.
Why did you choose to title the album Young Roland?
Hahaha. I’ve always said Young Roland since high school. I’ve always wanted to call a song or album that, and it just worked out with the music to call this album Young Roland. So it's funny and great to be able to use this concept and run with it. I love it!
Young Roland seems to blend the old school and new school styles of hip hop pretty seamlessly. Who were some of your influences growing up and who are you listening to these days?
I listen to a lot of different artists. At this moment I’m listening to J.I.D. a lot, as well as Bloccboy JB, Rae Sremmurd, and J. Cole. I used to listen to a lot of No Limit back in the day. My fav artists are Joe Budden and Mystikal, so It’s always a great thing to really pick apart from different parts of music!
Your new album, Young Roland, features a different producer for each track and only two guest vocal appearances (MaLLy and Dem Atlas). That’s reminiscent to the formula Nas used on Illmatic. Was there a conscious effort on your part to follow a similar album structure, or was that just how the album turned out as the creative process played out?
Nah. That's just how it all turned out to be! I usually go with what I feel, and those tracks all turned out to be something that I felt very confident about and picked for the album. I usually just make tons of tracks then put it together afterwards and see how they all tie together. In this case they all seemed to link together pretty well and be cohesive as much as possible, so that’s always a plus.
Dillon Parker from Stophouse did a phenomenal job mixing Young Roland. Did you have any input on the mastering, or did you just sit back and let him do his thing?
Dillion is the man! He knows exactly what to do without really having to be told anything. He has done everyone’s record for the most part (Atmosphere, Prof, Dem Atlas, etc), so he just kills the process and knows what to do easily. Also with Dillon, he is a very honest person which helps the process, because he tells me what he really thinks good or bad. So that always helps the process and makes things very easy.
How did you come up with the concept for the music video for Control It, and where did you shoot the video?
I made the video at Can Can Wonderland and a golf course I can't name lol. But it was a good shoot and I always had that concept in my head listening to this. So when I had a chance to make it happen, myself and Milkfilms just really sat down and connected the dots. It was a very fun video to shoot, because it's different in my eye, so I couldn't wait to put it out. It seems to be doing very well, so I’m excited for the project and the video.
What’s next for Dwynell Roland? Any touring lined up or plans for a release party?
I’m just doing a lot of shows like usual. But the main goal is to try to expand musically to other states and make sure to hit those states as far as shows! So I just want to make that goal happen and travel some more. As far as the release party.....stay tuned! :)
For more music from Dwynell Roland check out his social media links above and check back at divebarblues.com for more interviews and content from your favorite artists