Detroit-based rapper and producer Drew32 is hoping that 2014 will be his breakthrough year. Following the release of his mixtape The Batch: Volume One, BFTV connected with Drew to talk about the kind of artist he wants to be - and how he came to make the acquaintance of a 22-foot snake.
"I'm kind of like a one-man band and I'm really passionate about it," he told us. "I rap, I produce, I do web design - I kind of do it all. I've been doing this since I was 10 years old. It's what I love to do. And I'd love to be able to really connect with fans."
Describing his mixtape, Drew continued, "I'm most proud of the production on it, and I think just the overall feel of it. Like the emotion. I kind of feel almost exposed a little bit when people hear it. It dives into issues that are really going on with me. I do think that it's [also] fun to listen to. I think you can play it and just enjoy it."
Which is ultimately what he's hoping people do with his music. "There are a lot of musicians that take on political issues and take stances and stuff like that. I love Bob Marley [and] he was very political with his music," he added. "But it's not necessarily my job. I just love making music. I would rather have people enjoy it. Even though I do listen to people who take political stances, I just like it because I like the music."
The current single off The Batch is "True Colors," the video for which you can check out with this article.
While The Batch is still cooling off, Drew's already hard at work on the follow-up, which so far remains untitled. He's excited about bringing even more new music to his fans. "This new project, I'm just really in love with like the songs that are on it," he revealed. "Even the whole recording process is different for this project. This project, I'm pretty much getting everything professionally mixed and mastered at a studio with like Grammy Award-winning engineers. This one's at a higher level."
But he's already accomplished quite a bit for an emerging rap artist. He's been heard on the likes of MTV, MTVu, and ESPN, and shared the stage with artists that include Gym Class Heroes, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole. We asked Drew which of the folks he's worked alongside left the biggest impression on him.
"I'd probably say Gym Class Heroes," he told us. "I love sharing the stage with all those guys, but Gym Class Heroes, just the whole element of the live band. A lot of guys just go on stage with a DJ. That was one of the first shows I did where I actually decided to have a live band with me. Especially after seeing them perform, it was like 'I need to have this.' It adds so much to a live show. That was really impactful. And they shouted me out on stage!"
Other career highlights have included performing in Greece and being able to collaborate with Royce Da 5'9", whom he calls "one of my favorite rappers ever." But when he's not in the studio, you'll likely find Drew watching a major sporting event.
"I'm a big sports fan," he enthused. "Right now I've been watching March Madness. The NCAA tournament is the only thing on my television right now. I got to visit Bristol, the ESPN headquarters, because they were playing a couple of my songs on First Take. To see all the backdrops and the studios of my favorite shows. That was a really cool moment for me."
And then there's the not-so-little matter of that snake. "I want people to ask me about the snake in the 'True Colors' music video. I have a 22-foot Burmese python wrapped around me in the video. And no one has asked me about it yet!" he laughed. "Honestly, I'm not that keen on snakes, but it was a metaphor, kind of. I directed the video myself, and when I was putting the concept together, I just thought it would make the video better. It was like, I'll do it for the video. And it ended up being not that bad. It was fun though, it was crazy."