B-DOPE AKA Bobby Drake talks about his craft, upcoming projects, and more
B-Dope grew up in the uptown area of NYC’s famed eastside section of Manhattan, known as Spanish Harlem, where he was influenced by hip hop through the likes of Kid Capri, G Bo The Pro, & many others!
When B-Dope relocated to Miami with his Mother & younger brother it was quite the change of scenery, but after meeting Sim-E (who had just recently relocated from the Big Ap himself), things seemed to take on a breath of familiarity!!!
The two connected & since they had both just began writing for a few already (plus Sim had begun to dabble in production, making beats by recording onto tape cassettes & discovering samplers).
They decided to join forces and form School Dayze, which was also part of a larger clique called BPS – Black Poet Society (BPS morphed & evolved into Blunt Cru, & then Unknown Fleet later on)! Within months they were performing at clubs & getting their songs played on radio stations in Miami like Hot 105, their youth & skill made them popular since they were only in 9th-10th grade.
After adding a third member to the group their popularity grew even more but then life happened & Bobby went separate ways, Sim & D-Rhythm (the 3rd member) found a replacement & formed Lastrawze! Not too long after that, however, B-Dope came back to the fold & even joined Lastrawze for a bit, before forming Da Funky Lunatics with Q45 & DJ Craze.
After Craze went on to make history, Bob linked up with emerging rapper K-Noxx (aka Mic Rippa, RIP) & again blazed trails around the local underground scene, but as we know so well, what once was will always be, so pretty soon B-Dope was back to making solo hits & rocking with his crew The Unknown Fleet!
Even though impending adulthood & things like fatherhood &
marriage, B-Dope remains passionate about his craft & skill & still maintains a tight brotherhood with his crew, from Sim-E all the way to DJ Craze, who he remains like a brother with to this day!!!
Sim-E had a vinyl release a few years ago called Sim-City that included 3 original School Dayze songs from their demo on the B-Side, & when B-Dope finally got his copy last year, a fire was ignited! Bob & Sim hit the studio that day & did a few new joints, which in turn led to them putting together an incredible album including previously unreleased material, & brand new bangers.
B-Dope premiers the video for their 1st single on 4/20, along with the single itself, so stay tuned, cop up when it drops, stay safe during these times, & prepare to be taken Back To Class!!!!!
When did you first discover your love for music?
I would say around 4 or 5 years old. Growing up music was always a big part of my household and life. I fell in love with how it made me feel. I mean think about it music has the ability to change your mood and attitude. With every song you listen to, you can hear the joy, the pain, and the anger through the words of the artist.
When did you know that you were going to make music a career?
When I first started doing music I was just having fun with it. I would make songs over instrumentals and remix other artist’s music with my own verses on it and play it for my friends. It wasn’t until I discovered you can actually make a living off of music, that I decided to make it a career.
To what do you accredit your sense of style?
Growing up in New York, I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem during the 80s when hip-hop was about lyrics. Back then every rapper had their own flow and delivery, you knew who was who the minute you heard them spit and that’s why I rhyme the way I do. When you hear me on any track you know it’s me by the way that I deliver my flows and spit bars.
Would you prefer to be independent or signed to a major?
Wow. For me, I prefer independent. Being independent means having more control over your music, and career choices. Don’t get me wrong though there are a lot of things that being with a major can offer. For instance, most majors have the resources to get your music in more places than a regular person like me doing it on their own can.
Major labels can also provide better promotion and a bigger album budget, especially when it comes to paying for production and videos. The flipside to that coin is they’ll need to recoup their money first before you see anything in your pockets.
What musical influences did you listen to growing up that helped to mold you into the artist you are today?
Growing up I’ve listened to all types of music… From disco, 80’s pop, R&B, and hiphop… If I was to get a little more specific I would say rappers like Spoonie Gee, Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Big L, and Lord Finesse.
What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career?
I’ve had a lot of breaks and opportunities over the years, so thinking back I would have to say one of my greatest opportunities so far has been the ability to work with Dj Craze.
Back in the day’s Craze and I had a group called Da Funkie Lunatics, and during the first How Can I Be Down convention we were offered (if I remember correctly) a 3 album production deal with Groove Merchant through Motown Records (Shouts to Doc Styles & JR Swinga for that). As Craze got bigger in the Dj scene he took me along with him to perform in several places around the world.
What are your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic in the studio?
My greatest challenge is getting my music heard without having to ask, or having to pay someone to play it. Back in the day, Dj’s were known to break an artist and play their music, nowadays it doesn’t seem that way.
My greatest attribute would most definitely be my ability to get busy when it’s time to. When I hit the studio I’m always ready to knock something out and not waste time.
Today’s music seems to be about collaborations with the “hottest” artist out. Who would you want to work with on a project? And why?
I’d would like to work with like-minded emcees that are about their lyrics, flows, and delivery. I would have to say, Jadakiss, Grafh, Fabolous, Fred Da Godson, Fat Joe, Nino Man, Uncle Murda, Casanova, Manio and Dipset.
I feel that I could hold my own with anyone of them, but if I was able to do a track any of them that they would definitely push to be ever doper.
What impression would you like listeners to be left with after hearing your music? what will people be able to say about you as an artist?
That everything I talk about in my music is real. From the things that I been through, and seen with my eyes. At the end of the day, I want people to know that nothing about me or my music was fake.
Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us? How do you like to enjoy your relaxation time away from the music?
I enjoy entertaining and being creative in general. I also have a clothing line that I’m working on. I tend to relax by chilling with my family & friends and watching movies.
What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music?
Not sure how to really answer this one lol. When it comes to my music I’ve always been about speaking from the heart and being myself. So I guess the image is more about being yourself, being real and speaking your truth. I can’t say that I chose this type of image, because it’s just who I am, and my music is a reflection of that.
What projects do you have in the making currently and what are your plans for the near future?
Right now I currently have an album out on all streaming platforms called The One and Only. On 4/20/2020, I’ll be dropping a video for a song called After Midnight on YouTube. The song itself can be found on all streaming platforms, and later this year the song will be released on vinyl.
After Midnight will be the first official single off a group project that I am working on with my man Sim-E (@simeauto). The name of the group is called School Dayze, and it was actually the first hip-hop group I was ever a part of along with Sim-E, and Bogey who both later went on to become Lastrawze. The album is going to be titled “Back To Class”. I also have another 2 projects in the works, one called “The Most Hated” and the other title is still in the works.
What is your ultimate goal at the end of your career?
I want to be remembered as an artist who put out great music lyrically. I want to be heard and understood as to what I was going through at the time I wrote each song.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Keep doing you. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do musically, but also have people around you that would keep it real and be honest enough to tell you when something is wack or needs some changes/improvements to make your music sound better.
How can potential fans find you?
IG: @bdope_bobhere / twitter: @bobhere / Facebook: Bobby Drake
My music can be found on all streaming platforms from Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc. etc.. b-dope “Bobhere On The Track” “Heavy Rotation” and “The One And Only”
Video’s on YouTube:
b-dope – From The Bottom:
b-dope – Hustler’s Dream:
b-dope – Target Practice:
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I want to thank my wife Elsie Melendez for encouraging me to keep making music, and coming up with new ideas. My kids Bobby & T’Yanna Melendez for their love & support throughout the years and help keeping me grounded.
I have to definitely thank both Jason “Tempermental” Denton & my cousin Marcus “Watson Green” Robles for hooking me up with the majority of beats that I feel capture my sound and style. Simeauto for rocking with me since day one.
An most of all Dj Craze for always being there when I needed him, from rocking the stage together, making mixtapes, laying down cuts, and especially for the beats he’s blessed me with throughout the years. Big shouts to my man @_ForeignFlexTV_ for shooting the Target Practice & After Midnight videos.
I would also like to thank Gigi @megafamlove, @iamtwotenjack, and @jt_thebeliever for putting together the Grab The Mic events, and allowing me to be a part of all their showcases. Last but not least I would like to thank all of my fans, you guys are amazing!! As long as I can spit bars, I’m going to continue to do it for you. Bobhere Bobout…..
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