Dru Bex sits down to chat about Toronto hip-hop, God’s plans, and his new project releasing Friday.
Dru Bex, the Canadian rapper and producer took some time to sit and chat with us this past week. He’s an inspiring creative mind who is focused on sharing the goodness of God. We are so privileged to have been able to ask him a few questions.
NewH2o: Dru Bex! It’s so nice to meet you. I appreciate your time. I guess we should just start with something easy. How did your hip-hop journey begin? I’m sure there are some challenges as well as opportunities being from Toronto.
Dru Bex – I would pretty much say that unlike a lot of Christian artists I started out Christian rap. In church as part of my youth group. We started out with something as part of a talent show, and I guess we were kind of good at it. The group was called “Christyle” and from there for a few years we performed at other churches. We got a little older and some of the other guys wanted to get out of music.
For me, I always stayed with the music. Around the time Toronto started getting hot in the hip-hop scene with Drake and guys like that, then the producers like Boi-1da and all those guys I actually was more into production than I was into rapping. I was a little distracted at this time with the other things happening in the (industry) in the city and I probably wasn’t as focused on the Lord as I should have been. I thought I’d try my hand at producing and break into the mainstream. My wife at this time was able to encourage me to get back into a closer relationship with God, and focus on what matters.
Once I refocused, I didn’t want to produce anymore. I wanted to rap. My thought at the time was “if it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t” but thank the Lord for the opportunity, and looking up since then. Coming from Toronto around 2013 was a good thing, but prior to that, Canadian hip-hop didn’t garner much respect in the U.S. Once OVO took off people realized that being from Toronto is actually a good thing.
NewH2o: A lot of your music has to do with the goodness of God. How has your story/testimony had an affect on your music and your creative decisions?
Dru Bex – I released an album called “The Good Album” with the overall theme pointing towards the goodness of God. I was trying to do something clever there with naming all the tracks “Good _________.” So yes I’m definitely trying to do that. My testimony definitely plays a part in my overall world view. A lot of people grew up in the church and had that whole experience where that’s all they know.
For me, I was free to do things that I wanted to do as a young man. I had the experience of staying up late, hanging with the wrong crowd, I was allowed to drink, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. My mom had passed away when I was a kid and my dad didn’t really care what I did. Even my grandparents at the time didn’t know what to look for. So I was able to get away with a lot of things.
However, I was going to church on Sundays. My grandmother made me go to church. It was at church where I was able to experience God in a real way, seeing the things of the world for what they were. From there on I saw the truth and I could see what was real. I was never forced to accept the Lord, I was able to accept Him on my own. This is a theme you see in every project I release. It’s a value of mine to point to God and to point to a biblical lifestyle.
NewH2o: Do you still dabble in producing? Being an artist who can produce as well as rap brings a lot of opportunities with it, I’m sure. Do you ever find yourself in creative ruts or experience challenges as you’re crafting your music?
Dru Bex – Every now and then I get the producer bug, but I’m blessed with some dope producers like my boy Jeremy Rodney-Hall (fka Rapzilla beat battle contestant ‘Q’) plus my engineer Adam P makes dope beats and I’ll hit up someone like OB every now and then. With all that talent around me I just spend time focusing on writing. But I do co-produce quite a bit of my releases with those guys.
As far as creative ruts, by God’s grace that hasn’t happened in a while. I actually experience the opposite problem where I release something and I’m automatically tempted to move on to the next thing. I have to stop myself and allow stuff to breathe, haha.
NewH2o: This is really random, and I know that Toronto is a big city but I made acquaintance with a guy, Jason Faulknor, who has started the “Spread Love” campaign. Are you familiar with that?
Dru Bex – Yeah bro I’m familiar with Jason and Spread Love! As big as the city is, when it comes to the black community I feel like everybody knows everybody to be honest, haha. Or at least we mostly travel in the same spheres especially if you’re a creative and especially if you’re a Christian. If you look at my video for the song ‘Good Life’ you’ll see the ‘villain’ wearing a spread love hat ironically, haha.
NewH2o: What would you say is the best part of what you do? What’s your motivation when you wake up in the morning?
Dru Bex– If I’m being honest the thing that usually motivates me at first is my desire to create good art and share it with the world. I daily have to submit that desire to God and say “Lord, I know this talent and these opportunities are from you, so help me use them in the way you want me to.” From there my desires start looking more like a yearning to reach souls with my gift and play my part in the grand scheme of God’s plans for the listeners.
NewH2o: Do you have a creative method? Have you always had a creative mind or is it something you’ve learned to harness?
Dru Bex – I’d say I’ve always had a super creative mind. It translates in more than just music. I’ve always been good at drawing, writing stories and even coming up with creative recipes. These days there’s definitely a lot of deadlines that I need to hit so I usually don’t have the luxury of waiting until something comes to me. Thankfully, I get easily inspired but the things I see and hear in a daily basis so if I know I have to deliver a track, I don’t have to rack my brain too hard to find inspiration. Even melodies and flows come pretty quickly so I’m blessed in that area.
NewH2o: Do you collaborate well with others or do you like to create on your own?
Dru Bex: I love collaborating! If you look at my projects and many of my releases you’ll see that I often have features. I love the creative energy I get from like-minded individuals. Some of my biggest songs like Running Man, Gamez and Winter in July are featureless and I hope that’s a testament to the fact that I can definitely carry a song or project by myself, but I just love the collaborative process. In the future you’ll see more collabs. I’m also thinking of dropping a featureless EP just to give listeners a different Dru Bex experience.
NewH2o: Speaking of upcoming releases, you’ve got an album releasing on the 25th! Can you give us some background and hint at what’s in store for the release?
Dru Bex – I’m dropping my second album on Role Model Records and my first album as a part of RMG Amplify on May 25. It’s called “In God’s Good Time” and it’s really inspired by my journey in life and in this music thing in particular. I’ve been putting in work for years and I began to think that I may have missed my chance to make an impact.
What I have found is much like so many examples in the Bible, when God tells you to move it’s best to listen despite the odds not seeming to be in your favor. Just do what he says and watch him work. That was the inspiration for the title of the album. Each song has a time themed title and/or concept. I’m hoping that people who enjoyed my last LP ‘The Good Album’ check this out. It’s really an evolution of the sound that started with that project. Of course I hoping that those who may have overlooked that project but may have heard some buzz check out this one. I’m confident they won’t be disappointed!
NewH2o: No doubt they won’t. I’ve heard it and I think it’s your best work yet! Man it’s great to chat with you a bit. Blessings to you in your ministry and your music. Thank you Dru! Looking forward to people getting their ears on this new project Friday!