|Photo by: Olivia Harlow|
When one thinks of Athens’ music scene, one’s mind might conjure up images of folk bands galore armed with acoustic guitars, beating drums, jangling tambourines and soulful harmonicas. Some would even picture the street performers that line drunken streets hoping for any spare change or dollars. For a select few, their minds drift to the grungy second floor of The Union Bar & Grill where they will find a raging hip-hop scene that is taking over the campus. One of the performers responsible for this is local rapper, DC Moore.
David Cameron “DC” Moore is a graduate student studying cultural studies in education by day and a hard-spitting emcee by night. His goal is to create hip-hop with a conscience.
The Cleveland native began his life of rhymes from an early age. As a teenager, he found himself in a bad time of his life--so bad that he desperately needed an outlet, and turned to rap.
“I was suicidal, to be completely honest,” Moore said. “ I just needed something to be an escape, and I was already writing poetry, so I took it a step forward and started writing rap songs.”
He took to the power of the pen inspired by artists he looked up to such as Tech N9ne, Scarface and Nas, and began to take out his frustrations in a healthy way. His first rap,titled “Hot Girls Like Cars," compared girls that he liked to different cars.
“It was corny when I look back on it, but when I started rapping it to my friends they thought it was the dopest thing ever,” said Moore. “I will say this: in high school I was rapping mainly to get girls around me. Whenever I would start rapping it would be girl, girl, girl all around me, just to hear me.”
With the ladies’ validation and encouragement from his friends, Moore felt confident to continue his passion for music when he came to Ohio University. OU’s VISCOM school drew him in, although he later decided to switch his major to African-American Studies.
After living in Alabama since the age of seven with his mother after his parents’ divorce, he enjoyed the comfort of his hometown four hours away. He began to immerse himself in OU’s rapidly expanding hip-hop scene by joining clubs like Hip-Hop Congress, where he began listening to newer artists, and adopting different ways of thinking.
“It [rap] was love, a release, artistic expression and later on a powerful tool to speak out against stuff that I thought just needed to be spoken on,” Moore said.
After showcasing at open mic nights and local rap battles, he began to collaborate with Hip-Hop Congress members Jéan P and DJ iShine. He then began producing albums. Over the span of three years, he has made a total of five albums that are all accessible to download for free online. Moore even began to diversify his music in order to reach a larger audience by featuring the vocals of Rachel Maxann, Elemental Groove Theory’s lead singer.
When Moore talks about performing on stage his censor comes off.
“It’s the best orgasm I can get without messing up my pants! It’s a rush, all those people putting their hands up and dancing,” said Moore.
Despite his ease in executing his verses, he still faces some troubles being a rapper in a town like Athens.
The hardest part for Moore as a hip-hop artist is trying to find his audience. He says he is aware of OU’s reputation as a party school and the many rappers who are going to cater to the party life. “I’m more of a lyrical in-your-face battle slash conscious emcee that is on another level as far as music is concerned,” said Moore.
He realizes he cannot reach the people who want to party all of the time, but regardless, Moore still tries to lure them into what he is trying to talk about. He continues to ask himself how to reach the partiers without diluting his message. Despite his struggles, Moore feels like he has found his musical niche.
“I may not be the party emcee, but I’m the one you can come home, lay on your bed, put me on your iPod and zone out to,” said Moore.
He has had listeners that have been abused, had their hearts broken, been pissed at the government and even contemplating suicide like he once had all listening to his music. These are the people he wishes to cater to.
When Moore feels that his music is getting to be too serious for his audience he tries to balance it out with other types of songs like love songs. Moore said the morality of man is skewed.
“You have a government right now who is defining what rape is for the purpose of women not to get abortions,” Moore said. “It’s just not fair and it’s not right.”
An advocate for women’s rights, Moore uses his music as a form of protest against horrible acts. He makes a conscious effort to avoid calling women derogatory names in his music, as well as avoid gay slurs, and the use of the “N” word.
In his music, he talks a lot about rape and how wrong he thinks it is. This is part of the reason why he connects so much with artist Tech N9ne. “He’s been to the darkness and back, and he questions morality in man and speaks on it,” said Moore.
Unlike many artists Moore does not have the typical dreams of making onto the Billboard Top 100 chart.
“Ultimately I want to teach classes on hip-hop lyrics as well as other forms of black music, because the only reason I even got interested in hip-hop was for the lyrics,” said Moore.
He did admit that if the opportunity presented itself to make a career out of music he would at least give it a “maybe.”
Moore said he feels that mainstream music has a tendency to get watered down as artists lose their integrity. With record labels having a say over what their artists produce DC fears the possibility of them “dipping their hands in the Kool- Aid.”
“You stand by your music and put out the album how it’s supposed to be put out,” said Moore. “You can get success or failure, but you don’t lose your integrity.”
Currently, Moore is working on his last album for some time. Focused on starting a career, he wants to make sure he is able to get some material out before his hiatus. Under the new management of IFS Productions, the album will be titled Heartless, and is anticipated to be released in spring 2012. He plans to revisit his musical roots with serious subject matter with a Quentin Tarantino and Rob Zombie inspired spooky feel.
“It’s going to play like a horror movie and scare people,” he said.
The album will have songs involving school shootings, suicide, domestic violence and rape. Not to disappoint his more optimistic listeners, Moore said about 25 percent of the album will have hopeful songs.
His creativity is not limited to music. He is also working on a fictional novel entitled Alex in Purgatory, spawning from a short story he wrote called “Trouble”. It is about a man in between heaven and hell and the perils of his troubled life.
It seems there are no bounds to this artist’s creativity, leaving him an expansive creative license.
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