After show-stopping performances at the inaugural Best in Black Awards hosted by the Michigan Chronicle and Radio One, Kelly Price, Royce da 5’9 and DMK sat down with us to discuss the importance of celebrating excellence in the community.
Following is what they had to say.
Fresh off his U.S. tour for his latest album, “Layers,” that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, Detroit native Royce 5’9
discussed his sobriety and love for the city.
Why do feel the Best in Black Awards is important for Detroit?
Royce: It gives us an opportunity to support our own businesses. We often are not supportive of our own and this kind of forced us to be. It’s cool to find out about new black-owned businesses opening up in the city. I make a point of patronizing them on a regular basis.
What is your motivation musically?
Royce: Making music. Poetry. I like the art of rapping.
What do you hope people will receive from “Layers”?
Royce: I just hope they notice the growth. Not just as an artist, but as a person. People who have followed me
for 15 years will notice a really obvious growth. Going from rapping about being in the club to now rapping about being sober.
Was it therapeutic?
Royce: Yeah, it was therapeutic. I sobered up four years ago. When I stopped drinking, I just started doing a whole bunch of reflecting and a bunch of these old memories came back. If you’re drinking every day, you don’t really reflect. And I started seeing a therapist, andI would talk to him and feel so much better. After that, I just felt like I needed to do music. So, I went to the studio to make music.
What made you seek help?
Royce: It’s taboo in our community because people frown upon things they don’t understand. As I’m getting closer to 40, I began to see things differently.
Forty, for men, is a time of reflection and I didn’t like where my life was heading. I’m in a better place after getting help.
Kelly Price, six-time Grammy-Award nominee, spoke with us about her love of Detroit and the importance of the city’s legacy.
What was unique about the Best in Black Awards?
Price: Recently, I had a concert here in Detroit with Ginuwine and several others, Chico DeBarge, Dru Hill. The organizers for the Best in Black award show were in the audience that night when I performed and within a couple of days of that concert they reached out to us and asked us if we would be here. So, really upon finding out what this is and
to acknowledge and reward black-owned businesses in the city of Detroit and to celebrate them, I loved the whole idea.
It’s so important to acknowledge those who have stuck with the city and who have chosen to continue to make this city their home and where they want to have their businesses. So, when I knew what this was about, I really wanted to be a part of it.
What are your other thoughts about Detroit?
Price: This city has been through a lot, but it’s a resilient city. I remember as a kid growing up in New York, Detroit being one of the places I always wanted to visit. They had the best churches here. When you wanted church, church. There was Chicago, Detroit and New York. And there were
other things you would think of when you think of Detroit. Not just the motor industry, but entertainment.
This city is just been in American history and culture. It’s experienced some rough times, but it’s on the rise again. This city has been really good to me. Always supported me from the very beginning of my career. There is never a time when I come to Detroit and Detroit doesn’t show up for me. So, I wanted to show up for Detroit.
Now, gaining momentum after their appearance on the hot TV show “Empire,” DMK has no plans to slow down anytime soon. The trio has been making music together for 12 years and they are excited to show the world what Detroit is about.
Why are the Best in Black Awards
important to you?
DMK: People are like, I can’t believe Detroit people actually did this. So, it’s dope to actually show that Detroit still has that Motown kind of feel to it. We still have talent here.
What has life been like after “Empire”?
DMK: It’s literally the craziest thing. “Empire” took us from local artists in Detroit to people going crazy when they find out who we are. It’s been a really great response. I don’t think we’ve run into any negative comments.
What are you currently working on?
DMK: We’re about to start on our album. It’s going to be a long and exciting process. We’re getting that ready for next year.
Who are you working with for the
DMK: We’re with a production company called Live The Music Group. Within the group, they have so many different talented writers and producers. We’ve worked with Ashley Rose (Roc Nation), the Crush Boys in L.A. and Quentin Dennard.
In five years, where will DMK be?
DMK: Albums, Grammys, endorsements, world tours and giving back. For sure giving back to the city of Detroit because Detroit is on the come up.