Growing up in Hackney East London there was no short of an ethnic presence which meant that music was a common ground for many of the kids growing up and still is today.
DL’s older brother often would borrow tapes from their older uncles (without their mother knowing) which meant that acts like NWA crept into the household. This sparked a keen interest in hip-hop and the story telling within music which led to DL’s interest in acts like Biz Markie and his classic
“Pick The Boogas” and Special Ed’s and his famous “The Mission”
KRS-1 was also a favourite with “Love’s Gonna Get Ya” which meant BDP albums were helping to increase the influence of hip-hop in DL’s life.
After following the antics of the Fat Boys, Young MC, Master Ace and Schoolly D, DL got turned onto The Jungle Brothers and De La Soul and this was a crucial point in his affection with hip-hop as the afro-centric and eclectic funky sounds were ever so intriguing to a then 12 year old kid.
De La had a huge impact on DL and was the group responsible for DL believing he too would be able to become a recording artist. But even though DL had at such a young age decided on his vocation no rap artist or group could or would re-affirm this goal more than A Tribe Called Quest.
The recipe created by the fusion of Ali Shaheed Mohammed, Phife, Jarobi and Q-Tip was the food and fuel for DL to take prolific interest in song making and beat construction as well as sampling.
By the time DL was thirteen he was making his own beats in the Kingsland school studio on Casio keyboards and learning about sequencer packages. Groups like Black Sheep and The Fu-Schnikens came out and were again more re-affirmation that hip-hop was the way forward over all and everything else.
DL spent his adolescent years performing in school assemblies and concerts and ghost writing for other students in school who desired to rap as well as having battle sessions in the playground with other wannabe rappers.
In 1993 DL briefly joined a rap group called 12 Stone with members Alke and The Dirty Rat (Older students from the same school) but due to creative differences DL left and went solo within a year.
At the end of his compulsory education DL teamed up with DJ Stixx and set about crafting demo tapes to shop to record labels. Simultaneously he trained as a sound engineer and worked part time for experience in Bad Apple Studio which at the time was based in Tottenham Hale North London.
By this time DJ Parris had also expressed a keen interest in music and since the three had studied together it was only right that DL, Stixx and Parris became great allies encouraging and assisting each other achieving their dreams.
Their drive and determination they had further catapulted them to become an icons in hip-hop in the UK. This meant Funky DL went on to achieve some of the greatest heights ever in UK hip-hop
Funky DL first started earning props when his demo’s received regular air play on stations such as Kiss FM, Choice FM and Radio one by the likes of DJ 279, Max LX and Dave VJ and Tim Westwood.
In 1996 Funky DL went on to win the well known Fosters Ice Breakers competition and released his first record “The Individual”, this led to DL being firstly offered a two single deal with Almost records which developed further into an album deal with Almo Sounds and a publishing deal with Rondor Music.
Equipped with unlimited studio access, DL set about crafting his debut album “Classic was the day”. Released in the late summer of 1997, this album was widely received by the UK’s hip hop fraternity and veered DL on to win a MOBO award for the best hip hop act of 1997. Funky DL then went on to remix records for the likes of such artists as “Missy Elliot”, “Keith Sweat”, “Adina Howard” and “Connor Reeves”.
In 1998 DL joined an independent label called Utmost records and released his sophomore album “Heartfelt Integrity”. With another MOBO nomination and spearheading the “London all stars project (a collaboration of London’s finest rappers including Blak Twang, Phoebe One and Rodney P, DL went on to tour Australia, France and Israel, returning to London to support the likes of “The Roots”, “Destiny’s Child”, “KC and Jojo”, “Ras Kas” and “Killah Priest”.
After a very strenuous year DL left Utmost to set up his own label “ WashingtonClassics”. In 1999 Washington Classics released numerous Funky DL records including the 12-inch “Stoppin and Startin” which surprised many of DL’s critics because of his amazingly tight lyricism. DL went on to release his third album “OneAnother” (a first for any rapper in the UK) which led to yet another MOBOnomination and propelled him to greater heights, touring in Japan where his music was being so widely received.
Single-handed, Funky DL had earned himself the title of the hardest working man in hip-hop. After yet another successful year, DL supported Eminem for his UK tour and was recalled in early 2000 to join Eminem and Dr Dre in the Brixton Academy. The year 2000 saw DL do his second tour of Japan and also flying out to New York to work with Miilkbone and also feature on Bobbito’s radio show along side N’Dea Davenport and hip hop heavyweight producer Easy Mo Bee.
Funky DL Then went on to release his fourth album “When Love Is Breaking Down” and returned to Japan for its promotion, Touching down at the infamous “Club Harlem” Shibuya Tokyo and making several public appearances in HMV stores in Tokyo and Yokahama for signing and performing tracks in store live. DL also remixed for the Japanese group M-Flo’s hit record “Planet Shining”.
Funky DL then went on to New York to produce for an up and coming rapper named “Sekz” and featured with Sekz on The latest Showbiz and A.G single “The Street”
DL went on to release his 5 th and 6 th album “BlackcurrentJazz” and The Classic Fantasy
(The most vivid and vibrant Funky DL albums yet) which have been so widely received in Japan making DL one of the UK’s most unique international artist’s to date.
DL is also currently producing tracks for the legendary Shola Ama and rap star Phoebe One as well the debut album for soul stress Dyanna Fearon which exhibits some of his greatest music production ever!
The Seventh Album entitled “Street Love” which the UK smash “Little Mike” is taken from,is on its way and promises to be a great release full of surprises as well as the brand new album “Since 77” which will be one of DL greatest releases.
The frightening thing about all of this is this is just the beginning…… |