The purpose of this series is to introduce you to everyone involved in Hip-Hop in Harrisburg. It’s going to take me awhile to do it, but I’m determined. From new artists to established, from DJs to producers, the idea is to highlight them all.
The boss lady was kind enough to give me last week off due to my routine seasonal change sickness that kicked my butt for a few days.
I am back this week shining the spotlight on one of the newer artists in Harrisburg: Dwight Lep.
I met Dwight a few months ago at a local show, and after his performance, I wanted to sit down with him and get a glimpse into what is going on inside the head of Dwight Lep. I knew when both of us rode our skateboards from opposite directions to The Sturges Speakeasy for a beer and to talk about hip-hop, we were going to have a good time. I’ve always said skateboarding and hip-hop go hand in hand so it was nice to sit down and talk with someone who feels the same.
MJ: When did you figure out that hip-hop needed to be a part of your life and you wanted to be an artist?
DL: I think my love for hip-hop probably came from my two older brothers, Wes and Tony. Wes is 16 years older than me and growing up he put me on to the old school hip-hop. I remember him giving me Eazy-E’s greatest hits and hearing tracks like “Neighborhood Sniper” and getting hooked. But, when 50 Cent came out and the whole G-Unit crew came out I was all about it. You couldn’t tell me anything else but G-Unit was the best. I’m a fairly normal white dude that grew up not in an urban area, I just like hip-hop.
When did you start rapping?
I remember I was 10 when I left this area and moved with my brother to a military base. So it was like culture shock for me because there was kids from everywhere. I got to meet so many different people that influenced my style. So that’s when I first started trying to write in the 5th grade and trying to battle kids in school! It really picked up when I got to Florida and everyone was into that Paul Wall and Mike Jones (who?!) scene that was coming out of the south at the time. So I kind of picked up a bit of that influence and style. When I was 14, I recorded my first song and I have just kept going at it since then.
How does someone so young, even as a teenager, get any type of real influence from hip-hop?
Well, I have been in and out of trouble a few times in my life, but I found some of my best stuff comes from those hard times that I am going through. I have stacks of notebooks at home full of things I’ve wrote. I spend a lot of my time on my laptop making my own beats when I get a chance to, but it’s hard. It’s frustrating. I work to try to pay my bills, stay out of trouble and, sometimes it doesn’t leave much time left over for this and this is what I love to do. I just stay focused on my art whenever I can.
Say someday, you reach a higher level in hip-hop. What would you do to influence others that listen to you?
I would help people, man! I would love to give back to schools and help kids that don’t have anything at least get a shot at a successful life. There’s no need to drag anyone down so it’s all about helping people out, getting rid of hate. That’s what I would be all about.
A lot of your tracks have that party vibe to them. It’s important as an artist especially in hip-hop to make sure you’re rapping about what you’re living though.
Absolutely, I have a track called, “All in My Head,” and while yeah, I can put out the party tracks about getting turnt up and getting live but I also have deeper tracks that talk about my life and some of the dark shit I’ve been through. It’s cool sometimes to go into that deeper level with people that listen to your tracks. Also, sometimes it’s cool to get live and party!
What are you loving about hip-hop in our city right now?
I love how many artists are coming together and putting each other on now. I was working at MoMos BBQ and Grill when Vito (Depiero) rented the whole place out for his album release. He found out that I could spit so he handed me the mic. Now guys like him and Entellekt are putting me on their shows with them and I just feel so fortunate that there are artists — a lot of artists — in our city that are helping one another out. I have love for everyone that is an artist and I have so much respect for so many artists in our city.
Another great adventure in Hip-Hop in Harrisburg and another opportunity to see it from another perspective.
Dwight Lep is working away writing and producing beats for his next project but, in the meantime, you can check out his mix tape he released in 2016 titled “White Noise” on his Datpiff artist page.