Dave B, Seattle’s Smoothest Rapper

“There has to be a moment where you sit down, and be like, ‘okay, sing to me, Dave.’”

Dave B stands out among other emerging singing rappers with serious lyrical talent, melodious hooks (which he has begun to write for other artists) and crispy production. On top of that, he has unreleased music with fellow Seattle legends Sango and Jake One. It’s not only his music that stands apart from other young artists on the come-up. Dave is one of the most genuine musicians I’ve ever met, with an air of shyness offstage and a smooth confidence onstage. If they keep up their momentum, 2016 is going to be a huge year for Dave and his crew.

Following his Friday night show at the BK Palisades, Dave and his crew made their rounds around New York City, shot a music video and were courted by NY music industry leaders. After we talked, I realized why it’s all love for Dave B.

Following a trip to NYC and a performance at Sasquatch, 2016 is proving to be a big one for Dave and his crew. If you haven’t become acquainted with Dave’s work yet, definitely listen to his EP Punch Drunk and check out his awesome music video for “Rain” and “Worth It.” As the jazzy hip-hop hybrid style continues to thrive, Dave is someone to keep an eye out for. He’s also a huge homie and a crazy freestyler.

How is Seattle different from other scenes?

Seattle, because it’s a hella small city…you can’t help but be a part of that community…Everybody knows everyone in some way, especially creative people.

Do you feel like people like to collab more because of that?

You would think that people would want to collab more. It’s more like, ‘I’m doing this over here and I’m going to get to wherever I’m going before you are. It be all love though.

Do people stay in Seattle or dip out to bigger cities like LA or New York?

People will dip out to LA or New York but for the most part people stay in Seattle and then they hit a glass ceiling and keep doing Seattle shit. I want to live in Seattle…but I want to go out and travel. People just stay in Seattle and don’t go anywhere.

Is there a girl that got away?

Of course. There’s hella girls that got away…I mean they all get away…I’m a hopeless romantic like that, it’s all in my music…it be my fault lowkey but sometimes they just get their fix and go.

The reason why I like your music is because it’s on the come-up of jazz back into mainstream hip-hop that people can bump universally than trappy bangers/stuff. Like I want something that I can play my mom something she’ll like in the car. How do you feel about the jazz/hip hop intersection that’s occurring?

I fuck with it. I listen to hella jazz so it ends up coming out in my music. But it’s tight because jazz in a universal f***ng language, it’s a universal tone. You want to make shit that everyone can on some level relate to. Nobody, I don’t care who you are, wants to hear 808s and high-hats all day long. There has to be a moment where you sit down, and be like, “okay, sing to me, Dave.”

Are you trying to have a live band or did you ever have one?

 I used to…But the band had to break up…Right now it’s more of a hassle and you’re making less money and spending more money to have that backline.

What’s your writing process like…Do you write shit down when it comes to you?

I’m a voice memo kind of guy. But just for melodies and shit. Or if something dope or weird or whatever happens, I’ll just jot it down in my notes. Or if I have a slick one-liner but usually we’re either making a beat or listening to a beat and I just pace the room and think about the song.

Would you ever think about songwriting for people?

Yeah, that’s why I started making music…I’ve been writing more for people lately…like hooks.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you keep your stuff for a long time before you show it to anyone?

No, because I don’t like to go back on shit. I think you’re first idea is your best idea…As long as I can get it to sound like it does in my head out loud, then I’m pretty much happy.

What was your favorite song off of your EP?

Outside, it’s the first song. That’s the only one where I actually got to see the beat being made so I fuck with it.

Do you like doing collabs with people?

Yeah…but not for my own shit…I don’t like rappers. Too much ego and too much shit…Even with singers too, because I can be particular about what you’re doing because I want to sound like ‘this.’

What’s your dream collab?

Um, it would be me and Missy Elliott with a T-Pain bridge and Dom would talk shit out the outro. It would be crazy…And maybe Janet Jackson would say something real sexy in the beginning. It would be wild.

Alex Oka