When I wrote for another Dayton-based media outlet nearly a decade ago, I wrote a story about a rap duo called 275. The duo consisted of DeMarco and Snipes. At the time I wrote about them, the men released a single called “Hustle Man” that shook the streets of Dayton. The duo made noise nationally as well, as they were rumored to have had talks with major labels to sign contracts. For a few years, 275 were Dayton’s best bet for national hip-hop stardom.
A few years have passed, and things have changed. The duo is no more, and lone voice from 275 is DeMarco. The Montgomery County hip-hop veteran has decided to push on and continue rapping. The results so far have been impressive. DeMarco dropped a well received Mixtape, “Hank Music Vol 1”. Buzz is surrounding the mixtape, and it doesn’t hurt that DeMarco has well connected Core DJ affiliated DJ Skno in his corner. DeMarco had some time to sit down and talk about his dues paid, the history of 275, and his most recent moves.
Greg Simms Jr. : How long have you been rapping, professionally?
DeMarco: “I’ve been rapping for about 13 years professionally. I was a young’n starting out. It’s been a blessing to stay relevant through a few eras of hip- hop.”
GSJ: You were in the group 275. Are you still in the group? What’s the status of it?
DM: “Yes, I started out as half of 275. We had a chemistry that was bananas. 275 was defunct in 2005 due to Snipes pursuing a family setting, and moving. He’s still my homie though, we been cool since we were nine years old, so I had to respect his decision.”
GSJ: Did 275 have a major label deal? Or talks with a major?
DM: ” We had a distribution deal with SMD (Southern Music Distribution) in Atlanta, a deal on the table with Jive, Def Jam South (they ended up signing Ludacris) and Bad Boy.”
GSJ: . When did you decide to go solo?
DM: ” Around 2006. Once Snipes retired, it was still a passion for me, and I knew I had the talent to succeed because we were there. I just had to adjust to being solo which was tough. I started out with snipes and never thought I’d ever be solo. I just had to turn it up.”
GSJ: Tell me about the mixtape.
DM: “: ‘Hank Music, vol 1 What The Streets Want‘, hosted by DJ Skno, is another masterpiece. It’s my 9th project, 3rd as a solo artist, but its probably my most complete project because of the range. I got trap music, music for the ladies, hip hop heads (crazy bars) just everything you wanna hear, a one stop shop. I pride myself on being versatile, and speaking 100% truth on all topics, because I been through it on all those levels.”
GSJ: Where is the mixtape available?
DM: ” It’s available online at www.polishedmoney.com, in Dayton, Ohio at 14 Carat on Gettysburg Avenue, Xclusive CD Store on Philadelphia or catch DJ Skno in the streets, he keeps them on deck.”
GSJ: How has the mixtape done sales wise?
DM: ” How has the public reacted to it? We’re at about 400-500 now, steady rising, it’s all promotion so I plan on hitting the entire Midwest and flood the streets. The public has shown me a lot of love, the streets have always embraced my music, and my fans see I respect this art form so I stay on ten with every verse. They love it.”
GSJ: Are there any more mixtapes on the horizon?
DM: ” I got two more joint projects on deck for this year, with two of Dayton’s best lyricists, they should both be dropping within the next few months. I’ll be dropping again towards the end of this year. Just keeping the momentum going towards the album.”
GSJ: Are you touring, or doing any shows now, or in the near future?
DM: ” We’re setting up a 6-7 city tour throughout the Midwest in June, and hopefully I’ll be on a East coast tour also that’ll start in July. I have shows around Dayton coming up, and also a live band show on the riverboat to support breast cancer on May 5th. ”
GSJ: Is it hard for a Dayton-area rap artist to break out?
DM: ” Yes, now it’s harder than ever. It was hard for us when I first started because we were from Dayton, a small city nobody was checking for, but there wasn’t that many artists. Now it’s still a small city, but there are ten times more artists, so the lane is so clogged up, there’s almost more rappers then hip hop fans in general, so the support is divided so much that no one artist can gain any real momentum. So, long story short, you gotta get outta Dayton and create your buzz elsewhere also, and in most cases it takes long money.”
GSJ: What do you make of Dayton’s Hip-Hop scene?
DM: ” I respect it, as I mentioned on the previous question I think it’s over-saturated, but there’s more talent here then there’s ever been. I’ve seen artists that have improved a lot over the years, and some new artists that just got it, they just need that push.”
GSJ: What are your future plans as an artist?
DM: ” I plan to drop more projects long as the lord is willing, I’m setting up further distribution deals, multiple videos for hank music and my album “Something Epic”, and also working with my daughter Jayla, who is the real future of this hip hop. mark my word. the new label is Polished Money music, so as of now it’s my daughter and me, but I plan to expand and sign new artists in the future.”