In Talks With DDG – Childhood, Manifestation and Adjusting to Fame
15 Jul 2022
Hailing from Michigan in the US, 24 year old American rapper and YouTuber DDG is someone that needs no introduction. Having just had hit single “Moonwalking in Calabasas (feat. Blueface)” go double platinum – the list of incredible accomplishments DDG has achieved over the years it outstanding. With millions of subscribers across YouTube and more than 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify – DDG is at the highest level of multitalent within the creative industry.
Now having been on a busy festival season and travelling the world to perform over the past couple of months – we had a chat with DDG during his time in London last weekend about his childhood, manifestation, adjustment to fame and lots more. Here’s how it went :
How are you and how are you finding being in London?
I’m really good man – it’s only like my second or third time out here – but I’m loving it it’s fun.
And, what’s your favourite thing about London as supposed to America?
I would say the culture – you know the difference in culture and the way people talk here.
You performed at Wireless Crystal Palace last weekend – how was that for you?
It was fun. It was really good – outside of the country it’s totally different from the US. I get a lot of love out here it’s great.
In terms of your childhood, what was your upbringing like?
I grew up in Michigan – I’ve always been around music. My dad used to be an engineer for local artists so we had a home studio and stuff so I could go there and work on shit – but I really just focused on school and stuff. I was very educated – it was always a very competitive thing for me. I always wanted to have the best grades so I took school very seriously. It’s helped my career as it’s given me a lot of competitive spirit – it gave me that work ethic that I needed for music industry.
You mentioned your father was an engineer – what kind of music was being played in your house when you were growing up?
I listened to a lot of hip hop, R&B, really a lot of radio play but my favourite artist back in the day was 50 Cent. So then of course I used to listen to a lot of G-Unit as well.
You probably get bored of this question but it seems like a good sub topic to talk about – how old were you when you started making YouTube videos?
I was 16 or 17 I believe. It helped me in the artistry side of things as I built up my fanbase, I made the numbers, more eyeballs and more people being able to press play and just listen so it definitely gave me an edge. I started making videos before college when I was at Senior High School.
I can imagine it must have been difficult trying to adjust to being in the public eye and making a name for yourself whilst also pursuing a studious education?
Yeah, yeah. It was different being a public figure and everything you do gets looked at through a magnifying glass. It’s definitely a difficult thing to adjust to but that’s something that comes as part of being in the game.
So what was the point you realised that not only could you be a content creator on YouTube but you could also be a musician?
Probably when I started dropping music in 2017 and took it way more serious than I ever had done before. I was already pretty big on YouTube so I knew that the numbers would be there and the response was very good when I released my first single – that was the point.
And it’s mad to see the progression over the years now. I have to say firstly massive congratulations, “Moonwalking in Calablasas” just went double platinum – chat to me about that – that must feel crazy…
Yeah man, it’s a great feeling. Especially performing it overseas and seeing everybody turn up to it and sing the words. I knew it was going to blow and it was one of the best songs I had made. It was sitting in my archive and then I finally let it out for the people to hear.
Obviously that song has done a lot for you – would you say that that is your favourite song or would you pick differently?
To be honest I’d say my favourite song I’ve made is Elon Musk with Gunna. I wanted to capture a futuristic space theme on the video shoot as well so that was the mindset behind the track – obviously with Elon Musk being the man who owns SpaceX – I’d say that is my favourite.
I’ve done a lot of digging into looking at the comments and feedback on your music videos on YouTube especially. A lot of people praise you for your work ethic and high levels of motivation. Do you believe in speaking things into existence and what is fuelling your drive and motivation?
I believe in manifestation 100%. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole career and it’s been working. My biggest motivation is my family and my fans I’d say. I just have to continue to provide, be the best I can be and really try to inspire people.
There’s obviously a huge audible progression between your first single “Balenciagas” in 2017 and your more recent music. What’s changed over the past 5 years not only on the music side but also personally?
I just got older really – growing as a person. I’ve become more of a man and learnt how to manoeuvre in this life of fame and fortune. I’ve just been learning how to get used to it.
You’ve had an extremely busy few weeks in terms of event appearances and travelling – what was your pick of the bunch in terms of festival performances and do you find the constant travel difficult?
My favourite was Rolling Loud in Portugal. It was a beach setting – it almost felt like a vacation it was so fun. I like the travelling aspect of it – there’s something that feels really different about going overseas. It is such a big adjustment but I really just love being able to see different parts of the world.
What are your plans for the rest of this year music wise?
I’ve been working on my own project and then some collaborative work with Blueface. I’d 100% love to plan a headline show or tour in the UK as some point as well.
It wouldn’t be an interview with yourself without me mentioning your boxing – are you planning to fight again soon?
Yeah for sure – I was supposed to box this month actually but the deal fell through with the people I was supposed to box so I didn’t have an opponent. Plus, I’ve been on the road a lot so I haven’t really had any time to train at all.
Are there any artists you’d like to work with right now or do you feel relatively accomplished with your discography?
To be honest, I want to work with anyone that wants to work with me. I focus on the people that are trying to work – and I also feel like better music is produced when collaborations happen organically and naturally.
For the last series of questions, I have a few opinion based / miscellaneous questions. To start with, what’s your opinion on social media?
I think social media is taking over the world. I feel like it’s really moulding most things right now especially in the entertainment industry where you can split yourself apart completely from other people. You know, it can be the whole factor into whether you get a job or not.
What advice would you give to someone who is pursuing a similar to career to what you have had so far?
I’d say stay consistent and believe in yourself – and also make sure you have fun with it.
What is your opinion on the UK music scene and who do you listen to at the moment?
I like it man, I’m a big fan of it. I feel like it’s growing and becoming a lot more mainstreaming and you hear a lot of it crossing over to the US. I been listening to Central Cee and Aitch and few other people from the UK. US wise I listen to Gunna, Lil Baby, Drake, Brent Faiyaz and a bunch of other artists. My playlist is all over the place haha.
My closing question is quite a difficult one to answer so you can take your time to word it how you would like to – but for you, what is the meaning of life?
I think life is, life is… that’s a good question you know. In short I think it is all about experiences, having belief and discovering yourself and who you are.
Credit to 1508 Concierge for organisation.