Spotlight

Dula-Mite: Top Vegas Rapper Talks New Music, Career, Today’s Hip-Hop, & Life in the Real Las Vegas

14 Mins read

Dula-Mite

Meet the Top Las Vegas Rapper

In a repetitive game of very little originality arrives what hip hop has been missing and is currently in desperate need of, an artist that makes sure to stay true to self and to be a great representation for the culture.

While representing for the culture of black excellence, while representing for women, while representing for the true art form of hip hop, and while representing for himself and his city of Las Vegas, Dula-Mite is part of a special breed of rappers that often gets out marketed by an industry that seems to gravitate more towards great profit gains and mass influence of ignorance over true artistry, originality, and creativity.

If asked, Dula-Mite has always been his own man, making sure to not be a follower, which is showcased throughout his music, implementing his own style of hip hop that can stand the test of time and not be quickly forgotten. Now the veteran and one of the leaders of Las Vegas’ hip hop scene is set to release his latest, Respect the Elohim (Available Now on Youtube, Spotify, and all other platforms).

Dula-Mite – Cocoa Melanin

Meet and Get to Know Dula-Mite

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown what is it like growing up in Las Vegas?

Dula-Mite:  It’s definitely a huge misconception to people outside looking in. There’s always a saying that we use called Beyond the Strip. For locals, we don’t really go to go to the [Las Vegas] Strip that much unless we were going to the club or something. But you have to think, growing up here Vegas is more of a you’ve have to be 21 and up.

I grew up on 28th Street. So, growing up in, I guess you could say, the hood is different and there ain’t nothing to do. So, most people were just getting in trouble. Where I grew up, it was multicultural gangs. It was a lot of Latin gangs, Filipino gangs, black gang, I was surrounded by all of them.

“I got to make a choice. I’m either going to join the street gang or I’m going to protect my mom. I chose to protect my mom”

Then I grew up in an abusive household as well, too, because my father was real abusive. And my mom just stuck around for whatever reason. For me it was like, okay, I got to make a choice. I’m either going to join the street gang or I’m going to protect my mom. I chose to protect my mom because I felt like my household was more dangerous than growing up in the streets. So, I decided that joining the gang, what the fuck am I going to do that for when I’m making it more dangerous in the streets and at home. So, I’m never going to be safe.

For me to say that the streets felt safer, that’s to say something about my household. Growing up it was just pretty much just trying to find stuff to do. In Las Vegas during that time, thank God for the Boys and Girls Club. Kids in my neighborhood, we always went to the Boys and Girls Club. We always play basketball.

People didn’t really know gang violence was really heavy when I was growing up. So, I would say every day was just just trying to survive. And, you know, especially being a civilian, you don’t want to get hit with a stray bullet, you don’t want to get fucked with by the wrong people.

“To be able to survive out of that, to me, it feels great.”

So, I tried to get along with everybody the best that I could. Kept my home life to myself because I mean, shit, we all was in the hood. We all was going through different struggles. You know, parents was probably drug addicts, all that stuff. People got to understand with us being connected to the [Las Vegas] Strip a lot of our parents are connected to that. Some people’s parents worked in the casino, in different ways. Some people’s parents maybe prostitutes, some people’s parents was maybe alcoholics, gamblers, drug addicts, pimping.

All of that stuff is connected to The Strip that people don’t think about. As a kid growing up, we were affected by that. I think the crack era, etc., all of that affected our generation. To be able to survive out of that is to me is it feels great. So growing up in Vegas was harder than what people would think because they just see the glamour and they don’t think about the stuff that comes with the glamour is all of this stuff behind it and it affects everybody.

Dula-Mite – Tanzanian Red

Kulture Vulturez:  Can you explain black history in Las Vegas?

Dula-mite: Black history in Vegas, I would say this, I would give props to the majority of black history that was being taught in Vegas, was in West Las Vegas. West Las Vegas had the West Las Vegas Library, it had the Doolittle Center, it had other places too. It wasn’t like a monthly thing. Black History Month was pretty much every day in West Las Vegas.

Even the craziest gang member could go to a West Las Vegas event and learn about black history and educate themselves. Because the schools weren’t really doing it. The school was just like, okay, [in] February we are going to teach you Martin Luther King half of the month, [then also] we’re going to teach you Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and that’s it. When you went to the West Las Vegas Library or Doolittle Center or any other events they would do, it would teach you everything from the origins of what happened to Africa to all the way past Martin Luther King to the to the presence.

“Back then, even if you was a gang member or a non gang member, you still didn’t mind being educated”

People in Vegas back then didn’t mind being educated. I don’t know what to say now. You know, people will read something on the Internet about somebody and then just think they’re educated on the person. Back then, even if you was a gang member or a non gang member, you still didn’t mind being educated on certain things or self-educated yourself. And I think the West Los Vegas Library and Doolittle, definitely help a lot of black folks educate themselves on different things.

Kulture Vulturez:  How did you get introduced to Hip Hop music?

Dula-Mite:  Crazy story. I always tell people this, there’s two parts to the story. The first one is my brother. I’m the youngest. I’m the youngest brother and my brother would always, he had mainstream hip hop, but my brother will always listen to underground hip hop, too.

Like I said, in the house we lived in we didn’t dump the trash we was grounded. We would get are ass beat and then we be grounded. So, me and him would be grounded for the dumbest shit. We would just sit there in the room and my brother just started writing rhymes and he was spitting them to me. Now the shit was wack, but to me it sounded like Jay-Z because I think he’s the only nigga that’s rapping to me. So, him, he introduced me to [hip hop].

“He battled this dude, and the dude just totally destroyed him. I didn’t care that my brother got destroyed, I Saw how the crowd reacted to the dude that beat my brother. And I wanted that feeling.”

Then one day [my brother] had a battle. He battled this dude, and the dude just like totally destroyed him. I saw, I didn’t care that my brother got destroyed, how the crowd reacted to the dude that beat my brother. And I wanted that feeling. From that point I was always into music and into film and stuff like that. I just kept developing my skills up until I finally battled the dude that my brother lost to, and I destroyed that n****.

After that, I think my biggest inspiration in hip hop, and it’s crazy being a West Coast artist my biggest inspiration wasn’t Snoop and them that was more it was more gang music to me, for me my biggest inspiration came when I saw Busta Rhymes and Jay Z. The style that they had. It wasn’t just the way that they rap, it was a style that they had. I couldn’t relate to, you know, wearing Dickies and Chucks and stuff. I didn’t wear that shit. I wore Timberland boots, I wore uptown and stuff like that.

“I want to be my own man. I want to set the trend and not follow the trend.”

So, East Coast hip hop for me was really the first influence. But overall, I listened to everything. So, Ice Cube was a huge influence on me as well too. Even now, with current rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, they influenced me as well too, because they are their own individual. They don’t ride the wave. They are always and that’s the type of artist that I am. I want to be my own man. I want to set the trend and not follow the trend. I always like artists like them that set their own trends and made the music that they wanted to make and had a hardcore fan base because they were being themselves.

Dula-Mite – Tanzanian Red

Kulture Vulturez:  Can you say you are a person who beats to the sound of their own drum, basically someone who is their own person and not a follower?

Dula-Mite:  To be honest with you, you know how they say you gotta follow in order to be a leader. In some instances, that’s true. But I’ve always noticed that for the music industry, I’ve always noticed people that always did that they always had longer careers. Especially nowadays, the way the music goes is so many different clones of different artists. I noticed that a lot of the older rappers are still around because they still walk to the beat of their own drum.

Being your own individual in music and just in life in general it allows you to stand out. I never mind being the black sheep inside of a room of white sheep, because I knew that I would stand out. I know when I look in the mirror I see a superstar. I think I got the whole package. That’s just not with music, just a superstar as a person.

“I never mind being the black sheep inside of a room of white sheep, because I knew that I would stand out.”

I know that if someone talks to me, if you don’t like me, to me it shows the type of individual you are. I know that I’m a nice person, I’m goofy, I have a great personality. Being myself also let me know that the type of people I need to be around you. You don’t like to laugh, you’re not the type of person I want to have around. You know what I mean?

People are just too serious. Rap is not gangster. Hip hop is not gangster music. Hip hop is a genre. People be like, I didn’t sign him because he wasn’t street enough. Well, the top artists on Billboard and not street ni****. And just because they’re not street ni**** don’t mean they’re not from the street.

It’s a whole bunch of rappers that’s from the hood was affected by what went on, by what happened in the hood, and they just didn’t join a gang or didn’t sell drugs and all messed up. To me, I never wanted to be a follower because it means that you fell for peer pressure. And I’m not one of them people that fall for peer pressure.

Kulture Vulturez:  Do you ever get discouraged in the music industry or this?

Dula-Mite:  Hell yeah.

Kulture Vulturez:   How do you stay focus and keep going?

Dula-Mite:  A couple of ways. One of the reasons is my faith in God. I mean, I’ve always said the decisions you make determine your destiny. And when we’re born, our book is already written. So, certain things happen as part of that chapter. And if you go against the chapter because you get discouraged, then that means you’re not born with gods plan.

And then two, it’s a beautiful struggle. If you don’t have failures, how are you going to learn? So, if you have your first meeting and you get a record deal in your first meeting when you never was turned down, how do you know if it’s a bad contract? How do you know if they have your best interest? But if you get turned back a few times, then you learn the lessons from some of those meetings. It allows you to know what you’re seeking when it’s that time to come.

“it’s a beautiful struggle. If you don’t have failures, how are you going to learn”

The discouraging part mostly is that a lot of people aren’t trying to listen to you or sign you based off of your talent. Even consumers can get caught into the ‘Oh, look what you posted on social media.’ But I always ask people, do you have that person on your playlist?

The labels don’t care about that. Labels just want the right now artists, they’re not looking for timeless artists. And that’s the most discouraging part because I like to take my time with my music. I like to make great music. I want music that people can listen to 20 years from now, and it’s still relevant. But if you listen to a lot of the people that’s getting in situations, a lot of them are not making timeless music. They’re basically getting situations because they were on Tik Tok, and 3 million people made a video to it.

“Labels just want the right now artists, they’re not looking for timeless artists.”

It’s not really a balance anymore. And that’s the most discouraging part, is that social media did not create a balance. Social media to me fu**** up who A&Rs really are. Because you think about it, and I’m going to stop with the long answers, A&Rs don’t even do their jobs like they used to. Most of the job has to be done by the artist and then they want to f*** with you. They don’t search for talent no more.

They want to see how many followers you got and all that stuff, and there’s no more artists to developed. And if people really know the history, Janet Jackson’s first two albums didn’t do well. Reasonable Doubt did not do well. Destiny’s Child’s first album did not do well. They were able to develop as artists, and then they became timeless. I think if labels brought that back, man, music would sound so much different. That’s the discouraging part.

Dula-Mite – Come Thru

Kulture Vulturez:  So, you have released four albums?

Dula-Mite:  This would be my fifth [album, Respect the Elohim]. But as far as the albums that’s up and then as far as like street albums, mixtapes, I would say I have eight. Then I’m featured on over, worldwide, I’m feature on over 5000 mixtapes. I’ve written songs for certain people that I can’t name because I signed NDAs. But my songwriting has done really well to where, you know, I pay my bills with my songwriting money. But as far as like my own music, this would be my fifth album that’s on streaming sites.

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown UnderRated (2018)?

 Dula-Mite:  When I made UnderRated, there was a moment where I stopped making music for like three years because I had my son. My son became the most important thing to me. So, I just like completely stopped making music and that’s when I just kind of took off with my writing as well too.

But I noticed that out here in Vegas, I have to be honest, if you look at top ten lists and stuff from different sites like yours or other sites, 15 [top rappers] from Vegas, I normally made the [top ten] lists based off of the hard work and the product I put out. But when people talk about locals and stuff, they rarely bring me up.

“I normally made the [top ten] lists based off of the hard work and the product I put out.”

I think it’s because I call myself the certified King of Las Vegas and that rubbed people the wrong way. To me it was stupid because it was like, shouldn’t you want to be the best? That’s what hip hop is. But they try to make it something different. And so that was my mind state. With UnderRated, it is like I make good music, but I’m underrated in my own city. So, I came up with that and was like let’s call it UnderRated.

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown Black Nostalgia (2019)?

 Dula-Mite:  Black nostalgia was me taking it back, saying ‘You know what, subject matter.’ That’s when I actually really just changed my style and was like, okay, I’m going to do a little bit more subject matter and I’m going to do a little bit more stuff for the ladies.

“sending messages to women, especially black women that y’all ain’t hoes.”

Black Nostalgia just started the movement for me of hearing people saying these hoes ain’t loyal and all that type of stuff to where I can actually start telling stories and sending messages to women, especially black women that y’all ain’t hoes. We’re taking it back to where LL Cool J was saying I Need Love and Jay-Z was doing Song Cry. Most of the songs is displaying that type of stuff. So that’s why I called it Black Nostalgia.

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown Blaxploitation (2020)?

Dula-Mite:  Blaxploitation was released when the pandemic started. And so with a lot of the cats that was getting killed by police officers and the one officer got killed and they blamed it on Black Lives Matter and all that stuff. Then my favorite genre of movies is from the seventies, the blaxploitation films.

“It just showed how they tried to make African Americans look”

It just showed how they tried to make African Americans look, when that’s really not the case. It’s [also] based off the title track that I made talking about, you know, stuff with the government, black people getting killed, but also with that too, it was more a storytelling and also feel good music.

Dula-Mite – Blaxploitation

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown Commitment Anxiety (2020)?

 Dula-Mite:  Commitment Anxiety is actually my favorite album, because I actually watched the movie Boomerang and I wrote that whole album based off of what Marcus Graham was going through in Boomerang.

“you know how women say men are dogs, but we dogs, they some cats.”

Plus, a lot of people have commitment anxiety nowadays. Polygamy and monogamy is being spoken about more than it ever was because, you know how women say men are dogs, but we dogs, they some cats. It’s more cats than dogs nowadays to me. So, I wanted to touch on subjects that I went through and that I’ve seen people go through and create a whole story and to where the album became a movie where you can visualize the shit and feel it.

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown your latest project Respect the Elohim?

Dula-Mite:  And then my new one, Respect the Elohim, is basically me saying I’m a God emcee. I’m not a rapper. I can make a song about anything. If you put me in the studio with Jay-Z or Eminem, I’m gonna try to destroy these n*****. I don’t back down from nobody.

“When I’m done, I want to be mentioned with the greats.”

But I’m at the point now where I know I deserve to be in the studio with these cats and make great music. When I’m done, I want to be mentioned with the greats. I’m not thinking about local fame or nothing like that. I’m thinking when they come up with Mount Rushmore is at the end for the West Coast and discussions about who’s the greatest, they don’t mention LeBron or [Michael Jordan] without Kobe, I want to be in that discussion. That’s my goal going forward. I want to be one of the greats.

Kulture Vulturez: Anything else you would like for the people to know?

Dula-Mite: Once again, new album dropping. Everything about Dula-Mite, www.Dulamite.com. Also, I just started my own clothing line, it’s called Fresh Academy Cloths. The website should be up the same day as the album for Fresh Academy Cloths as well too.  So make sure you support that it’s affordable t shirts, affordable hats, not hitting people over their head, $50 for a hat, Nothing like that.

I’ll be dropping two more EPs this year called Slick Talk volume one and volume two. And more than anything else, Vegas got something to say. We talented. We definitely got something to say. And we’re going to prove it. It’s more than California on the West Coast.

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