Starting early has its benefits. When it comes to those pre-teen years, many rappers are finding out which genres they love. For buzzing Georgia rapper Deanté Hitchock, he was already rhyming by age 12. Deanté's uncle helped the rapper and a childhood friend form a rap group by the name of the Tainted Clique. At first, his uncle wrote their rhymes until months later when Deanté wanted to pen his own bars. As he grew older, the rhymer continued to embrace rap, doing cyphers at Georgia Southern University, where he was a student, rapping in his car and uploading freestyles online.
From then on, he's been taking the steps to become who he is now: a talented lyricist who remains true to himself. The work he's already put in has culminated in 10 projects so far (two mixtapes, 9 Summers (2012) and Wishful Thinking (2015); five EPs, Just a Sample (2017), No Pressure with Michael Aristotle (2017), So Much for Good Luck (2017), Thank You for Your Patience (2018) and Just a Sample 2 (2018); two projects, Good (2016) and Good: Live; and a debut album, Better (2020)), a label deal with Mark Pitts' ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records in 2017, a verse on the song "PTSD" featuring Mereba and St. Beauty on Dreamville's highly lauded, No. 1-selling Revenge of the Dreamers III album (which he received both a Grammy Award nomination for and platinum plaque) in 2019, and all the momentum you can ask for.
As a rapper who's been a fan of J. Cole and Dreamville's work, and even appeared in Cole's The Road to Homecoming documentary in 2015, everything is playing out for Deanté as it should. His 10-track debut album, Better, released last week, features collaborations with J.I.D, Young Nudy, 6lack, Miguel and St. Beauty. To mark the occasion, he's celebrating with a virtual performance today.
Catch up on Deanté's journey in this week's edition of The Break.
Hometown: Riverdale, Ga.
I grew up listening to: "Who didn't I grow up listening to? Man, from here, we've got Kilo [Ali], OutKast. T.I. basically raised me. Lil Wayne, my favorite rapper ever. It's a lot of those southern guys who kind of took the torch and ran with it. I was about to say Jay-Z, too. Now that I think about it, because I was one of the only kids in my class who was listening to Jay. ’Cause didn't nobody really down here fuck with him around the time when I was a kid.
"Lil Wayne is the greatest guy to ever write anything ever. Bar none. Books, films, everything. The way Lil Wayne was putting words together, similes, metaphors, I don't think we'd ever heard anything like that at the time. And it was so exciting. Watching him, he was dominant. He had the most dominant reign. Not the longest, but the most out of anybody that I can think of."
My style’s been compared to: "[J.] Cole, off top. T.I.. I heard Big K.R.I.T. I heard [André] 3000. I heard a lot of guys. When I was just doing freestyles for a minute I heard Cassidy. There's been a lot of comparisons, man. All of those people are real good company to be in, but I'm worried about carving my own lane. When it's all said and done, I want that shit to be official. I sound like me. Wearing my influences on my sleeve early on is OK because I'm still finding out. I'm still carving shit out, but over time we definitely going to solidify the sound."
I’m going to blow up because: "That's just what it is. I was always going to blow up, bro. I already talked to God about it. He says I was going to do it, too. It's already done. It's already decided. Ain't nothing nobody can do to stop it. The only person who could stop it and get in the way of it is me. That's what I've always been. I've always known. I know. I'm a hundred percent about it. Like I said, my mom is big on faith. She instilled that in me."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "I'm going to go '2 Special.' '2 Special' is one of my top songs for myself personally. I think it's one of the most vulnerable songs that I have and it's got one of the best verses at the tail end that I think I've ever wrote my life. At the time when we were putting them out, it was like a string of loosies. We were just trying to see what stuck."
My standout records to date have been: "I feel like 'No Secret' is one of my biggest songs. Seeing the way people react to it at shows, seeing the people who I've been seeing fuck with me since 2013, saying that is one of their favorite songs. If I had to suggest a top three song list to start off with me, 'No Secret' is going to be No. 1. Up top. That's my biggest, personally. I think numbers-wise, it's 'Thinking ’Bout You' and 'Feelings' with H.E.R. 'Side Nigga Anthem' is up there too."
My standout moments to date have been: "I got a platinum plaque with that Dreamville shit [Revenge of the Dreamers III]. I didn't think that was coming for another three, four years at least. It's done. That was a real 'everything is working out,' real 'everything is aligning' full circle moment for me. Like I said earlier, I've been listening to those guys for forever. So for all of this to work out the way it has has been a real blessing. I got a platinum track and a Grammy nom. I got a certificate. It's going to be on the way through the courier right now. Going to put this on the fridge like a proud parent."
Most people don’t know: "I'm the greatest [Super] Smash Bros. player on the planet. That's a fun fact. I play no games on that shit. Whoever wants smoke, rappers, we could have a charity Smash Bros. event, whatever. I'm whooping ass. Don't nobody want to fuck with me and Snake. It's different. I be changing that nigga's outfit in character selection. I get little cheetah print shit, hot pink. Planting bombs, shooting missiles, goddamn spiking niggas all day. All that shit."
I’m going to be the next: "I want to be the first me. I can't do anybody else how they do themselves. I can only be me."
Follow Deante' Hitchcock on Instagram and SoundCloud.
"Side Nigga Anthem"
"How TF" featuring 6LACK
"Attitude" featuring Young Nudy
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