Artist Interview: Diz DiceBy Resonate | December 4, 2020
Words and Photos by Ruby Lawrence
Diz Dice is a Bristol-based rapper, songwriter and filmmaker, who carries his determination and confidence into the studio. Whether it’s a single or freestyle, you can hear his eccentric style erupting from his music. His newest single Run is the perfect example of when afro-beat meets hip-hop. This vibrant mix of music, combined with consistent switch-ups within his unique flow creates a distinctive sound, which has started to resonate with a number of fans. Diz Dice has been repping the Bristol rap scene since he moved here in 2010, and shows his love and involvement within the community through his music.
Senegal was formerly his home and was where his love for hip-hop became established. Dice began releasing music with a crew called YENNEN VIBES and things have only excelled from there, releasing his first single Nothing Like Me in 2011, a mixed CD Dirty Diamond Vol1 in 2012, and EP Dirty Diamond Vol2 in 2016. Finally, in 2019, he released his first album This Is Who I Am, through his own independent Dirty Diamond label, receiving strong reviews. I caught up with Dice in his hometown during the lockdown.
What sparked your initial love for music and specifically creating music?
Diz Dice: My love for music started with my family. Mum would always sing back in the day, so I always knew it was within me. But I really started doing music because of the type of lifestyle we were living in Africa – you had to do something. So my music came straight out of the ghetto. I would only write things I could see and things I was living at the time. Coming out of Africa was crazy, but it made me who I am today.
Are there any musical influences that stand out?
D: I listened to a lot of Wu-Tang and Redman. I could always relate to Wu-Tang because they portrayed the same lifestyle I was living at that time. Also, Senegal has one of the craziest genres called mala and melody wise it really influenced me, the beats I make carry the same sort of vibe.
Did moving to Bristol influence your music and career?
D: Moving from Senegal to Bristol made me become an international artist. It made me see the world is bigger than where I came from. In Africa, you are given the mentality of ‘this is it’ whether you like it or not, yet when you come to Bristol you see different types of cultures, music and realities. I went from doing music for me to just express myself, to actually having a platform. I feel like I brought something different to Bristol too; I got my own type of accent that sounds crazy. I got my own style here and when I turn up you know there is someone different in the room.
Tell me more about your record label Dirty Diamond?
D: So it’s me and the boys, my friends, and we don’t just do music, we’ve got a few different platforms within it such as music, clothing and podcasts. Something else I have been working on recently is using Dirty Diamond to help out back in Africa. Growing up there I saw all these youngsters with talent and nowhere to put it, so I’m gonna get the studio out there, and get the kids off the street so they can start expressing themselves and showing some talent. I wasted too much time in the street as a kid, so we’re gonna change that. I was supposed to head there with my home studio in December but Covid stopped that happening. It’s 100% still happening as soon as it’s possible.
So your most popular hit is Spread The Butter On The Bread. Tell us about it?
D: Spread The Butter On The Bread is about spreading love, spreading peace, and letting everyone eat. We shot the music video at St Paul’s Carnival and it’s just us laughing and chilling. You’ve got the people cooking food, you’ve got the people drinking, everyone is united. That video was us expressing ourselves, us being us. You’ve got to be yourself, that’s the key to everything.
And what was your motive for the single Run?
D: This single was to show you, hey we’re here now, step aside, because we don’t walk, we run.
What does the future look like?
D: Well, life with Covid is crazy and it has changed things for sure. In some ways, it blocked my writing because I wasn’t as inspired by experiences, but it brought me closer to people I wouldn’t have been as connected with.
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