Deetranada’s Debut Showcases Fiery Raps, Clear Motivation [Interview]

DEEvsEVERYBODY!” is a personal album. As depicted in the project’s lyrics, cover art, website, and personal explanations, it’s a representation of how she feels as a young Black woman growing up in an oppressive world. Deetranada is unapologetic at every moment, showing the world who she is without compromising one bit.

After making waves in the Baltimore and beyond with her new album, “DEEvsEVERYBODY!” we got the chance to ask the young rapper some questions about her life, the album, and her goals moving forward.

Starting with the intro, “VS EVERYBODY (Intro),” Dee makes it clear the album’s about a fight, whether for her life, for her career, or otherwise. She’s ready to battle. The album opens with the classic “let’s get ready to rumble” introduction, and she opens up with some personal lyrics. “When I started to get bullied in school along with personal issues at home, I started fighting in school. After a while I started getting in so much trouble I decided to start writing poetry and it went up from there.”

That memory proves consequential: her poetry ranges from commentary on systemic oppression (“Hoodlum!” is especially poignant) to her personal troubles as a youth. Here’s our interview with Deetranada, edited slightly for flow.

How did you settle on a name for the project?

Deetranada: I always felt like it was me vs. everybody. I’m only 18, but I seen, been through (and done) a lot of shit that would mess with your head over time. For a while I felt unwanted and that I couldn’t talk to anybody. So growing up my mind split into different people, and last year I felt like even THEY weren’t on my side anymore, so I came up with “DEEvsEVERYBODY!” I had the name floating in my head since 2017, but I kept scrapping the album because I wanted it to be PERFECT. I wanted to perfectly embody the feeling of thinking everybody is against you.

What do you wish more fans knew about you?

That I’m not a robot. Some days, I don’t feel like getting up. Some days, I just want to be a regular girl without having somebody bombarding me with invasive ass questions. I also want them to know I’m not these other artists that drop five albums in one year. I just want them to know I’m still growing, and I need space to do so.

What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

I just want to buy all the things my younger self wanted, get my little brother into the best college possible for basketball, and to get my mom the biggest house she wants. If anybody listens to my music and it makes them feel better, that’s great too.

How did you land on “Deetranada” as your stage name?

KAYTRANADA was my favorite producer at the time (circa. 2014-15), so I made my Instagram name DEETRANADA. My rap name at the time was ACTUALLY “eyeronic” but since I started getting clout off my freestyles, everybody would call me by my Instagram name. So I just went with DEETRANADA.

What do you hope people learn about you from DEEvsEVERYBODY?

That they favorite artists have demons too. Everybody has demons. It just depends on if you want to fight them or fight with them. Throughout the first part of the album, it’s me trying to fight everything and everybody because I’m not happy with myself. As the album goes on, I become more aware of myself and my surroundings. And then finally making peace with my demons and deciding to work along with them and use them to my advantage. I hope my album inspires everybody — Black youth in particular to break generational curses and be open about what they feel and what they want to do with their lives.

What are your short- and long-term goals as a rapper and artist?

Short-term goals I have is to just shut everybody up. Whether it’s 10 seconds or 10 weeks, I just want to stop the clutter of unwanted opinions. Long-term, I want a whole lot of money so my kids’ kids’ kids don’t have to work. 

Are there other subgenres of rap that you would like to try out in the future?

Alternative rap. Some songs I want to be weird and ominous, some songs I want to scream and head bang. It’s a lot I still want to do. I just need to get a more solid fanbase, so I can release more experimental music and try new things.

Which DEEvsEVERYBODY songs would you be most excited about blowing up?

“HIGHS AND LOWS!” and “I MIGHT!” because those are my absolutely favorite songs to perform. Plus, they bring an element that I haven’t channeled before in my music. I had fun making those songs and hope those feelings translate over to whoever listens to it, whether they’re in the car or in the shower. They make me feel energized, and whenever I perform them, it makes whoever’s in the room feel the same way.

Can you talk a little bit about the features on the album? I think the AVERAGE JOE chorus on “GEEKIN!” and the StarrZ verse on “ATTITUDE!” are amazing.

Thank you! Originally, I wanted big names on my project. I didn’t think it was unrealistic because I’m friends with the people I wanted on there. It’s just schedules started to get mixed up, and everything fell through. I had a convo with myself and said, “You know what, this is my debut album. I need people to know who I am.” So I went back to my roots. 90% of the people that had a hand in my album are from Baltimore! All the features (Starrz, AVERAGE JOE, Young Moose, E. Foster, Gucci Rock) are from Baltimore. Most of the producers (Tye Pacino, SevynTheVillain, Talk2Nobody, Jonesshorty) are from Baltimore. I feel like I’m missing some, but that’s one of the main things I love about this album. It feels like home.

How did the cover art come together?

LOL. I had a cover art for the album originally in late 2018. I paid an artist, who was my friend at the time, and gave them the concept and everything to draw. I had the art on tuck until I was ready to announce the album, and then all of a sudden, they hit me up and made me pay A CRAZY amount of money AGAIN to use it, so I got mad and did a photoshoot, recreating the artwork that was MY IDEA. Since the artist flipped on me literally two weeks before my album dropped, I was on crunch time. I didn’t feel like paying an artist again because I didn’t want any more unwanted drama, so I opened up Picsart and went to work. That’s how the cover art came along. Shot by @fatbellynile, edited by me.

DEETRANADA - DEEvsEVERYBODY! Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

Many thanks to Deetranada for the interview. Make sure to check her out on all platforms! Given the battles she’s been through in her life, the music industry has no chance keeping her down.

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