This week Inspire Mysmile caught up with rap duo Dewey ‘Da Don’ and Novacain; better known as Urban Republic. The boys gave a bite size into life on the up rise, the positive movements they are giving back the community and of course their music as they promote “ Killa City State Of Mind the Prelude mixtape”.
What you need to know about Dewey Da Don!!
James Dewey Da Don Harris started his musical journey in Killa City Kansas. At the age of 16 he was introduced to Hip-Hop by his best friend and soon to be mentor Casanova Novacain Butler. Music soon became his outlet to creatively express what he saw and grew up around, ultimately, a means to turn that pain into power.
In September 2006, Urban Republic dropped their first mixtape titled “Redefining The Grind”. At the time, Dewey divided his attention between the studio and the streets. Most of his time however, was spent running the streets and not taking the music seriously. As a result, out of the 20 plus songs he only appeared on about 6 songs. Even though he did not appear frequently on the mixtape, he applied his hustler’s mentality to the sell of it. In less than 3 weeks, Dewey made $3,000 by selling the mixtapes at school and at gas stations in Kansas City.
With the success of the first sales, Dewey decided that it was time to take the music more serious. He and Novacain went on to release 3 more mixtapes during their high school career. During Dewey’s senior year of high school, tragedy struck when he was caught with an ounce of marijuana by the teachers of this two favorite classes Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Because of his stellar grades and positive feedback from his teachers, Dewey was allowed back into school after spending only a week in JDC. Being that he was viewed as a bright student heading down the wrong path, his teachers presented him with the opportunity to attend Usher’s Camp New Look in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dewey took full advantage of every program that Usher’s New Look had to offer. During his first year at the camp, he was awarded with the Camper of the Year Award. In the years that followed, he moved on to the college age program and was voted onto the Board of Directors. He is currently working full-time in the New Look’s Atlanta office. Using the entrepreneur skills that he acquired in school and in the New Look program, Dewey has gone on to start his own studio and label, Loud Pack Productions. His group Urban Republic is the label’s flagship group and he and Novacain are currently working on a new EP and original mixtape.
At the age of 12, Novacain began rapping, even though his family sites him as making songs as early as 5 years old. It was in high school, that he realized he may want to pursue being a recording artist. He was influenced very early by Hip-Hop from Houston. I love the culture, the lingo, and all of the music.” His favorite artists include Chamillionare, UGK, Jay-Z, Eminem and Biggie.
“Music became my outlet to say and describe the things that were going on in my life and around me.”
In high school, Novacain met James “Dewey Da Don” Harris. It wasn’t until they both started working at a fast food restaurant, that their relationship really took off. Both began to notice the connection that they shared through music and from there a friendship between them blossomed. When Dewey, a passionate raw talent, began to pick up the microphone and try his hand at rapping, he constantly asked Novacain to start a rap group with him. Finally, he hooked up with Dewey and formed Urban Republic. The decision to form the group paid off as the combination of Dewey’s business mind and Novacain’s creative vision set them apart from other artists in the city.
As Associate Executive of LoudPack Productions and 1/2 of Urban Republic, Novacain is driven to obtain success and longevity in the music industry not just for himself, but for his whole team.
“The music industry needs more people who aren’t afraid to buck the trends and be authentic in their music while pushing new creative boundaries”.
Urban Republic released “Obsessed with Success” last year.
Hi Dewey and Novacain thank you for taking time to speak with us today, it’s a pleasure.
- From Kansas City
- Age 26
- Pursued and education and career in Atlanta
Urban Republic means coming from the streets, Urban (What was given) Republic (What was took)
Hey Dewey, just reflect back to when you was at Ushers New Look Camp and now you are a mentor for the youth in your community. How would you use your experience to encourage the youth to stay positive and you was just like them when growing up?
Well I like to diversify my image, the person on stage is just as transparent and real as the person in the community. I am a very passionate and real person.
I try to tell young people that they got to be the reflection of the reality and be active in the community.
What did you learn from Ushers Camp?
The experience changed my life, Whilst there I was doing Business marketing entrepreneurship. Which means now I get to help others pursue their passion.
Reading your background story it seems like you guys are trying to build a foundation, as you have Loudpack Productions. So will you have a foundation of your own?
Yea, We’re both motivational speakers in the community and we use this as a platform to educate. Also we have educational scholarships being programmed.
Like Dewey I work with youth in ministries, you know we are just trying to give them that little hope and inspiration in their lives. We also take them out on road trips.
I started LoudPack productions back in college, we have a few artists that are involved with productions and also we are looking to collaborate with every artist that’s in LoudPack.
Who inspires you both musically and personally?
Real talk Dewey inspires me with everything he does because he puts a lot of passion into his work. Also personally my mom’s work ethic motivates me to keep going.
Musically Kanye West inspires me to raise the bar in with my music and everything I do. I say Kanye as well because he challenges himself, I like anyone that challenges themselves and he is creative.
Yea likewise Nova inspires me because he encouraged me to start rapping and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t really be here. Musically I would say J Cole because he addresses social issues, responds and challenges the bigger issues.
How do you balance your personal life and business?
I remind myself why I am here firstly, give god praise
Try to stay positive and not be judgmental
Learn from other people
In terms of business as everything is digital, I just learned the key to success is going to be streamlining.
In the UK we have a lot artists on the rise, especially in a city called Birmingham, which is where I resides. I know UK artists would love to reach out the US audiences and other music artists.
Do you keep update with artists in other countries?
Dewey & Nova
Ahh wow much love to the UK!
For sure it’s important to keep update with music overseas. Just the other day I was checking out new music. I mean we’re always constantly looking for inspiration.
What are your plans for 2016?
We plan a lot and I think planning stirs us away from the actual work. So I think we are going to be stepping away from planning and just do the work, Just get on with it.
Dewey and Nova Thank you for taking time to speak us, we appreciate it!!
Thank you both and all the best with future projects.
Words by Vanessa Ryan
- Link to video on how Usher’s New Look changed Dewey Da Don’s life:
- Link to Loud Pack’s website: www.loudpack.biz
- MUSIC Download link for LoudPack Presents – Urban Republic – Killa City State Of Mind the Prelude mixtape…. http://piff.me/e9646db
- Link to Urban Republic’s SoundCloud:
- Link to Urban Republic’s music videos:
- Heavy Artillery-
- Blur –
- Daddy’s Little GIrl –
Urban Republic’s Social Media pages:
o Group Twitter :https://twitter.com/urbanrepublic2
o Individual Instagram: Deweydadon & Novacain007
o Individual Twitter: @iamthadon & @novacain007