To the wider population, Detroit born rapper DeJ Loaf is best known for being partial to gradient lenses and for the anthemic hook from her 2014 hit ‘Try Me’. A nod on Instagram from Drake, collaborations with Birdman, Young Thug and most recently The Game have helped to grow her name. But DeJ Loaf isn’t about viral hype and co-signs. She’s working hard, staying modest and handling her business. Now two mixtapes deep with ‘Just Do It’ and ‘Sell Sole’, a deal inked with Columbia Records, studio time with Meek Mill and an album in the works, DeJ Loaf is out to get it on her own.
Hey DeJ. What’s good?
Hi, how are you?
Good thank you. I actually just woke up to this new track that you’re featured on – ‘Ambitionz of a Rida’ with The Game. What’s the story, how did this track come together?
He reached out to me a while back and was like “I love what you do.” He sent me the track and I just sent it back over the weekend. I’m surprised he put it out today.
Yeah that’s a pretty quick turnaround. So tell me, what’s the scene like in your hometown of Detroit? How do you feel you’ve contributed to the scene at the moment?
I would say it’s going up. Everything is cool here; everybody is working and coming together. When they see a person like myself make it to the point where I have made it, people get smarter about things. We’re willing to work together now to get things to flow for the city.
I read that you write your verses about what is current to you, like it’s all got some level of urgency. What changed for you personally from the time between writing for your first mixtape Just Do it to Sell Sole?
Everyday experiences. It’s easier to just write about things that are actually happening. That’s what I did with Sell Sole. It was supposed to be out a couple years ago. I wasn’t in the position to drop it though, but it worked out fine.
What about right now? If you were to drop the most fire track of 2015 later today, what would those verses be about?
Working harder and being thankful for being in this position. And a love song, maybe.
The industry is always talking about an artists ‘unique selling proposition’ – you know like, a quality that is unique to the individual. What would you say is unique about DeJ Loaf?
My voice. I don’t really sound like too many people.
Do you feel that the way you’re presented by the media is reflective of who you are?
I’m not a gangsta at all. We had the ‘Try Me’ song and that was the hit. I’ve got a lot of music that is different to that song and hopefully people can understand that was just one song. I’ve got plenty of other stories to talk about. I’m just a laid back kind of girl.
You’ve got a really distinctive sense of style that I definitely see in the media, with people talking about ‘that DeJ Loaf look’. Have you noticed that at your shows?
Oh yeah, at Halloween I had a lot of people dressed up as me. You know, they had the bucket hat, the glasses, the curls. I get that a lot. That’s the image that everybody’s going with now.
Is that flattering to see people trying to swagger jack?
Yeah it is, it lets me know that I’m doing something. Like I’m changing things.
Tell me about your team. Who are the key players in the DeJ Loaf crew?
Everybody around me. My family is very supportive. They keep me busy. I’m very thankful for my managers and my friends.
Success tends to change things. I’ve been watching all these Damon Dash videos and he talks about squad and loyalty and all that. Do you worry about that?
That’s very important to me. I understand it; I look at it like family when it comes to the business side of things. I trust the people I’m around. I’m big on loyalty. Being crossed on – I don’t think about it. A lot of people don’t think about until it’s over. I have a positive vibe on everybody that I’m around, so I don’t worry too much. We have arguments and things just like any other family and I know at the end of the day it’s all for the best.
I read that people unconsciously self-sabotage because they’re afraid to get success. How do you personally avoid dropping off? What keeps you hungry?
Knowing what I want. I’ve been writing since I was a kid and I knew this is what I wanted to do. I gained the confidence to be who I am and become the person before the music. I always knew this is what I wanted. I worked hard for it and I’ve definitely been through difficulties over time. Everybody has ups and downs. I tell my story on my album, so you can understand where I came from. It’s not just glitz and glam. I’ve got a long way to go. I’m never settling. I’m not even close to what I want, so I’ll keep working.
I guess there are parts of celebrity that would be really frustrating, like the lack of privacy, or speculation about your romantic life. Does it bother you that people are always trying to know your business?
Oh yeah, it’s very different being famous. I always heard the stories, you know how every celebrity is like “Before I was who I am…” and all this about how people are all in your business and instagram comments and now I’m getting the same thing. It’s weird. I’m used to people showing love and now there are haters and people who don’t like the fact that I’m in this position. I don’t let it bother me.
You probably can’t say but is there anyone notable that you will be collaborating with in the near future and do you have any plans for your next release?
I’ve been working with Meek Mill, and a couple of different people. I want my album to have legendary people on it, and have an old school type of vibe to it.
When you’re not in the studio or playing shows as DeJ Loaf, how do you find chill?
I always have to be DeJ Loaf, there’s always work. But I’m chill. I just like to go to the movies, go eat food, stuff like that.