D. Thrash has been a trend-setter since he burst on the scene with Jawga Boyz in 2011, and he’s dominated the sphere ever since. With over 50 million views on YouTube, thousands of social media followers, and a base that’s as loyal as any in the industry, D. Thrash has shaped the world around him, and in the meantime introduced country rap fans to superstars like Young Gunner, Dez, and he’s not done yet. Coming soon, he’s bringing an entire stable of artists to public eye, including BoonDock Kingz, who’ll debut their debut single on D. Thrash Productions, “12 Inch Lift” and drop their video for the single on the same day, September 18th
The Athens, Georgia rapper, producer and now label-head agreed to answer some questions for Hick Hop Music, in an effort to let us understand a little more about who D. Thrash is, and where he’s going.
D. Thrash co-founded the Jawga Boyz in 2005, and paid his dues until the group made national waves with “Ridin High” in 2011. Since then, I’ve seen him rise, and stay at the top of his game.
One of the things I wanted to find out about D. Thrash was how he used his early setbacks to stoke his passion, and if now he feels vindicated. He told me that he did feel vindicated, “but not having anyone believe in me, during the beginning. is what still continues to drive me today. I have a permanent chip on my shoulder.”
Now that that chip has resulted in Millions of video views, tractor-trailer sized truck loads of album sales, and a spot in the elite artists in our sub-genre of music, he’s decided to help other artists achieve the success that he’s had, helping young rappers stay away from mistakes D. Thrash learned on his way to the top.
He’s got a stable of talent that could, within the next year, rival any independent record label in music. For right now, anyway, he said ”
Our roster is set. As a matter of fact, it was set before I signed Handz Onn, and Them Riverbank Boys, but I just couldn’t pass them up The sad thing is, there are still SO many other super talented artists out there… that I would love to have on the label. But at the end of the day, I’m still only one man, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to keep signing artists, that I may not be able to get around to for another 2 years. I don’t want to hold anyone back, so if I can’t take on the work, I won’t
Between the release of “12 Inch Lift” coming up on September 18th, juggling other artists albums and projects, I wanted to know when we would get to hear a new Jawga Boyz album. Although he has “Jawga Boyz material for a couple new albums right now”, he’s been “knee deep in all of the other artists I’ve signed to the label, getting their albums recorded, and music video’s shot.” In typical fashion, even though he downplays new music from him, he has plans in place to make sure we’ll be talking about Jawga Boyz in some intresting ways until the new music arrives on shelves. The explained that “we have some REALLY cool things in store for the next Jawga Boyz project. There WILL be a “Reloaded II” and we have also recorded an acoustic/unplugged Jawga Boyz “greatest hits” album, where everything was played LIVE with all acoustic instruments, and was recorded, all in one take”. Now that’s some news every Jawga Boyz fan will want to hear. He continued to say that “it’s completely raw; acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, tambourine, all the way down to using bongo’s for the percussion. It’s something that no one has attempted to do in our genre, even when folks make an acoustic album.
He explained that others that do acoustic projects usually come out with music that’s “still been produced, and perfected. D. Thrash doesn’t follow the same path; he trail-blazes his own path for others to follow. He told me about the upcoming acoustic greatest hits album that
there are imperfections all throughout, where someone might cough, or talk in the background, which is how I wanted it. I feel like our die hard fans, will appreciate the idea behind it I mean, imagine how the acoustic “All The Girls Wanna Ride” sounds; it’s pretty sick man. I mainly just wanted to put a record together, that you can listen to on your headphones, and feel like you’re actually sitting there with us, while we’re jamming. Not ONE electronic or computer sound can be found, which is a vast contrast to what our fans usually get from us.
So if D. Thrash is going to be putting so much effort into producing tracks for other artists, does that mean he’s going to have to take a more behind-the-scenes approach to building hits? I asked him if he had to choose between rapping and producing, which would it be? His answer let me know he thinks he can do both. His explanation let me know he has a long-term plan to accommodate all his projects and keep his fans happy too.
He told me “I’m not a greedy person. I don’t have to be the center of attention, or the one in the spotlight. If I was that way, I would devote 100% of my attention on Jawga Boyz music, and have an “every man for himself” mentality: He said ,”but that’s not me. I feel that I’m here to help others, and now that I’m in the position to do that. It’s what I’ve been spending more time doing, than anything else, over the past 18 months…. while building the label.”
He brought it home this way
To answer the question, my long term goal is to step away from the mic, and be mostly a “behind the scenes” guy. I’m working to get there, but I still have some INSANE Jawga Boyz music sitting on the shelf, that will be released before that happens. I’m guessing there may be 3-4 more JBz albums, before I start phasing out my own time behind the mic. But until then, the best of D. Thrash… and Jawga Boyz music has yet to come.
To illustrate with an example, he told me that he has “a song I’ve been working on, for over 3 years that will blow “Chillin In The Backwoods” out of the water. It’s an insane song, with guitar melodies that will make your soul, beg for more.”
I wonder what D. Thrash would have been doing at this point in his life if he’d never started the Jawga Boyz and eventually was able to make a living making music. To show how single-minded the Georgia artist’s pursuit of his ultimate goal was, he said
Honestly, I have no idea. Music is the only part of my life that stayed consistent throughout all of my other careers. I may have decided this job, or that job wasn’t for me, and started a new job to see if it was something I would enjoy, but music was always knocking on the door. I just could never make money doing it…. it wasn’t paying the bills. I had decided, right before “Ridin High” hit, that I was willing to risk it all, and lose everything I had worked for my whole life just to run my own studio out of the house, and hope I could bring in enough business, to pay the bills. But luckily, after 9 years of questioning whether is was ever gonna happen, some of the stuff I uploaded on YouTube started to get some buzz… and the rest is history. You could write a book on the things that had to happen for me, in order to shoot the video for “Ridin High”. The day of that shoot, I owed more money to folks, for borrowing this and that, than I ever owed in my whole life It was insanely stressful. I made a HUGE bet on myself, but as they say: no risk, no reward..
Just when you think you have D. Thrash figured out, he throws a curveball at you. When I asked him who his dream collab would be, he told me this
This one will be strait outta left field, but I’d have to say, Shaun Morgan the lead singer of the Rock/Metal band Seether. I was always a fan of the 90’s Seattle grunge music, like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Sound Garden, etc, and when Seether came out in the early 2000’s, they were like an extension to that genre but with fresh new songs. Shaun Morgan is an amazing song writer, and has a unique voice, that I’d love to team up with on another “Chillin In The Backwoods” style Hick Hop track. For me, I’ve always thought outside the box, that’s what created Hick Hop in the beginning
Finally, I had D. Thrash’s attention, willing to answer some questions, and I wasn’t going to let this chance for some sage advice from a seasoned veteran that’s at the top of his game go. I asked him if he could give some advice to aspiring country rappers that are trying to make a career out of music. He advice did not disappoint. He said:
First of all, it has to be in your soul: it either is, or it isn’t. If you’re aspiring to do what I do, just because it looks cool, then stop kidding yourself. Find out what you’re put here to do, and do that…. Everyone has a purpose, a skill, something they are better at than others. It may be a hobby that you do on the side… there is something in all of us. If music is truly in your soul, and it won’t stop eating at you, then just keep writing…. keep recording.
I would like to say, someone will hear it one day, and give you a chance…. but that never happened with me. No one ever gave me a shot, no one ever gave me a chance, or a record deal…. ever…. I was the only one that believed in myself. So keep believing in yourself. That’s ALL that matters in the end. You don’t need someone to tell you whether you’re good or not; folks told me I sucked over and over, but it didn’t stop me. I just kept writing, and uploaded a little parody on YouTube one day called “Can’t See My Paint Job” ….then all of a sudden shit got real. And those that were telling me I sucked were saying “Yeah man, I knew you had it in you” …..ha ha… that’s why I’ll forever have a HUGE chip on my shoulder, cause I never caught a break. My fans are the ones who signed me…..