Da Deputy puts a positive spin on hip-hop

Posted 6:44am on Friday, Sep. 06, 2013

Christopher James Brown raps under the moniker Da Deputy, but other than the stage name, he hasn’t adopted a larger-than-life persona.

Instead, he does an everyman version of hip-hop, crafting catchy, soul-infused songs that include elements anyone anywhere would like. On a recent opening show for 2 Chainz, he had the whole club jumping and yelling his lyrics back to the stage.

SMG/Universal Music Group recognized his broad appeal and has optioned the single I’m on That from his upcoming In Due Time 3 mixtape. With a major label to help promote his music, Da Deputy is hoping to build a worldwide audience, and shatter some stereotypes about Texas hip-hop.

“We don’t get credit for rap,” he says. “A lot of the time, when I tell people I’m from Texas, they automatically assume something, like they already know what I’m going to be talking about.”

Rather than rap about clubbing, or sipping on lean, like some of Texas’ well-known rappers such as UGK and Scarface, Da Deputy keeps his topics light and usually reminiscent of ’90s R&B.

Going back to happier musical times “puts you in a good mood,” he says. “There were a lot of great melodies, great sounds, a lot of great voices, period.”

When the now 24-year-old was a student at Fort Worth’s Arlington Heights High School, his own music was more of a hobby to put himself in a good mood. He made mixtapes using generic Internet beats and sold them in the halls between classes.

After he graduated, he and some friends followed DJs into local clubs and begged them until they would spin their songs. The audiences liked the inherently bouncy, upbeat nature of Da Deputy’s tunes.

A few mixtapes later, Dep, as his fans call him, has hit upon what he’s trying to say, as an artist.

“The whole point behind it,” he says about both his music and the In Due Time theme, “is people chasing their dreams and wanting to make it, doing what they can to get there. I think everybody can relate to that.”

For his most recent mixtape, Johnny Dep, he took the time to find the choicest beats he could, most courtesy of Keller’s Dre Eazy, then waited until the songs were mixed and mastered before releasing the album.

Released last September, the album, mixed and hosted by DJ Omega, was listed as one of the top eight worldwide downloads for the first week after release by rap website DatPiff.com.

The quick success led him to the date with 2 Chainz in Little Rock and a collaboration with the Brazilian rock group Club America.

Now, Da Deputy and his team are waiting to gauge the success from I’m on That before releasing more singles from In Due Time 3, which he hopes to put out in full before the end of the year.

He promises the new album will be “his best yet,” he says. “I put everything into this one.”

And Da Deputy says he believes that if he keeps working hard — stays on his grind, in other words — his success will appear in due time.

“People give up on their dreams, but if you stick to it, it can happen. That’s what I live for. That’s my movement.”

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