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My NOLA: 20 Questions with Dee-1

New Orleans rapper Dee-1 shares his favorite places to eat, hear music, and explore in NOLA. Catch him at this year’s ESSENCE Festival in July.

A little music math, courtesy of rapper Dee-1’s online bio:

Soul + Swag x New Orleans = Dee-1

David Augustine, better known as Dee-1, grew up in New Orleans East and feels a strong connection to the area. After attending college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Dee-1 became a middle school teacher but continued to pursue his passion for hip hop by night. Two years later, Dee-1 stopped teaching to focus on his music and become a “full-time dream chaser,” inspiring his listeners with uplifting, Christian themes.

Photo: Patrick Melon

“I just see a lot of people who are caught up in the struggle, so I want to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to inspire them to keep pushing,” says Dee-1, who refers to his music and positive presence as Mission Vision. “Don’t settle for less than your best. Be real, be righteous, be relevant. That’s what Mission Vision is all about.”

Photo: Baham Multimedia

Dee-1 released his first studio project, David & Goliath in 2009 and swiftly gained fans. In 2013, he signed with RCA Inspiration and toured with artists like Macklemore, Lecrae, and Lupe Fiasco as a 2014 BET Music Matters artist. This year, Dee-1 has the opportunity to perform in his hometown as part of the acclaimed ESSENCE Festival.

“I love the crowd [ESSENCE] attracts,” he says. “That weekend always feels epic. For me to be performing is honestly a dream come true.”

Later this summer, Dee-1 is planning to release new music and some new videos from his recent 3’s Up EP. Check him out at ESSENCE Festival on Sunday, July 5, and find out more about how Dee-1 does NOLA below.

20 Questions with Dee-1

1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?

My grandpa, Nollie Augustine.

2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
Birth brought me here. Born at Charity Hospital.

3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
I don’t pick favorites. I’m most familiar with the East though, because I grew up there.

4. If it’s a beautiful day, where are you going to spend it?
I’ll spend it in Audubon Park; that’s one of my chill spots.

5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?

We used to eat “air pudding” some nights with my mom growing up. I used to say “Ma, what is air pudding?” It’s exactly what it sounds like: nothing. But when she does cook, I love her okra gumbo above all.

6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
I don’t think I’ve ever had brunch my entire life.

7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
Castnet Seafood on Hayne Boulevard. The best. Shrimp po-boy. My fav.

8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
I’m taking them to my old hood to show them how Katrina affected it so much, I’m taking them to Frenchmen Street, and I’m taking them to my studio.

9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?

I don’t ever really go to bars.

I actually fell in love with New Orleans again two nights ago. It’s not the city, it’s the people.

10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?

I don’t drink. Never had one before.

11. What’s your favorite dessert or sweet treat in the city?

District Pies. That’s fam. Dee-licious.

12. Best spot to see live music?
Dragon’s Den, Howlin Wolf, Maison, House of Blues.

13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
I’m a hip hop guy, and my favorite rapper ever from New Orleans is Juvenile.

14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?

Jazz Fest!

15. What’s your ideal New Orleans date night?
(Laughing) I can’t give away all my secrets! You gotta pay for that.

16. What are your favorite local shops?
I like all the street vendors on Canal Street, honestly. I’ve been buying from them since fifth grade. Beaded and wooden jewelry, clothes, and African oils and soaps.

17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?

18. Where do you go to watch the Saints play?
I go to my dad’s crib or my grandpa’s apt … or to the Superdome.

19. Describe New Orleans in one word.

20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?

I actually fell in love with New Orleans again two nights ago. It’s not the city, it’s the people. So, I came home from touring and kicked it with some friends in the 9th Ward, and it reminded me why I love New Orleans all over again.

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