Devin the Dude, a legend in his own rhyme (2)
Over the last decade, only one dude has consistently maneuvered hip-hop's flinty trends, coastal biases and various mid-life crises. His name — Devin the Dude. And most hip-hop heads consider the dude a legend. Himself? Eh, not so much.
"Well, only because it rhymes with Devin," he obliges with a chuckle. "I still think I have a lot to accomplish and do to feel as if I'm a legend. Maybe a gold album?"
But it's his sense of humor — not units sold — that's always been his hook. His self-deprecating, smoked-out and sexually explicit stories had folks calling him hip-hop's Richard Pryor after his first album, The Dude, dropped. Eleven years and several albums later, he's among the few who can say he's worked with everyone from alternative rappers like De La Soul and Dilated Peoples to Raphael Saadiq, Nas and Dr. Dre — all while consistently remaining himself.
"I guess it's just the love that I have for all kinds of music and all kinds of people that listeners relate to," says Devin, who recently returned from an overseas tour. He's released one album — last year's Landing Gear (via a one-album deal with Razor & Tie) — since leaving the Rap-A-Lot label in early '08.
Despite hip-hop's ever changing tastes, he's resisted any urge to switch his own style. After all, why fix what ain't broken? Devin's ability to relate to fans like a funny, but insightful uncle has made him a star in his own right.
"I mean, changing styles comes across your mind with the way that music is changing and the trends or whatever, but it doesn't stay around my mind too long," he says. "I don't focus on trying to change a style. I just go in the studio and do whatever the music says to do."
So, surprising as it is, maybe Devin's lack of plaques is just an extension of his "Do What You Wanna Do" philosophy on life.
"I guess just like everybody else, to go gold or platinum, that would be a cool accolade," he says. "But I'm not really concerned about that. The whole thing for me is to make an album and have some songs on there that people like."
Considering the current lack thereof, that, in itself, would be legendary.