The Progression of Dusty McFly
by: iman n. milner
Detroit is a city that’s seen ultimate highs and ultimate lows but through it all one thing that has remained consistent is its knack for being the birthplace of musical talent and relentless ambition. When I was first introduced to Dusty last year on the eve of the Hometown Heroes concert he headlined alongside G.O.O.D Music’s Big Sean and other Detroit MC’s, I was immediately drawn to his quiet sense of confidence and commitment to remaining true to his style regardless of who or what seemed to be more popular. The city was ablaze with fans of his mixtape Buffies & Benihanas and there were (very loud) whispers of a possible signing with Young Jeezy for the young lyricist but we spent most of our time talking about his plans for his own label, Capitol Park Studios, and his determination to see his label mates reach their full potential.
Now off of his opening act gig for MMG’s Meek Mill on his Dreams and Nightmares tour and on the heels of his Buffies & Benihanas 1.5- The CarryOut release, we sit with a more mature Dusty McFly whose ambition, though the same in intensity, has switched to a focus on longevity and a realization that he’s no longer trying to create a lane for himself—he has one—and people love it.
How did you come into music?
Growing up in Detroit and being influenced by the things I saw, rap music at the time that I was coming up was different. You could see your favorite rapper on TV but there wasn’t access to them like there is now. You didn’t feel like you knew them. The people I was most influenced by weren’t people I could just go on Twitter and find out about, I knew them through their music. That made me want to be part of the rap game, I wanted to be on the same level as those guys. It all came together when I gave up basketball. I used to be a big basketball head, I thought I was going to the league like everybody else, then in 10th grade I injured myself and pulled a back muscle. I had to go to physical therapy and that shattered my basketball dreams. I wrote my first rap to “Jigga” by Jay after that. I turned all my attention to rap.
Tell me about your childhood.
I grew up like every average Black kid grew up in this city. My mom raised me by herself, I went to public schools, played basketball…regular stuff. I had a job when I was a kid so I learned how to work with money early in life. My grandparents ran numbers when I was growing up so I was always around money, I knew the value of a dollar. My grandmother owned her own restaraunt and I started working for her at 5 years old, literally, no exaggeration.
How did you decide to do your music in-house?
My pastor’s son, J Drew Sheard, had a little studio set up in his basement and that motivated me to get my own equipment and make things happen. He was younger than me but he was already working full time on his music. I wanted to make sure I was working just as hard as the other people I know who wanted this.
What’s next for your music?
I’m going to drop the second tape, Buffies & Benihanas 2, probably by the end of the year. The CarryOut was mostly songs that didn’t make it onto the first tape. I put that out for my fans just to be able to have more new music until the second tape comes out.
How do you track progression as a rapper?
Rap is like a sport. You track your progression by how far you get with it. You practice. I’m in the studio all day working on a song or I’m in the car listening to songs seeing how I can get better. How quick you move up in the game is an indication of how you’re progressing. Last year, I didn’t have as many fans as I do now. I wasn’t on people’s minds last year but now I am. People weren’t saying I was “next up” then but now they are. There were people who I was on the same level as last year who I’ve passed now–that’s not to say they won’t get here, but they aren’t right now. I’m not even near where I want to be but I can see that I made a transition from that level to this level and now I’ve got to go to the next level. Keep going up.
What’s the ultimate goal for the Dusty McFly brand?
I want to tell the story of Detroit that no one has told yet. I want to do what Master P did for his city and his family for mine. Just off music. If I could do that, I’d be happy. I want to bring a Detroit feel to mainstream. I want to embody the essence of this city and show it to as many people as possible. I don’t hear anyone talking about the things and places that make Detroit special—I want to put on for the city in a way that I feel no one has done yet.
What does living a life on the EDGE mean to you?
Going to get it with no fear. Doing what you love to do everyday and being ready for whatever.
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