An Interview With: Delly Everyday
For some people, dropping a track a month is a difficult task. Dropping a new song every week can be even more challenging. But dropping a song a day, for a whole year? Now that just sounds impossible. Until now.
Delly Everyday is a hip hop artist, actor and professional workhorse from Phoenix, Arizona. He’s been making music for over a decade and in 2018 he finally saw his years of hard work come to fruition. Delly dropped a song every single day in 2018, putting out some of the freshest hip hop in the Southwest to date. This MC is inspiring to say the least, and I knew his story had to be told. Delly and I sat down and chopped it up a few weeks back, covering all sorts of topics in our hour-long conversation. We discussed the growing scene of Phoenix hip hop, fighting through mental pushbacks, his blossoming acting career and (of course) Gary Vee. Each day, we experience that this Universe has divine meaning. Delly Everyday would be the first to tell you this fact. – Benny P
What is your first memory of hip hop?
“Man, jesus. I don’t know – I’ve never been asked that question. You already got me stumped (laughs). It would have to be some 2pac, some form of 2pac. I don’t know, I feel like it’s always been around. I can’t even remember. Just always been around. When I started to recognize and understand music, it had to be around the age of seven. But I can’t remember my exact first memory.”
What was your upbringing like? Have you been in the Phoenix area your whole life?
“Yeah I was born and raised in South Phoenix – I’m here right now. Basically my parents were very young, so they were into partying and stuff like that. So, I think that’s how I heard a lot of music. They would listen to stuff like Snoop, Dr. Dre – lotta West Coast stuff. DJ Quik, stuff like that. Those would be my earliest memories.
I didn’t start doing music for myself until about age thirteen. I had an uncle who did music and I basically wanted to be just like him. Anything he was doing, whether it was basketball or martial arts or music, I was trying to do it. I was kinda doing all those things growing up but I stuck with the music. Music was always around, but I didn’t really know I loved it until I started writing it.”
I think family setting is so big in the way it influences our cognition, especially in music and art. You mentioned a lot of West Coast and G-Funk, was that style of hip hop the centerpiece of your home growing up? Were there any other artists that peeked their heads in, or was it pretty much the traditional West Coast dope shit?
“Yeah, I gotchu. My parents split up when I was young also. So, when I was with my mom that was a lot of the DJ Quik and party kind of music. She would also listen to certain R&B – Mary J. Blige and people like that. But when I went to my dad’s house on the weekends I would be with my uncle. They introduced me to like the Bone Thugs, Eminem, Twista and other artists. Eminem is my favorite rapper of all time and my uncle was the one who introduced me. That’s how I got the best of both worlds.”
Do you remember yourself ever looking forward to those weekends? So you could hear new hip hop from your uncle and be introduced to a whole new sound?
“Definitely, definitely. Cause my uncle was younger than my parents. My parents would listen to one type of music, but since my uncle was in high school he would have the newer shit. I got to go and hear the new shit from him.”
What specifically about your uncle drew you to him? What made him so inspiring early on?
“I guess it was, to me, he had the perfect life. He had a nice car. He had a nice girlfriend. We did important things – going to the movies. He introduced me to martial arts. He was one of those people in your life. I wanted to be just like him. He was a cool guy.”
You mention your uncle, but were there any ‘famous’ MCs, for lack of a better word, who inspired you to pick up the pen?
“No, initially there wasn’t. It was him. He was my idol at the time, and then he stopped doing music for his reasons and I kept going. Then I had to find a new mentor and new people to look up to – to keep that inspiration going. After that – and I was young, around 13 – it was people like Bow Wow. I used to think ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’ That kept me going forward. I mean I like all generations of music, one of my favorite rappers is Soulja Boy.”
He’s important, man.
“Yeah, so I looked up to how he was an entrepreneur and how he was very innovative and changing the game. So it was people like that. And then obviously all the legendary people.”
Jay, Pac, Nas, Biggie – all that.
“Right, right. I was always looked at as the underdog. Never got much attention from people, my friends were always more popular. Things like that. I drew motivation from that. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be that guy. I took my craft serious and I was drawing motivation from being the underdog. Just trying to be heard and seen.”
There definitely is some motivation when people aren’t giving you the recognition they should be. You mentioned in an interview with the Phoenix Times that you’ve been writing for fourteen years. How old are you right now?
“Right now I’m 28.”
Cool, so you started writing when you were around 14 then. Eighth grade. What motivated to put shit on paper? How did that all form together?
“So, when I started rapping I was 13. My uncle and I sat down and we wrote my first rap together. I was already in the studio.”
Do you remember that day? Do you remember your first day in the studio?
“Of course, deadass (laughs). I was downtown at a hotel cause his girlfriend worked at a hotel – it was a Hampton Inn. We were just sitting there – we would always freestyle in the car over people’s beats – and once we got in there I was like ‘Man, I wanna try to write my first rap.’ And he sat down and he helped me, and we got through it. Then maybe two, three weeks later I wrote my own and we went to the studio and laid it down. That’s how it was.”
What studio did you record at?
“So there’s a guy out here, his name is Booky. He was apart of this group called The Survivalists. They were one of the biggest groups to ever come outta here, outta Arizona. So Booky went solo, and that was his studio. He brought me in and it was a great experience. Fast forward fourteen years later, I meet up with Booky again. We had lost contact, and he can’t believe that I’m still doing this and I am who I am now. It’s a cool experience because it’s almost like him passing the torch over to me. But it was at his studio.”
Not gonna front, I don’t know much about Arizona hip hop. I’m pretty well-versed in the overall game but I don’t know a lot about AZ.
“I understand – we have a smaller culture. We have a growing culture definitely. A lot of people from Arizona only focus on the Arizona market which is why we may struggle. It’s a weird culture out here – a random culture.”
Can you shoutout any names, or maybe educate me on the roots of Phoenix and Arizona hip hop? You mentioned The Survivalists and Booky…
“Yeah, that’s way back in the day. Like 90s. Right now though – have you ever hear of Futuristic?”
Oh yeah I know Futuristic.
“Yeah, Futuristic is one of the guys who has made it. Pretty much the furthest on a national scale. He’s in the lead with that. We have a guy named Sincerely Collins.”
Yeah, yeah, I know him too.
“He’s from here…who else? We have a guy named Mega Ran. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most video game references in a song or something like that. I don’t know – like I said bro we’re barely starting to branch out.”
I honestly forgot that Collins and Futuristic were from Phoenix. With you, that’s three distinct voices that are already doing things on their own and getting some recognition. Can you go back to the early days and maybe even drop some history of Phoenix hip hop?
“Okay, on some real crazy, way back – there was this guy Felix Delgado and he started this group with Ice Cube. Ice Cube used to live in Arizona and he went to South Mountain High School. Same high school both of my parents went to. They started a little group and Ice Cube started writing. That’s where he wrote the ‘Fuck Tha Police’ song. He wrote it out here. And when Dre told him ‘I’m not going to rap that song,’ there was this dude out here named Pete who told Ice Cube ‘Yo, that’s a hit song. You guys have to do it.’ And so, after that, they put the song out and NWA was blowing up. So yeah, that’s an early moment from Arizona hip hop that people don’t really talk about.”
“Yeah (laughs). Right after that’s when we got Survivalists, there’s this dude Iroc Daniels. His names is Roca Dolla. He now does directing – he’s the one who actually directed the movie I was in, The System. He was really big out here on the music scene. There’s also a rapper named MC Magic. So we got some stuff but it ain’t super, super crazy. I think what I’m doing might be one of the craziest things.”
I would agree for sure.
“Out here it’s extremely hard, which is why I kinda did what I did with the challenge. There’s so many rappers all doing the same exact thing – booking shows, performing, putting out songs. I was just like ‘How can I make myself stand out in a saturated market?’ Cause out here the radio doesn’t support our artists. They don’t really play our songs like that. I was just trying to find a way to do something different. It’s a shit ton of effort.”
I didn’t know that. I imagine anywhere is going to have a tough come up scene, but the fact that the radio doesn’t play local music must make it so hard. I just don’t get how local shit doesn’t spin on local stations. That always seems so weird to me.
“They say that it’s not a big enough demand I guess. We do have this festival called the Arizona Hip Hop Festival, and basically this past year it was the biggest year. It was all local underground hip hop. This past year they had over 300 artists perform and like 15,000 people showed up. It was a two-day festival in downtown Phoenix and we sold the block out. I headlined that festival. So there’s a market that’s growing out here, but like I said, it’s 300 performers. There’s a lot of fucking rappers out here (laughs).”
That’s crazy. 300 different rappers!? How many stages?
“I wanna say four. They had two outside and one inside one club, and another inside a different club.”
All for you, plus 299 other MCs. That still blows my mind. And all y’all must be trying to fight for who’s going to get that buzz. Get that recognition from Phoenix. Cause clearly they don’t wanna give it to the underground, so you almost have to elevate yourself to a different status even locally just to get recognized. You don’t see that a lot in smaller cities, I would think.
“We’re huge bro, it’s not a small as people think. And a lot of people are coming in from California because of how packed it is. Our freeways are a lot more packed than they used to be. It’s growing man.”
I’m looking at population right now for Phoenix, I think it’s in the top ten most populous cities in the whole – oh shit, Phoenix is actually the fifth most populous city in the country I guess. Huh, I didn’t know that shit. The more you know.
Let’s get back to your career, but early on. You had your uncle motivating you, writing and recording. When did you first start to see things develop? First shows, a song online that started blowing up – what were the big moments in your early career to let’s say, the start of 2017 and pre the “365” shit?
“Okay (pauses). Damn you got some great questions (laughs).”
Thanks man (laughs).
“I wanna say I started to take it serious in like high school. I would get into a bunch of different battle raps and stuff like that and I would go studios with my homeboys. By this time I was recording at different home studios and shit. So I was recording a lot but wasn’t doing shows at the time. I wanna say around 2009, 2010 I had my first show. I didn’t really know what I was doing man. I was really following anything I thought Soulja Boy was doing. I was trying to make super party music and didn’t really have like an identity. But I knew that I wanted to rap. And I knew I wanted to do music and entertain people.
I graduated high school, and after high school is when me and one of my good friends started to take the music very seriously. Started to try and produce different mixtapes and shit like that. I was super mixtape heavy and dropped so many mixtapes. But nothing happened, that was all bullshit.”
And this was all under a different name, correct? You weren’t going by “Delly Everyday” at this time?
“Yeah, well when I first started rapping from 13 till high school I was ‘Lil Havoc.’ In high school I was rapping a lot in the locker rooms, and one of my friends was like ‘Yo, you Delly the Rapper.’ So it stuck. I used Delly the Rapper from then until 2013, 2014. Then I lost this battle and it really shook my confidence. Cause up until that point I had started to get pretty good at rapping. I had never lost at anything, and that really shook my confidence. And then it made me change my name cause I wanted a new identity. And I vowed to myself that I would work on my craft every day, so I never felt that feeling of losing, or defeat. That just woke up something in me and that’s how I got Delly Everyday.
In the midst of all of this shit, I’ve done shit, I’ve tried out for X-Factor. I went to Colorado and got to the second round where I was gonna meet Simon Cowell. It was super tough cause everybody there was a singer, and I was really like the only rapper out of 2,000 people.”
What was that like? Almost sounds like it could be a little weird.
“Super weird bro (both laugh). It was super weird. But they liked me and the next round they told me it’d be in L.A. And I didn’t call off work for the extra day so I had a decision to make. Do you miss this day of work – probably get fired, cause I had a son and my own apartment and shit – and take this chance and go to L.A.? Or do you just go back to work? And I went home. So I didn’t do it. And I still kick myself to this day.”
Hey man, you had good priorities.
“Yeah, yeah. So, that happened in like I wanna say 2016. I tried out for America’s Got Talent cause I won some radio contest and won free tickets to skip the line and try out and whatever. People voted for me at this radio station. So I did that, guess they didn’t like me. I kept on trying to take these little shortcuts to try and get into the music industry and none of that shit was working. So, that’s why with the 365 plan I knew it was kinda foolproof. It wasn’t a gimmick. It wasn’t a shortcut. It was deadass hardwork. I think that shit is paying off more than any of those other avenues.”
I would 100% agree. It’s more authentic, and not only that but now you got 365 songs for people to look at. Just from this last year. I have a question for you now though…how does Gary Vee get into all this? When you did you discover him?
“After high school one of my homies was always pressing me to be mentally stronger and be motivated and diligent. To have dedication. That got me into listening to different motivational speakers. So, I listened to a lot of people and read a lot of books. But, Gary Vee – I don’t know. It was something about the way he spoke. It was raw and straight up. So I had been following for a year or two, read his books and I actually had the idea to do the 365 a year before I found out about Gary Vee.”
“Yeah, but it was going to be freestyles, it wasn’t going to be actual songs. It was after I changed my name to Delly Everyday. I could always freestyle really good, and I knew I could get out a lot of content really fast. Somebody then told me in the comments that they thought it wasn’t a good idea. And then I was like damn, maybe he’s right. So I didn’t do it. So then fast forward and I’m an avid Gary Vee watcher, listener and watched all his interviews. And then I saw the 365 one. Someone might have sent it to me or some shit. When I heard him say that, that was all she wrote. I felt like he was talking to me.”
It’s funny sometimes how the Universe works. You already like Gary Vee. You already have this idea but are like “I don’t know,” but then Gary Vee says that in the right moment in time. Let’s get into this now. Did you record a bunch of songs at the end of 2017 to drop all 2018 or how did it start to pan out?
“I had a bank of about 20-30 songs that I was going to use as insurance in case I got sick or anything like that. Those songs were gone so fast (laughs). Soon as January, I first started dropping. What people don’t know is that first week was an actual project. It was a project I planned on dropping anyway, but instead of dropping it as a whole project I started it off as day by day thing. So the very first seven songs were from a project. I kept going from there.”
What was that first month like?
“It was crazy man. Even just looking back. I felt good. I kept trying not to think about how many more songs I had. Cause it’s like ‘Damn, I got a long way to go.’ I just stayed focused man and hit the studio every single chance I got. Wrote every chance I got. I just kept my pace, kept my head down and tried not to focus on the last day. Just one day at a time.”
Did you have any moments of doubt throughout the year?
“Yeah I had doubts. I’d say like 2-3 moments that I can recall and I kinda broke down and was like: ‘Fuck. Maybe I can’t do this shit.’ But then the other side was like: ‘What does tomorrow look like if you don’t drop a song?’ Can you get on the Internet – I don’t want people sounding sorry for me with the ‘at least you tried.’ I’m just not that kinda person. So, I felt like sometimes I couldn’t do it but you just get through the next day. Even when I felt like my verses were slipping I still was just writing. I just kept writing. I didn’t stop. That helped get me through it. But after day like 100, I was like ‘Yeah. I gotta do it.’ It was frustrating because people even hadn’t realized I had dropped 100, because I still had 265 left. So that was kinda nerve-racking. And then when I got to like – I actually talk about it in my last song – song 200, 250 I really started feeling like maybe I’m crazy. Maybe this all could be a waste. What if nothing happens? Cause nobody was saying anything. Now I know everyone was kinda just watching…”
That’s my next question actually. What types of reactions were you getting?
“Well Futuristic shouted me out, and hit up Gary Vee for me. Basically telling him ‘Yo my boy is dropping a song every day.’ Gary Vee liked it or Tweeted it. So at that point I knew that he knew about it. So that kinda gave me some fuel.”
Hell yeah. What about the last month? What was the end of the year like?
“As far as my schedule for the end of the year, it was crazy. The last week I tried to get a feature from everybody in the city who was doing something. Cause I wanted to shine light on them. Cause this shit just wasn’t about me. Trying to coordinate all those features and music videos.
Let’s talk specifically about that last day. You hit upload on SoundCloud, and ‘365’ goes live. What did you feel like in that moment? You fuckin’ did it.
“That day I’m actually at the house – my director’s house. I had a party and we did it live, like Facebook Live so everybody got to see. Man, it was so weird. Like I didn’t want to. I didn’t wanna push ‘Upload.’ Man it was weird, I don’t know. And then when I finally did it and we played the song out loud for everybody for the first time. Just listening to that fucking last verse man. It just, it got me. I was crying…”
Man that’s a great ass verse. That’s a great verse.
“Just hearing it and feeling all those emotions. Yeah it was wild.”
Love to hear that. How do you feel this year now? So rarely in life we can stick with a goal for more than a week. And you did it for a whole year! Sitting right now talking to me and looking back, how does Delly Everyday feel?
“I feel… – I feel good. I guess it really hasn’t set in. I know how big this shit is. I understand the magnitude of it. The world just hasn’t caught on yet. I feel the same, I feel normal. Like Drake said it…. I don’t really celebrate the wins like that. I don’t celebrate the losses. I just keep working and staying focused until I get where I’m trying to go. And that’s being financially free. And being able to do my art. I feel good though, I got a lot of recognition in the city. I was crowned Artist of the Year from the biggest hip hop radio station out here, Power 98.3. There’s different little award shows out here and I got Artist of the Year. They created a 365 award for me. It’s been crazy shit like that, but to me it’s just like ‘That’s great, I appreciate it. But I’m just trying to get back to work.’ That’s how I feel.
What’s next on the horizon? Any thoughts of trying to put together a project down the line?
“I think that’s what a lot of people are wanting from me. A cohesive project. Also, how I feel is like – if you haven’t heard all 365 songs yet you shouldn’t be asking for an album (laughs).”
Yeah – let’s be straight. You got 365 songs. A good album shouldn’t have more than like 15 songs if you’re asking me. You have like 20-30 albums worth of material out in one year. People can marinate on that for a minute I feel like.
“Right. So now it’s just about spreading its word and getting my fans. I feel like I’m earning a lot of die hard fans. I get crazy messages from people everyday telling me I inspire them. I’ve inspired people to do like a painting a day. A video a day. A blog a day. Two songs a day…”
Two songs a day!? Oh shit, someone coming for your head man?
“(Both laugh) But yeah man, it’s all good.”
How does it feel to see that response? Perhaps you could have been on the other side of those messages a year ago and here you are reading it now.
“It feels amazing man. Shit like that feels better than anything else. Cause that’s what I wanna do it for. To help people believe in themselves. Just try to do the unthinkable. Try to push the limits, push the boundaries. Cause great things are on the other side of that.”
Facts, man. Facts. We have to talk about your schedule. Straight up. You work three jobs, you have a family and three children, and you drop a song every day. How the fuck did you do that? How did you structure your time?
“(Laughs) It just varied, it changed a lot. You gotta go to work first. You get off work and you go home. Depending on what the day is, you’re either writing or going to the studio. Or, if I have to Lyft that day to get money for whatever reason. So it just depends on the type of day. All those different things in rotation with each other. And then also since I worked at a school I get the summers off. So there would be three months where I didn’t have to go to work. It kinda worked out. It was tough man, but, you know, I’m kinda like a magician.”
What are some of your favorite songs you dropped from 2018?
“I always liked the newer songs. I’m actually finally going back now and listening to all the other songs but I always like my newer songs. Day 364, Day 365…”
I really loved ‘365.’ Some of the dopest shit you rhymed the whole year was on that. The one you did with Marquel Deljuan – ‘Time’ – wanna say that was Day 53. That was dope too. And one that I always kept playing though, ‘Oh My.’ Day 128.
Moving on, did you feel like you improved as a person throughout all of this? Almost like you became a better version of “Delly,” because everyday you’re working on your craft?
“Yeah, it really helped my mental toughness. More than anything. It really helped me believe in myself, even more or again in those moments where I didn’t have the confidence. That’s the biggest thing for me. It definitely helped that.”
Wrapping up here, can you talk about The System movie you were in? What the overall plot is and your role in it?
“Basically The System is about a white cop who kills an African American child, the kid has a toy gun and he pulls it out on me. And the cop thinks it’s real and he kills him, and then all the backlash from that. It’s on all the streaming sites, Amazon and shit like that so people can see it there.”
Did you enjoy acting? What was it like working on that film? Sounds pretty powerful.
“Yeah, it was super dope. That’s why I wanted to be apart of it. That was my first acting role ever. It was cool, man. I just really did what the director told me to do. I just feel like a natural entertainer so it worked. I did a couple movies after that, but they are not out yet.”
You almost already answered my question, I was going to ask if you want to continue acting in the future.
“Hell yeah (laughs).”
Let’s talk about your team. I assume you weren’t the only person who helped bring this whole year together. Is there anyone you wanna shout out real quick?
“Yeah, my engineer Colin. I had a bunch of directors too – Sound Vision Films. DigiLab studios too, they pretty much let me use their facility for like 90% of the music.”
Dope dope. That brings me to the last question. Where will Delly Everyday be one year from now?
“I’ll probably be on vacation somewhere (laughs). I think the industry will know who I am by the end of this year. I always tell people it’s like a basketball game. No matter what level you’re on, if a kid drops 300 points in a basketball game then LeBron James, Steph Curry – all those people hear about it. They’ll know. So I feel like I’ll be a household name by the end of next year, or this year.”
Hell yeah, love to hear that. I think what you’re doing is so different and unique. And now that I realize how big Phoenix is it makes what you did even crazier to me. You’re in one of top five most populous places in the country and you’re doing that kinda shit. So all love from me, and thank you again for doing the interview.
“Aight bro, thank you. You’re super cool and I look forward to staying in touch with you!”
Thank you man. One love.
For more info on Delly Everyday, please visit his SoundCloud page.
images via Delly Everyday & All rightful photographers/owners
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