Devin The Dude has been in hip-hop for over two decades, starting off as one-third of the Rap-A-Lot Records group, The Odd Squad, along with Jugg Mugg and Rob Quest. Scarface saw talent in him, and persuaded him to become a solo act, leading to Dev’s first solo album, The Dude, back in 1998. Since then, Devin has worked with a slew of the top rappers in the game, from Snoop Dogg to André 3000 to Lil Wayne, to just name a few. For a man who has been in the game longer than some rappers have lived, the Houston native has consistently put in quality work, and is now on his 8th album, One For The Road (which you can stream today), after taking a three-year hiatus from hip-hop.
From The Dude to One For The Road, the number of rappers he’s worked with over his solo career is staggering, despite not receiving the name recognition that others have gotten. “A lot of people come up to me like, ‘Man, you’ve been doing this stuff for so long, why are you not as successful as all these big name people?’” says Devin. “And I think I am. Not with money or material stuff, but being able to be in the presence of so many people I admire as far as rappers and musicians and people in the business. I’ve been on so many features. I would never imagine I would be doing features with the likes of Jay Z and R. Kelly and 50 Cent and Snoop and Dré and all these cats.” A week before the release of his new album, Devin stopped by the XXL offices to dish out the story behind ten of his finest collaborations over the years, and what he’s learned along the way. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)