New Orleans rapper Dee-1 recently signed a deal with RCA Records after nearly a decade of releasing independent music. He now wants to thank the people that motivated him the most: his former students.

Dee, real name David Augustine, has released a letter on his Tumblr dedicated to the children of Baker Middle School in Louisiana, where he taught math for a number of years after graduating college in 2008. He says that the letter is for any student he ever "tutored, mentored or held a conservation with in New Orleans or Baton Rouge." He goes on to say that it was a difficult decision for him to leave his teaching profession and that he wanted to make sure he "made it" so he could "represent and symbolize something" that was not often seen in Louisiana. The letter culminates with him declaring, "Well...Mr. Augustine made it" and promising the students that they can make their dreams come true, too, if they find something they love and dedicate themselves to it.

Augustine has released a number of mixtapes over the years, including last February's Psalms of David. He's also released one independent album, 2009's David & Goliath, and multiple singles.

Check out his letter below:

This is specifically for all the students I ever taught math, life skills, or study skills to at Baker Middle School. This is for any student I ever tutored, mentored, or held a conversation with in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or over the phone. This is for any kid who I ever coached in basketball. When I walked away from my job as a teacher it was a tough decision, but once I did it, I wanted to make sure I made it because I knew I could represent and symbolize something we rarely see where we come from. Well…..

 Mr Augustine made it.

 I just signed a major-label record deal with RCA.

Remember when I’d be in class with my mixtapes or talking about the show I had just done, or rapping to yall (sometimes lol)? Remember me spitting 16 bars to my 4th period class when yall didn’t even believe I was a real rapper, and afterwards yall started screaming so loud that Ms. Moses came running in asking if someone was fighting? Remember me saying that I don’t curse in my music but that I refused to change or compromise just to try to “get on?”

Well I’m on. And I still don’t curse, lol.

My dream came true. Yours can too. But 1st you have to have a dream. Find something you love, something you can become great at, something you’re willing to do for free, just because you love it so much. Something your mom can be proud of and say “Ooohhh yall look at my baby!! He/she is doing soooo well.” Then do it. Focus on getting better and remaining positive. GRIND!!! No wait, my bad….. SHUT UP AND GRIND!!! #SUAG is the new SWAG. Yep, I love all yall. I want to see yall WIN! Let my success serve as MOTIVATION…

The funny part I’m learning about dreams is that by the time you achieve one, you’ve already started dreaming bigger dreams. So keep going. Don’t stop. #MissionVision

 Mr. Augustine aka “Dee-1”