Twenty-three year-old Detroit product, Dej loaf, is catching everyone's attention right now. After the release of her hit song "Try Me," which has been remixed by everyone from T.I., Fat Trel, Lil Durk, The LOX, and YG, life has drastically changed for Dej. After news broke last week that Dej was signed to Columbia Records—which was confirmed when T.I. welcomed her to the Columbia family on Monday (Oct. 20)—the upstart has gone on to release the official remix to "Try Me" featuring Remy Ma and 2014 XXL Freshmen class member Ty Dolla $ign, drop a new mixtape entitled $ell Sole, and made her NYC debut at Santos Party House earlier this week.
XXL spoke to Dej Loaf at Columbia Records about her signed record deal, what changed since "Try Me," and $ell Sole, and what we can expect next.—Emmanuel C.M.
XXL:You signed with Columbia, tell me how you feel?
Dej Loaf: Feels good man, some good people up here. We’ll see what goes on. I’m ready to put in the work.
There’s a line in “Try Me’ where you say “And I ain't signin' to no label, bitch I'm independent” what changed from then till now?
We had to make things happen. We just had to make a move so we can get on a higher scale. That’s all that is.
What’s your goal now that you’re signed?
Just to be a legend with this. Be one of the best that ever do it. That's pretty much it. No one has or will do what I’m going to do. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.
“Try Me” was huge. How many people reached out to you after it was picking up speed?
You see the names. Everybody and their mother reached out. I say that humbly.
Out of all the people that reached out to you, is there someone you’re looking forward to making music with?
I want to work with Drake. A lot of people have been hitting me up. But once I get time to get in the studio and work on the album, I definitely got to hit some people back 'cause they been hitting me up.
Were you overwhelmed?
I wouldn’t say overwhelmed, that’s not the word. It’s a cool feeling. Some of the dopest people I listened to growing up like The Lox, Drake, T.I., Busta Rhymes, they gave me props. I was talking to Birdman the other day on the phone. It feels like I’m on to something.
How did the conversation with Birdman go?
Just telling me about the game and telling me to do me. He likes what I’m doing. Just stuff about the game.
What has changed since “Try Me” came out?
Life. I’m sitting here doing an interview with XXL. Everyday there's something going on exciting; performing, every night, state to state, everything. Busy man, no sleep.
Which remix of "Try Me" do you like the most?
E-40, he’s like a legend to me. I like the one that he did. I like what Lil Durk did to it. T.I. killed it. Nobody heard that yet. Ty Dolla $ign killed it. Remy Ma killed it. So they on the official remix.
$ell Sole is out. What’s the meaning of the title?
My first mixtape was called Just Do It, and it was about shoes. I was in an era of my life where I was about shoes and the whole little vibe. This is kind of a sequel, just me telling my life story still. If you go back and listen to the first mixtape, I was just telling story for story on there. This is the same thing but on a higher scale. The music is better. I’m giving you my all. I’m giving you everything from the bottom. And I spelt “sole” like the sole of a shoe. I want to keep people on their toes about it. It has meaning to it. It’s not me selling my soul. I don’t even know what does it mean to sell your soul.
How was it working with Remy Ma and Ty Dolla $ign for the “Try Me” remix?
It was crazy. I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning. I’m thinking, if anyone can get Remy that would be crazy. We actually ran into her manager and she actually already did a remix to it. We had played her the song and she was like listen to this and she played her verse on it. Ty Dolla $ign was calling when the song started to buzz. He did it off the love and recorded it and sent it over and he had a dope verse. I thought it would be dope to put both of them on the official remix.
Tell me about “Blood” with Birdman and Young Thug?
I had written, “Blood” a while ago; a year or two ago. Thug reached out like, “Yo I love your music, we got to work.” And I was like, "Fasho, definitely. I sent him Blood,” I thought that would be a dope record to put him on. He sent me a record too. He sent me a video of him recording to it and in the video was Birdman talking crazy. I couldn’t believe it. It was crazy. He did his thing and put a surprise for me [Birdman].
You, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan and Birdman are the new Rich Gang?
[Laughs] We’re definitely going to do some work. Thug, he’s been hitting me. We got to get it in. We talked about doing a little EP together. You never know.
Describe DDS’ production style. He’s produced most of $ell Sole.
He has this sound that a lot of people wouldn’t even know what to do on his beat. I feel like—I’m probably not the only one—has an ear for his beat. He makes like this unorthodox [sound]—it's crazy.
IBGM, what’s the status on them?
IBGM is my crew. A couple of my guys, artist, producers, and a camera guy. IBGM is “I Been Getting Money.” It’s a mind state. It's just like you’re used to something, you don’t mind sharing. You don’t mind giving. So that’s what we’re about, helping people and building our own self at the same time. We’re doing what we’re doing out here, but I’m still mentioning names from Detroit. Anything I can do to help, we’ll try to help. That’s what I’m. about. Detroit has so much talent. Peezy, Pablo SkyWalkin, the Zelooperz, Chavis Chandler, Richy Marciano...people got to check them out.
Is there a standout memory from recording $ell Sole?
“Try Me,” actually. How it came about. Me being in the mall and stopping and recording the hook because people kept on staring at me like they wanted to fight. I was like, why all these people looking at me, “Let a nigga try me, try me I'm a get his whole muthafuckin' family.” I stopped and recorded that voice memo on my phone. And then my best friend was looking at me like I was crazy.