Today, April 10, marks the 29th birthday of New Orleans MC Dee-1.

Dee didn't take the direct line to rap. Graduating from LSU in 2008, Dee-1 got a job as a middle school math teacher before starting his rap career. That same year he dropped three mixtapes It's Only Tha Beginning, Still We Rise and I Am Who I Am. The following year he put out his only LP to date, David and Goliath. The NOLA native kept rapping and teaching, building a big buzz in the region, until resigning to focus on music in 2012.

The down-to-earth spitter is different from your average rapper. For one, his rhymes are steeped in positive imagery and political overtones. And while most artist would jump at a chance to sign a major deal with their hometown powerhouse label, Dee turned down an offer from Birdman and Cash Money Records to remain independent and in full creative control of his career. He later inked a deal with RCA Inspiration in 2013. In 2016, he put out Slingshot David (The Mixtape), then followed up in 2017 with his major label debut Slingshot David (The Album). Today, he continues to be one of the few rappers with a mainstream voice who uses it for the purpose of social change.

Dee shares his born day with A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip. And as an Aries he shares the sign with MCs like Chance The Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, Q-Tip, DeJ Loaf, Redman and David Banner.

Happy Birthday Dee-1!

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