The Detroit native is gearing up for a very rigorous first year in the industry
Dej Loaf has officially blown up. It’s a chilly October evening, and she’s sitting on the 27th floor of the NYC Sony building–which serves as Columbia Records’ headquarters– casually flipping through a stack of singles and hundred dollar bills as she playfully argues with a member of her tightly knit team, and the man who produced “Try Me”, DDS. This isn’t her first interview with The Source, she previously chatted with a senior editorial staff member long before “Try Me” became “Try Me”, and before Remy Ma and Ty Dolla $ign hopped on the remix to her breakout single. However, with her first post-deal project, Sell Sole, dropping today, and the release of last night’s remix, there was a serious buzz surrounding the 23-year old Detroit native. We caught up with Dej–who, by the way, has built a serious #WCW reputation on Instagram–on not just what’s happening today, but her plans for the future–because she does have plans for the future, contrary to her “one-hit wonder” critics. At the conclusion of this interview, she’ll hold the aforementioned stack of money to her ear in what may or may not be an ode to French Montana‘s now infamous pose as she takes a flick for our social media photo-op, but before you write her off as another money hungry industry plant, see what young Dej has to say. It’s a lot deeper than being tried.
So we actually spoke to you not too long ago when “Try Me” first hit, so first I wanna talk to you about the official “Try Me” remix and the new song you have out called “Bird Call.”
I mean, there’s some bars on there, though.
Yeah. So the mixtape is called Sell Sole, you know like S-E-L-L, S-O-L-E, like the sole of a shoe. And it’s just me speaking on different stories and where I’m a in life now. Everything is from the bottom of my soul. That’s how I do it, you know what I mean?
You said “where you’re at in life now.” Where exactly is that, as compared to what, maybe three weeks ago?
I mean from my first mixtape Just Do It. I’m in a different space [now]. Back then I was in college, I was livin’ that whole college, straight out of high school life. You know how that is. A couple of months ago before all this happened I was in the city, I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I quit my job, I was just down bad, you know what I mean? And things weren’t going so great for me so I was just tryna to figure out what I was gonna do in life. I was like, ‘what’s next? Should I go back to school? Should I get a job?’ Y’know, ‘should I try somebody?’
Somebody tried you?
They did, man, that’s why I made the song.
Somebody, or multiple people?
A couple people, man. [There were] so many situations we got into. We [gestures to her friend, Dez] were ridin’ together over the summer and some people tried us in traffic, man, it’s a day I’ll never forget. I almost lost my life. but we had already made the record, so I pulled off. It just worked, it made sense. Everything just happened for a reason. I’m here today. The first mixtape I was telling all my business–go back and listen to it if you haven’t–and this time around I’m still giving y’all these stories, letting y’all know what’s going on in my life. It’s just good music.
Yeah I heard you saying E-40 was your favorite rapper. How did you get attached to him?
My dad used to play E-40 a lot when I was a kid. He’s dope.
What’s your five favorite albums?
Ah man. (One of Loaf’s buddies starts counting off his fingers, “Dylayn, Dylan, Dylan…,” and laughter ensues). Jay Z’s Black Album, DMX, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. Lil Kim, which one of her albums was it? La Bella Mafia and The Naked Truth. Toni Braxton, The Heat album.
Wow, interesting selection but good. How’d you meet this guy? *points to “Try Me” producer*
I don’t know him really. Nah, we were doing a compilation mixtape for our team and he was sending beats through the email. I was the only one really using them. I liked his sound, and we just clicked like that. [At first] everything was through email. I hadn’t seen, didn’t even know who he was.
Oh really? So when did y’all meet? Like, now?
No, no, no, like yesterday [laughs]. Nah but he was supporting my music, came to a couple of my shows in Detroit. So we met up. Yeah, he did “Bird Call.” [looks over towards the producer, DDS] Did you do “Bird Call?”
(DDS interjects) Yeah.
I’m losing track now. We have so much stuff you’re gonna hear on the mixtape. He did the majority.
Alright, last question. I know your tape is coming out tomorrow, but I imagine you have some ideas of what you want to do with your debut album. Are you even thinking that far?
Yeah. Like you said the mixtape came super fast because I was working on it before all of this happened, so it was kinda perfect timing to put it out. This is old to me but new to everybody else. I’m in album mode- I’m ready. We’ll see. It’s gonna be crazy.
Next year, right?
Yeah, top of the year. I’ve been so busy doing appearances, I’m just ready to get back in the studio. That’s what I like the most. Sorry, I don’t like interviews.
Me either. Dream collaboration if you had to pick one person
Nas, that would be crazy. I mean, I don’t like to name drop but, I don’t know. Jay Z. Why not?
Not Em? That’s an obvious choice.
Yeah, but he don’t work with everybody. There’s a lot going on in my life right now. Bigger names are really saluting me and it’s just a blessing man. I’m humble about it because you can have anybody reaching out to you but you got the top…
Cream of the crop.
Yeah, I just met Puff the other day
I saw it on his Instagram, I was like “oh sh*t, this is nice.”
Man, it’s crazy. I’m blessed.
Dej had better signal on her money phone than Khari did on his Sprint iPhone. Follow him on Twitter.