Rising star rapper defying the odds

Julian Di Lolo says his dreams of being a rapper were shot down at a young age.

When he first began to rap, there were many people who said that he didn’t fit the profile.

“I had a lot of big dreams when I first started rapping and saw potential in my flow,” Di Lolo said. “A lot of the people around me weren’t confident about my success and told me only black guys could rap.”

But despite the negative comments he’d receive on almost a daily basis, he decided to pursue his dream.

Now, Di Lolo – also known as Nevertheless — is an up-and-coming hip-hop artist. And while many critics say white rappers aren’t able to convey messages in hip hop as clearly as black rappers can, Di Lolo says an artist’s race has nothing to do with the art that’s being produced.

“Whether a rapper is black, white, blue or yellow is completely irrelevant from the focus of hip hop,” he said. “My lyrics relate to all races because anyone could’ve gone through the same hardships that I’ve been through.”

Di Lolo says his life has been filled with struggles, but also with glory. He says his life experiences are expressed in his lyrics, which are intended to allow listeners to relate to his message.  He quotes a line in Jay-Z’s book Decoded to explain how his messages connect with wide audiences:

“The deeper we get into those sidewalk cracks and into the mind of the young hustler trying to find his fortune there, the closer we get to the ultimate human story, the story of struggle, which is what defines us all.”

Initially unsure about a career in rap, Di Lolo began a career in music production.

“When I first thought about rapping I was afraid of what people’s general response would be,” he said. “I decided to make beats in the beginning and I’d just rap to myself in my room to practice my skills. I wanted to make sure my material was gutter when I put it out there.”

Di Lolo eventually ventured into hip-hop rather than stick strictly to production because he wanted to convey his thoughts in rhymes rather than in a diary.

“I always wanted to rap because there was no other way I could speak my mind without there being consequences,” Di Lolo said. “Anyone could write a diary of their anger, joy and sadness, but when I rap I feel like I’m connecting with people on a spiritual level as well as a melodic one.”

The young artist said he thinks his success will take him far in the hip-hop industry. He wants his lyrics to help people get a better understanding of what he went through in life, for better and worse.

“If people understand who I am based on my lyrics then they can understand me as an individual,” Di Lolo said. “I want to be able to give people a better understanding of what it means to go through a struggle and let them know that hope is still available to them.”

About this article

By: Kris Ali-Trotman
Posted: Mar 2 2011 5:25 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life Features