Get to know Von Dreaam

Posted on August 7th, 2017

San Diego transplant, emcee, and community-based activist, Von Dreaam, is anything other than “Emotionless” as he navigates the highs and lows inherent in life and, maybe even moreso, in music. With music in his veins, experiences that have undoubtedly shaped his trajectory, and a relentless hustle, Von Dreaam hopes to be the voice of marginalized, the hurting, and those outside the well-worn paths many have walked in hip hop. Von has created BOP, Benefits Over Pleasure, as a tool to help him navigate the road less travelled as he makes decisions along the way, displaying a tremendous amount of discipline and focus. I am convinced that Von Dreaam’s story is your story, so read up on his journey, your journey, our journey, and if it resonates with you, share it. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us here at GoodVibeSD.com, Von Dreaam.

 

GVSD: Who is Von Dreaam?

Von Dreaam: Von Dreaam is a metaphor in human form. Von Dreaam is a symbol of growth that most people skip right over to get to that same ol’ same ol’. Von Dreaam is different though, he’s not gonna rap about drugs or clubs or bottles or violence because none of those things are part of his message to the world. I’m a lot deeper than most artists, age not even being a factor, but I’m younger than most of them too. Von Dreaam is the youngest face of his community with a drive & ambition that can be vouched for.

GVSD: How/why did you get into making music?

Von Dreaam: I come from a bit of a line of artists. My mother Sheila used to rap and sing, her older brother was the DJ/MC of their group. I have numerous cousins who rap also, so extending from that background, by the age of 7 or 8, I was writing full songs with hooks and all. It all was a joke at first until I realized I could use my natural writing skills to be a rapper. I got the hang of it in jr. High & I just ran with it from there.

GVSD: I know you’ve got to be excited to share about your recently released Red Streak II, which you released just before Christmas in 2016. If you had to summarize the album in a few sentences, what would you say about it?

Von Dreaam: If you walked out of your house and found your roof burning, the streets were full of lava and it’s not a human in sight. That’s the Red Streak. That feeling of thunder and bloody rain you get listening to the Outro on the project is the initial image I see when I think of the title. It’s like the Overstanding & overcoming of Hip Hop before it, and burning everything in its path.

GVSD: Three songs in and listeners can’t help but hear your hunger on Red Streak II, both in your words, and in how you deliver those words. What fuels your hunger? Why do you make music?

Von Dreaam: My hunger comes from a lot of things. My uncle Vincent being killed outside my grandmother’s house when I was 9 months old is a main reason. I make music in recollection and memory of him. I realized I had the ability to influence kids like me and kids who look up to me with the music I decide to make. So I guess you can say I try to teach you or whoever is listening. I preach change and growing and to ignore negativity in retrospect of my own encounters. In a place like Southeast San Diego where shit DONT change. It’s cats still hangin on the same corners and in the same parking lots everyday like they was when we was in high school. We look around here and we don’t see new stuff. We see abandoned buildings and closed down businesses. My mind has never been sustained to only see the Southeast. I always wanted to make music to portray my message and reach the universe. Create new waves of thought in young men and women and be a mirror for myself. I call out a lot of things I’ve done to people or people have done to me and I’m able to use my music as a tool to learn from those things. I direct my emotions to the songs I make because I often feel like it’s nobody else who understands, but I know it’s somebody somewhere feeling that same way and feeling like nobody understands it. It’s so many artists that hide their emotions from their music and become this super thug on wax, but I’m not one of them. My heart is why people love me so I put all of that in my art for everyone to feel.

GVSD: Another element of your music that definitely stands out is “Benefits Over Pleasure.” Can you tell GVSD readers a bit about what BOP represents?

Von Dreaam: “Benefits Over Pleasure, what’s that supposed to mean?” Issa Lifestyle. Issa Mindset. Issa Decision-making mechanism I came up with in 10th grade. I use it in my everyday life and so can anybody of any age in the world. It’s not a gang or a click or a record label, it’s simply a code to live by and live for. Putting things that will be of benefit or help to you and your situation before that of which you don’t get anything out of. In no way is it a form of “M.O.B”, the word Benefits isn’t held to just Money. It’s whatever you do in your life.

GVSD: I got chills listening to “Seven Roses” featuring Trip (also when listening to “Ocean Views”). Can you explain where that track came from, what inspired it? How did you connect with Trip, and why was he the perfect fit for the track?

Von Dreaam: It’s crazy you mentioned those two tracks in particular. In “Seven Roses”, I was speaking up on being left out/left behind for so many years with my music. I’ve encountered betrayal and anything else behind my music, that’s what the hook is saying. “They gon treat me like I’m missing screws, they gon skip over me, I’m puttin too much in your view” That was a shot I took at everyone who doesn’t like my music or doesn’t listen to it purposely because my style is different and I don’t rap about drugs or bitches or catching bodies. It eventually took me to a place where I felt I was being overlooked, after I been writing music for almost 14 years now, I still don’t feel like anyone is listening to me. I go through these trials, these breakups, these fallouts and I scream over beats but I still feel like it’s all for no reason. I chose TRIP, one of my best friends, to help me pass the message because he gets me. Since we met in 2013, he’s been locked in with me more than people I can say I grew up with and that says A LOT. He’s also someone I look up to, so I often catch myself rapping his verse to myself like he was talking to me. The song was essentially inspired by me falling out with a childhood friend… Thus the Roses, and the funeral feel to the song. I wanted to fully capture my feeling like nobody has been listening to me all these years and even still today & leave that thought swimming in the listeners’ heads.

GVSD: Trip isn’t the only feature on the album. You also feature D. Boog, Satka, 2M, Lithy, and Teddy. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship to each one, as well as what about each artist made you want to work with him?

Von Dreaam: Blessed to be surrounded by people like my lil brother D. Boog, who is coming up right beside me. He possesses this classic Westcoast/California steelo that stands out so vivid when he raps. He just dropped his first music video #BAREFACE & im stupid proud of him. Satka is one of the songwriters who works with Dre Knight, the producer of “Extraordinary” so he plugged us in for that INSTANT classic. 2M is another artist I look up to here in San Diego, he’s amazing at what he does & he’s also a DJ. One of my closest friends and someone I consider family 100%. Lithy, my god, Lithy… I love Lithy. We were childhood friends, grew up down the street from each other. Crazy thing is, I didn’t know she did music until I told her about that song. She had never recorded herself singing before. My faith in her is tremendous so I wanted to put her in that position to do something she never got to do before. I loved working with all of them. I don’t reach out much for features but I kept things in the family on this project. Teddy Benson is more of a big brother figure to me, I been watching his moves since I was in high school when we were labelmates at MPYRE Music, LLC. It was our first song together and it was spur of the moment but we mesh perfectly. Look out for him on more of my albums. ACKRITE!

GVSD: The album has been out in the world for about 9 months now. What has the response to Red Streak II been like?

Von Dreaam: So far, I’ve gotten good response from it. I feel like the material on the project is diverse and Universal enough for me to have reached outside my comfort zone. I appreciate everyone who been buying the cds and downloading the project too. This is only my 6th full length LP so I’ve got a lot of work to do.

GVSD: I noticed that you had a chance to perform at the H.Code award ceremony. How did the music from RSII translate to the live setting? How did you feel about the performance?

Von Dreaam: It was most definitely fun to get a chance to perform some of my favorite songs from the project live. Songs like “Cash Day” give the room a new feeling and I always enjoy that. Performing live is something I’ll always enjoy doing because it gives me the chance to be myself & express my emotions for the audience. It felt great to just be up there & also being honored for my moves in the community as well as in the studio.

GVSD: Speaking of the H.Code awards, you were given an H.Code award for “work and service to the community.” Can you tell us three things: What is the H.Code award ceremony? What, specifically, did you win the award for? And, what does it mean to you to earn the award?

Von Dreaam: Picking up where I left off on the last question, I had been honored for the moves I made inside and outside the booth. A friend of mine, Curtis McNeil put together a local awards ceremony to shed light on a few artists from the city who do more than make music. Artists like me & Tru7h are activists in our community as well so he made sure we got our special attention. It meant a lot to me because I’ve seen so much over the last 3 years behind the music. Just behind the music, the protests, meeting with different figures in the community and really trying to find solutions to problems that we all face everyday walking these same streets. Very thankful to have had that opportunity.

GVSD: As we begin wrapping up, I’d like to give you the space to get anything you’d like off of your chest. What’s been going on in, Von Dreaam’s mind lately? And after you answer the question in a broad sense, can you follow it up with what’s going on in your mind regarding San Diego hip hop?

Von Dreaam: My mind has been everywhere as of late. It’s like evil must smell the success in the air ‘cause I keep getting hit upside the head with distractions. I’m just tryna work harder everyday and give more. That means more videos and more music, more classic timeless dope ass music. As far as the city goes, San Diego is coming in more consistently than I can remember seeing. Everybody’s dropping videos, everybody’s doing a tape, it’s dope track after dope track coming out of all these camps here. No beef, no dumb rapper nonsense, it’s just a big push and it’s beautiful to see. I get to be happy for all of my friends when they drop cos for once, we all dropping dope music at once. Shoutout to my dawgs.

GVSD: Alright, this is the part where you shamelessly plug live shows you have coming up, as well as were GoodVibeSD readers can keep in tune with Von Dreaam and the BOP movement.

Von Dreaam: No shows rightnow man until I finish my project but you can go follow up at @VonDreaam on all social media outlets. If you search my name on YouTube or google, you can see all my different stuff I have. Benefits Over Pleasure. Thank you so much for the love.

 

Since finishing the interview, Von Dreaam has released the visuals for his track, “Emotionless”, which I heavily suggest you enjoy and share now:

<