Smile Politely

D WEBB: Straight up, no chasers

D WEBB earned a spot on this Saturday’s ILL Rock Block setlist next to artists such as Big Sean and Gramatik after winning Canopy Club’s Block for the Spot competition. However, this will by no means be D WEBB’s first time performing with big name artists. After gaining popularity in his hometown of Peoria, IL he has had the opportunity to open for artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, Travis Porter, Machine Gun Kelly, Kid Ink, Do or Die, Tech N9ne and many more. In a world where it seems like everyone is dying to live the glamorous life of a music artist, D WEBB stands out from other aspiring musicians with his high energy live performance. At 22, he has dedicated his life to the No Chasers Crew empire, embodying his music and the No Chasers Crew Clothing Co. featuring apparel with slogans such as “Life’s a drink, don’t waste it.” D WEBB has clearly taken the slogan to heart, wasting no time making moves in his music career. 

Smile Politely: When did you first get involved in music?

D WEBB: I’d say my sophomore year of high school. I graduated in 2011 so sophomore or junior year. It all started just kind of free-styling with friends, it really wasn’t much. We would just make songs — it really wasn’t anything meaningful. Then it turned into making positive music and getting really good feedback, and I just started progressing from there.

SP: Was it hard at first to get your name out there and to get people to take you seriously?

D WEBB: From the town that I’m from, Peoria, there’s a lot of musicians here, I mean there’s a lot of musicians everywhere. So it’s kind of hard to get that hometown love, but once you do get that hometown love then you just know. I mean if you can get people in your hometown to like your music you can get anybody around the world to listen to your music. Kind of like your hometown is your first big battle as far as trying to get your music heard and I feel like I’m on my way. That’s why I like doing shows out of Urbana and Joliet and Bloomington and going out in different places and getting a different audience.

SP: Was there a moment where you realized you really just needed to drop everything and go for it?

D WEBB: It was actually at Urbana, it was the Machine Gun Kelly show in 2012 and that was my first really, really big crowd and the love we got was crazy, it was so many people. And after I got done with my set people were rooting “MGK, MGK!” then people started yelling “D WEBB, D WEBB!” So, everyone started saying my name over MGK, and I was just like, “What the hell is going on?” [laughs]. I feel like it was after that show at Canopy Club. Then I came back for the Lil Dicky show at Canopy and I felt the same way, and I was like, “Man, Urbana shows love.”

SP: What’s it like opening for people like Wiz Khalifa now?

D WEBB: I opened for Wiz in November 2014 when he came to Bradley University at the Renaissance Coliseum. It was a sold out show and we actually got picked by Bradley’s student council. It was crazy. They had actually seen the MGK show performance footage from Canopy Club at Urbana and it was so live and crazy that they were like yeah we want you guys to perform and Wiz’s management took a look at our stuff too and confirmed that they wanted us to perform. So we’ve opened for Wiz, Tech N9ne, Twista, Do or Die, Afroman, MGK, Kid Ink — a lot of people.

SP: Do you ever get to talk to these guys?

D WEBB: It kind of depends. Like the Wiz show was really tight on security,  they told us we weren’t even allowed backstage after our set. They told us that we actually had to leave to general admission after our set. It was cool though because we still snuck back there and were kicking it [laughs], we talked to Wiz’s DJ, DJ Bonics and he’s been his DJ for as long as I can remember. So we got to talk to him, and he was like, “It sounds like you guys have got a hype out there.” We were the only openers and usually for rap, hip-hop shows there’s like six openers. But we put up a recap video and Wiz’s DJ actually commented on the video and gave it a little critique and was like “I love seeing the movement, good luck and respect” so just to hear that from Wiz’s DJ is crazy.

SP: I saw recently that when you opened for Futuristic you incorporated a live drummer. Is that something you want to do more of?

D WEBB: Yeah that was at The Castle in Bloomington this month. We actually just started putting drums into our live set, the Wiz Khalifa show was the first time we put drums into the set and it was awesome. We got so much good feedback that we were like man we need to have that in our set at all times because it gives it such a good live feel. People are okay with listening to hear someone rap over a beat but having drums on stage too brings a whole new level to the performance. I would love to have drums every time but it just kind of depends on the promoter and the event, like the Lil Dicky show at Canopy we weren’t allowed to have a drummer and I’m not allowed to at the Block Party either just because of tight stage production and little stuff like that. But I would definitely have it if I could.

SP: Are you excited for Saturday?

D WEBB: Yeah I’m super stoked, this is crazy, it’s one of the bigger performances of my career so far so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m just really happy to have won the Battle of the Block and with how everything turned out.

SP: It’s pretty cool that you won Block for the Spot since you came over from Peoria.

D WEBB: Yeah, people were talking and said I guess that it didn’t really matter too much how many people you bring it’s more about the performance, like you’re trying to wow the secret judges or panel or whoever it was. But I had just an inkling that we’d won cause the place just erupted. We had packed a party bus of like forty people and drove all the way there, but I didn’t want to win just because I brought people, I wanted to win because it was a good performance, you know? And if you heard from your friends it was good then that’s way better than I expected because that means people were talking about it and that’s really cool.

SP: Where does the main inspiration for your music come from?

D WEBB: I try to write music that caters to myself, because I listen to my own advice if you can catch what I mean. We all give other people advice but it’s best to just follow your own advice. It’s kind of like, “Hold on to that thought and don’t forget what you believe in.” Things might change but don’t forget where you came from. There’s always a time for party music and to get crunk, and I am always going to have that type of music. But there’s also a special place for deeper meaning and what really makes a song is its deeper meaning and if it touches you in a certain way and effects you in a certain way and not just “oh I wanna get hyped on this song”— but that’s okay too.

Don’t miss D WEBB’s set at the ILL Rock Block Party this Saturday at 2:55 p.m.

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