I’ve followed Dedrick Jamaal through his career, from just starting out with his first project, Overnight, to putting the finishing touches on his latest mixtape, T.A.T. A. So I’ve always been impressed by his style and lyricism and his passion for hip hop music. However, I pretty much could predict his next move. Until, I received a text from him stating that he had changed his stage name. So now he goes by the name Wolfe.
Wolfe is still the hip hop artist we know and love, but there are more experimental music and projects on the way. Wolfe is more than just a name; it’s a brand. Wolfe now has the full creative control that he always wanted. Whether he is gearing up the re-release of T.A.T.A and “Wednesday Song,” building his new brand 4KQA (For Kings and Queens Alike), or completing his debut album (finally!), Wolfe is still a new face in music. But that will soon all change. So remember the new name, Wolfe and what is to come.
I talked with Wolfe about the name change, parting ways with his label, reowning his sound, and much more. Peep the interview after the jump!
Is it safe to call you Wolfe, the artist formerly known as Dedrick Jamaal? Why the name change?
Wolfe: Yes, it still takes me a little getting used to but I’m excited about this interview and my first chance to explain everything I have going on. I changed to just my last name because it’s something I’ve been thinking of for some time. With Kendrick and so many new artists using their first and middle name I wanted to separate myself from my contemporaries as much as I can. I’ve also distanced myself from all previous business relationships I had and felt the need for a fresh start.
What does this new brand, Wolfe represent? Will the music and sound be the same or are you changing up a little bit?
Wolfe: It’s about me getting back to my roots so to speak. When I started making music I invested in myself and moved on my own accord. I wasn’t held up by anyone and my failure or success was solely in my hands. I feel like I got to far away from that. To far away from my family; my real friends. My neighborhoods. I became to much of a studio head and the name change and rebranding is about me being more active than ever while remembering what’s really important. The music is always evolving with me so that won’t be tied to the name change at all.
You were an artist on the Blacklight Music Group label. How are things now between you and the label?
Wolfe: There’s a respect there and appreciation for those guys but I’m doing my own thing now. Me and my people have our own brand 4KQA that stands for “For Kings and Queens Alike” that we are representing to the fullest.
How does it feel to be an official solo artist (free agent)?
Wolfe: It feels great to be in a situation now that the people around me are 100% behind me and my vision. That’s what I’ve always wanted to begin with.
Do you any career regrets?
Wolfe: The only career regret I have is not being more efficient with my time. Now I don’t have time to regret it. I gotta get it!
What are some lessons you have learned while on this music journey?
Wolfe: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that people are so much more important than songs. I could record high quality material all day, but if I’m not touching the people those songs can’t grow as they should. No one will know they exist. The internet is a good tool, but it’s just a tool. There’s more work to be done than just on my craft making the product. I have to touch the people and these cities so they can become aware of what I have to offer.
Do you feel like you have to conform to the “standards” of what the music industry wants artist to sound and look like?
Wolfe: Somewhat sometimes. I say that to say I am from the south. We’ve never been a region that really stands behind our hip hop artists as much as the other music that comes out from here. You can hear the difference in what I bring to the table and other artists if you take the time to listen. The trick is making you want to listen. It’s more give and take with me than conformity. I’m a bit of a non-conformist.
Get a taste of Wolfe’s sound below:
What’s next for Wolfe?
Wolfe: My crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo for my upcoming album Dear Winter, while my team and I continue to push my current body of work T.A.T.A. There will be merch and new music on the way very soon as well.
Anything else you would like to add?
Wolfe: Thank you so much for giving me the chance to update my supporters on what’s been going on while I rebrand. I can be found Wolfe4kqa across all social media outlets and soundcloud. Now so it’s easier to find me. Dear Winter will be the best body of work I’ve ever put out, so please stay tuned.