Bastrop spitter Devin “Deezie” Brown’s feature debut “Fifth Wheel Fairytale” is a decidedly Southern street fable, a tale of candy paint and speed traps, rap redemption and glorious love. Honed over a span of five years, the lavishly orchestrated release features a cast of around 20 Austin-area all-stars, including R&B artist Malik, guitar ace Jackie Venson, up-and-coming pop artist Mobley and Austin’s young blues guns, the Peterson Brothers (who also happen to be Brown’s cousins).
It emphasizes harmonies and hard-won wisdom while packing a solid heart-sucking hit. In short, it’s one of the best hip-hop albums to come out of ATX in the last decade.
KUTX and Waterloo Records Release “The Drop” Featuring Austin Rapper Deezie Brown
But don’t take my word for it. Come experience Brown’s lively raps and lush production for yourself when he takes the stage with his five-piece band at Waterloo Records on October 13 for the first episode of our new live music series, “The Drop.” Each month, the Statesman and KUTX 98.9 FM will feature a live performance by an up-and-coming artist from Austin, highlighting the diversity of talent that makes our city the live music capital of the world. The event will begin at 5 p.m. Brown will perform a short set and share some of the stories behind the songs. It’s free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.
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The album is a cinematic experience. In the great tradition of hip-hop concept records, it traces the story of a racing driver, following him from his childhood to an often troubled adult life. Along the way, we meet sleazy characters, witness a jubilant wedding, and a trunk-banging jaunt through the dirty south.
For Brown, learning to write through the eyes of a fictional character freed her voice.
“It’s not me. It’s not Devin,” he says. “It’s more what Devin is going through and Devin’s fears and Devin’s anger and Devin’s happiness.”
Because his character’s struggles follow a parallel path to Brown’s, the music is always “from home and from the heart,” he says.
Heart is at the center of the album, with numbers like “Jeromeo and Juliet” belonging to the catalog of essential hip-hop love songs.
COVID Pandemic Shutdown, Daughter’s Birth Informs Deezie Brown’s ‘Fairy Tale of the Fifth Wheel’
The 2020 pandemic shutdown and the experience of seeing people lose their lives instantly “moved me in different ways out of love,” Brown says. “I was like, I have to use my time. I have to use my message, I have to use my music much better.
The birth of her daughter in 2016 also changed Brown. “Having a child definitely put me in a position to take charge, lead, focus and nurture,” he says.
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At the time, he worked at the post office while trying to decipher the music business.
“I had to grow up, you know. There were a lot of things I had to stop doing, like going out so much,” he says.
As he got down to making music, the subject matter of his songs changed. He wanted to be a role model.
“A lot of the songs we hear on the radio don’t lead or motivate black men, in my opinion,” he says. “So I always wanted to make sure I was sending a positive message.”
Repping Texas key for Deezie Brown
Like most Bastrop kids of his generation, Brown revered his hometown hero DJ Screw.
As he grew as an artist, he began to think about his own contribution to the Texas sound.
“It was always my thing like, OK, DJ Screw did this thing for Texas,” he says. “How can I add to that legacy? How can I bring more value to this place where people want to come here to make good movies and make Texas what I know it is?
Repping Texas is an essential part of Brown’s sound.
“Home is everything. Especially coming from the south,” he says. “It’s harder than a lot of different places to get there. But yeah, I’m so proud to be from here.
The Drop returns in November
We’ll be back on Waterloo Records on November 6th at 3pm with Mobley, whose excellent new EP “Cry Havoc” was released on September 23rd.