MEET THE BAND: D-Man (vocals)
IN THE HEIGHTS: Originally from Chicago, local rapper D-Man listened to a wide range of music while growing up in Cleveland Heights, where he moved in 2006. "Hip-hop has been my entire life," he says. "My father had me listening to Biggie Smalls and Tupac and Master P, and my mother's side is more R&B and Whitney Houston and gospel music. I had diverse taste in music." In school, he took honors English and started writing poems in a composition book at age 16. "Writing was always an escape," he says. "I then started to putting those poems to a beat, and I was mixing music and fashion and getting edgy and getting my own personal style."
RECORDING ON THE FLY: D-Man recorded his debut, I Said What I Said, at his home and strived to bring an immediacy to the record. "My engineer came here, and it was like an instant thing," he says. "He played the beat and I instantly had some lyrics. It didn't take a long period of time."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: Album opener "To the League" features rapid-fire lyrics as D-Man boasts "counting cash is what I do." The rapper shows off his flow on "Catch a Play" and "For the Dolla$," more pensive tracks that allow him to flex his lyrical skills; the slow jam "Ain't Change" has an R&B vibe to it. "Everything about my music is original from how I organize the lyrics to the stories I tell through them," he says. "My music speaks to those who look for motivation to get up and get after their dreams." D-Man recently returned from Los Angeles, where he filmed a video for the track "Catch a Play." He's also prepping to shoot another music video for the track "1 of 1."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: 49dman.com.