Dee Watkins found traction this year after flipping a ladies anthem into a song for the fellas. The 21-year-old rapper out of Macclenny, Fla. (just outside of Jacksonville) picked up 4 million streams (and counting) for his redo of City Girls’ inescapable hit single “Act Up,” playing his part in the hot girl-city boy rivalry that ruled the summer.
Dee Watkins has been rapping for more than a decade, first picking up the trade when he was just 9 years old. By 10, he was recording in his next-door neighbor’s studio under the name Lil D. He’s come a long way since. This past April, following “Act Up (City Boy Remix)” he dropped “Bad Ass Jit,” marrying that pointed-yet-smooth flow that Florida has made its own, with a beat that sounds fresh out of The Bay. Up next for Dee, who recently signed with Alamo Records, is the release of his first project, Problem Child.
Get to know Dee Watkins in this week’s edition of XXL‘s The Break.
Hometown: Macclenny, Fla.
I grew up listening to: “[Lil] Wayne, Rick Ross, Hot Boys—a lot of Down South artists. I always liked Wayne. He was my favorite rapper. He was just hard.”
My style’s been compared to: “People don’t compare me to nobody. They say I got my own sound. I had a song where people said I sound like 9lokknine in it, but [other than that] nobody really compares me to nobody.”
My standout records to date have been: “‘Bad Ass Jit,’ ‘Hellraiser’—them the two biggest. They fun songs with good videos.”
My most slept-on song is: “This song I got called ‘Blessings.’ Put me and my homeboy on it. It just didn’t stand out. It was on a mixtape. I ain’t really push it a lot. It’s straight.”
My standout moments to date have been: “Now. I always see XXL all over the internet, but I ain’t never think I’d actually be here.”
Most people don’t know: “I like to do more than just rap. I can shoot videos if I want to. I like to direct videos.”
I’m going to blow up because: “I just feel like talent can’t be denied. Everybody got a purpose and this just what I do. It’s like my job. I just know.”
I’m going to be the next: “Me. I’m gonna keep doing me.”
Follow Dee Watkins on SoundCloud and Instagram.
“Act Up (City Boy Remix)”
“Bad Ass Jit”
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