DD Osama On Drill Being "Washed," and Pop Smoke Being The King Of New York (2024)

DD Osama On Drill Being "Washed," and Pop Smoke Being The King Of New York (1)

Caine Frame

When it comes to the constantly shifting New York rap scene, DD Osama is one of the genre’s rising stars. The Harlem-born rapper was surrounded by music at an early age; his older brother JStar Balla is a drill artist, but it wasn’t until his younger brother Notti Osama started making music in 2021 that he took an interest in it as well. The following year, the young brothers landed their first viral track, “Dead Opps”—which currently has 20 million views on YouTube. The moment was met with tragedy, though, when Notti was killed in a stabbing in July 2022 at 14 years old.

“If my little brother never died, then we were both going to blow up,” he tells Complex of their promising future. “I be saying that sh*t all the time. It just would have taken a little more time. We just would have had to wait until the world see our faces, and then everyone [would] see us.”

Despite the cruel hand that DD Osama has been dealt, he continues to persevere. Shortly after his brother’s death, he was featured in Drake’s Nocta x Nike 2022 holiday campaign. That was followed by a breakout 12 months for DD, which included viral tracks like “40s N 9s” with Sugarhill Ddot, his debut album Here 2 Stay, and co-signs from his rap heroes, Polo G and Lil Durk. Durk and DD also have a close friendship, with the Chicago drill rapper serving as a mentor figure.

“Yeah, Smurk really gives me advice,” DD says. “He said, ‘Yeah, they gonna trick us cause everybody humans, but don't let them control you.’ You can't let them control you because they gonna think they could use you and every time you provide for them, that they can use you all the time.”

Even with guidance from rap elites, DD Osama’s rapid rise is an impressive feat. He distorts his voice when he rhymes, making his lyrics sound like bricks smashing into concrete over heavy drill production, which sometimes makes him hard to understand—but the impact is felt. Ironically, even though Osama found fame in the New York drill scene, he doesn’t see a future for the subgenre.

“Nah, this sh*t is washed. The streets are not good, bro. That street sh*t is not good. Just stay in school, bro,” he says, later adding, “I really don't even like to do drill, it’s just bad energy. I just do that sh*t cause my fans like me doing drill. But [if it were up to me], I wouldn't even do that sh*t. I would just be doing all my pain tracks. I’d do some trap sh*t, but I don’t want to just do drill.”

"Nah, [drill] is washed...I really don't even like to do drill, it's just bad energy. I just do that sh*t cause my fans like me doing drill."

DD Osama calls himself “The Future,” and he is writing his story on his terms. Complex spoke with the rising New York rapper about life before fame, why he believes he and Luh Tyler are the Lil Baby and Lil Durk of their generation, who will always be the King of New York, and more.

You’ve been called the Justin Bieber of Drill or the Justin Bieber of the trenches because of how loyal and massive your fanbase is. I heard you like to listen to Bieber in your free time, what’s your favorite song?
"One Less Lonely Girl.” Yeah, that’s pain.

What would a DD Osama and Justin Bieber song sound like?
I'm trying to tell you, I’m really manifesting it. I'm going to get a song with my son. Hopefully guys, I'm manifesting it right now.

How has tour been? What’s been your favorite about it so far?
It's fire, I can’t lie. It's not really a tour, though. It's a little before a big tour, but it’s going well.

What’s been your favorite part about it so far?
Just traveling overall, I don’t like being in New York. I just love going everywhere, Atlanta, Miami, L.A., all that.

How would you describe your style of rapping?
It’s just different because I just switch up my [flow] for every song. I don’t try to stick with one same flow, I [try to] do everything. I’m just different and unique.

A lot has changed for you since you became famous, but what were you like in school?
I ain’t gonna lie, I wasn’t doing my work. That’s bad though, y’all have to do y’all work. But I was just playing around too much. I had this one English teacher from my last school, they really taught me a lot of big words. I’m going to use the big words they taught me.

Everybody knows you now for your abilities as a rapper, but what do you like to do outside of music?
I just play my game, but they banned me on Twitch. I be buggin sometimes. I tried to make so many Twitch accounts. I need to get on Kai [Cenat]’s stream. I don’t care about having my own stream, I need to get on Kai’s stream. Top streamer in the world.

What are your thoughts on the Jersey Club and New York drill fusion that’s been happening lately?
I f*ck with the Jersey drill sh*t, but me personally, I wouldn’t [make] that sh*t every day. That sh*t get bored and tiring, it gets annoying sometimes.

Nas was 16 when he wrote Illmatic, and it feels like rappers are blowing up younger and younger. How do you think life would be different if you blew up later in life instead of at your current age?
Nah, if my little brother never died then we were both going to blow up. I be saying that sh*t all the time, it just would have taken a little more time. We just would have had to wait until the world see our face and then everyone gonna see us.

What’s your favorite rap album?
Probably one of the Polo G albums, [The] Goat, or 7220 by Lil Durk.

What’s it like now having a personal relationship with Polo G? Has he ever given you advice?
[Polo] just brought me out on the show, but I wouldn’t say I got a relationship with him because I don’t talk to him every day. But Polo G is really cool, I can’t lie. He told me when I was at the show that he f*cked with me. That sh*t shocked me, that Polo G was listening to me.

And I saw Lil Durk brought you for some of his shows too.
Yeah, Smurk really gives me advice. He told, “Yeah, they gonna trick us cause everybody humans, but don't let them control you.” You can't let them control you because they gonna think they could use you and every time you provide for them, that they can use you all the time.

Has it been hard to navigate fame because of how fast everything has been happening?
I won’t lie, it just be so much that I be forgetting.

Does that just happen, or do you try to forget on purpose?
It just happens. I don’t be trying to forget it but it just happens.

What’s your relationship with social media like, especially TikTok. Have you ever found yourself consciously trying to make a song for social media?
When people say “TikTok songs” and sh*t, it's not a TikTok song. It's just you made a song and it's going viral on TikTok. There's no such thing as a TikTok song. You can post a song on TikTok and it doesn’t have to be for TikTok. And if it does go viral on TikTok, it’s not a TikTok song. It’s a viral song. I don't really be trying to make TikTok songs. I just be trying to do my own sh*t.

@complexmusic

DD Osama says there's no such thing as a "TikTok song." The rest of our interview with #ddosama is on Complex

♬ original sound - ComplexMusic

Another rapper your age who you’ve connected with is Luh Tyler. How were y’all able to make your different sounds work together?
I ain't gonna lie, it was his type beat, I just used a little bit of bro flow and brought my drill into it and got back into his sh*t.

How was that to write to his kind of flow?
I wasn’t writing, it was just off the top of my head. I used to write, but now everything is just off the top of my head. Going in on how I’m feeling because I be getting stuck a lot when I’m writing.

Why do you feel you and Luh Tyler are the future of rap?
When I see me and Luh Tyler, I just see Lil Baby and Smurk. We’re them of this generation. I'm the future, I know I'm going to be here for mad long.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?
I don't know. I don’t care what people be thinking about me. They can think whatever they want. Why they thinking about me, I ain't even thinking about them, you know what I'm saying? I'm just really focused on myself.

What are your thoughts on the King of New York title?
I don’t care about that sh*t. The only King of New York was Pop Smoke. RIP Pop Smoke. I don't think nobody else. Anybody else with that title? Stop it. I'm the future, but King New York sh*t, that’s Pop’s sh*t.

@complex

DD Osama says he doesn’t care about the “King of New York” title… He says it still belongs to Pop Smoke #ddosama #popsmoke

♬ original sound - Complex

What are your thoughts on the state of New York drill? Do you think it's somewhat dying out?
Nah, this sh*t is washed. The streets are not good, bro. That street sh*t is not good. Just stay in school, bro. This drill sh*t not even fun, not cool, nothing. That's why I don't just do drill. I'm not a drill rapper.

I don't consider myself a drill rapper, I'm an artist. I'm a regular artist because I really do everything. I don't just do drill. I really don't even like to do drill, it’s just bad energy. I just do that sh*t cause my fans like me doing drill. But [if it were up to me], I wouldn't even do that sh*t. I would just be doing all my pain tracks. I’d do some trap sh*t, but I don’t want to just do drill. That drill sh*t is washed up and played out.

Do you think it will ever return to what it once was?
Nah, it’s cooked.

Who’s on your collaboration bucket list?
I gotta check off No Cap, Drake, Justin Bieber, Smurkio, Lil Baby, Rod Wave. I need one with Rod Wave. We signed to the same label. Oh Yeah, Ice Spice my heart. And I want to work with GloRilla, and Sexyy Red. They’re hard.

What does success look like for you?
When I get 100 more plaques and I got a Grammy. Once I got 100 more plaques and just one Grammy. If I do get more, thank you God, but I really just want one, and 100 plaques, and a couple billboards.

What do you have coming up that fans can be excited about?
I got my mixtape dropping real soon. Y’all going to love it, and hopefully I get 10 plaques by the end of this year.

DD Osama On Drill Being "Washed," and Pop Smoke Being The King Of New York (2024)

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