David Parra (@dpgmarine) – Interview

David Parra is a self-confessed 80’s baby and super-fan of music, who has set out to “make a dream compilation for rap heads”, and with Brainsick Muzik’s C. Ray and Dikulz lending a hand with mixing and gfx for the compilation, David Parra, whose handle on social media is @dpgmarine, has finally released a compilation of tracks of a kind, that will only be heard on the underground. Bringing together some of the most talented rappers and singers across the US,, the compilation also bridges the gap between new school, delivering 15 tracks of powerful, hard-hitting Hip Hop, that he can add to his collection and say is his own creation. We asked David some questions and here are his replies, talking passionately and proudly about about music and the dream compilation that is now a reality…..

You’ve been a super fan of music since the 80’s, tell us about your early memories of music growing up?

Well, I grew up listening to a lot of music from the 70s and 80s. My parents had a lot of records of artists such as the BeGees, Michael Jackson, and a wide variety of disco type music. I also listened to a lot of music whenever we were riding in the car and the two primary stations were KIIS FM (which played Pop music) and K-Earth 101 (which played oldie music) here in LA. After listening to some NWA music, which was recorded on a cassette, I started to get more intrigued by rap music.

What are you memories of going to Record shops or ”mom and pop stores”. Are there any record stores still fighting against the digital sales and streaming sites?

Man, I used to LOVE going to the music stores that were around here so that I could peruse the rap/hip-hop sections. We had stores like Music Plus, Sam Goody, Wherehouse, and Tower Records that I use to go to whenever I had the chance. I could literally spend hours going through the rap cassettes and looking for artist features as well as song titles. In the late 90s and early 2000s, it then switched to cds and there were even more of those to go through and I surely went through every single one. We also had swapmeets, or local indoor markets, that had music shops inside where you could find a lot of underground music.

The only big music store really left in the vicinity is Amoeba Music out in Hollywood. They have a very vast selection of all types of music, including a large section of rap/hip-hop music. Other than that, most have now been closed down.

What was the very first record or cd that you remember buying. Have you still got it to this day?

I love telling this story. My first rap cassette purchase was the Bloods and Crips Bangin on Wax album. I remember seeing some of the members from both sides come out on the Maury Povich talk show here in LA. They would play some of the lyrics whenever they would return from commercial and I said to myself that I had to get that tape. I didn’t really have much money, but I ended up winning about eleven dollars rolling dice with my friends. I then took the bus down to Music Plus, and I purchased the cassette. I do still have the cassette and it’s pretty worn down. The print on both sides is gone because I used to play it so much. I actually had to take a marker and write down which side was A and which side was B.

Who were your favourite artists growing up, and has that changed much up to now?

I would say that some of my favorite artists are NWA, Ice-T, Too Short, Spice-1, Geto Boys, and so many others affiliates. I would say that these artists and others will always remain some of my favorite because of the musical foundation that they set for me. The storytelling and struggle is something that I’ve always gravitated towards. This group of artists established a sort of credibility with me such that I always support their new work.

The Directors Cut attempts to bridge a gap between old school and new school. What are your thoughts on the new school compared to the originals?

That’s a sensitive subject to many. There are actually a lot of newer artists that I am a fan of and you can see them on my album. However, these are guys that are wicked in their rhymes and that create rhythmic patterns that I have to take multiple listens to in order to catch everything that’s being said. I feel that a lot of current music lacks any kind of substance. I enjoy when there is a story being told from verse one until the end of the song. Also, when an artist shares parts of their personal life in their music, it allows us as a listener to better connect with them. I find it almost eerie that I can turn to four different satellite radio rap/hip-hop stations and not be able to distinguish the difference between anybody on there. I have so many more feelings on this subject, but I don’t want to be negative so I’ll leave it at that.

How did you go about making this compilation happen in the beginning. And why the name?

I’ve always felt that I should be a part of the music industry in some capacity because it’s such a passion for me. I’m not a producer and I’m not an artist, but I thought to myself what if I put something together using some of my favorite artists interpretations of my song ideas/concepts.

I gave it the title the Directors Cut because I was not the artist or producer, but rather the person that guided all the pieces together for this masterpiece. I saw it as similar to a movie and I was one sitting in the director’s chair.

How did you manage to get some of the bigger names on The Directors Cut. And did you get to meet any artists you didn’t expect to?

I think that I was able to get a lot of artists on here because they could see my vision and what I was trying to accomplish. I often stated to them that the motivation behind this project was about my passion for this music and not driven by trying to make a profit. Also, I was very professional about how I conducted business. That goes a long way in the music industry. Once I dealt with someone and they could see that I was serious, they were more inclined to help me connect with other artists that I was looking to connect with. To be honest, I haven’t really meet too many artists on here in person recently, but I’ve seen quite a bit of them at shows in the past. I would like to be able to see everyone in person again or for the first time at some point, so that I may shake their hands and tell them thank you in person.

Did you work closely in the studio with C. Ray and Dikulz. And if so, have you any stories you can share?

Shot out to C. Ray and Dikulz. I was fortunate to be able to witness C.Ray work his magic in person earlier this year. I made the drive up to Las Vegas and we connected in person over a weekend. I learned a lot in a short amount of time in regards to how songs get mixed and how they all come together. There was a long mixing session and it was a pleasure to see these individual pieces get fused together. He is the consummate professional and we have similar work ethics, which is why I feel that we clicked so well together.

It actually happened to be C.Ray birthday week too, so we took a break from music and I took him out to eat at my favorite restaurant Benihanas. Dikulz is a master of his craft as well. I told him my idea for the artwork and he completely understood how I wanted it to look. When he first sent me the mock-up, I was blown away. It was a great look and he was able to incorporate a lot of my own music into the album cover. All of the music cds and cassettes that you see in the artwork are mine. There are so many other shots of my music collection that couldn’t be used because it’s only a 6 panel layout.

What is your personal favourite track off of The Directors Cut?

It sounds cliché to say that they’re all my favorite, but that’s what I’m going with. There are some beats on here that I just fell in love with right off the bat. Then, I got to hear artists flow over them and couldn’t believe how awesome they turned out. Other songs have artist combos that have never been seen before and that was not an accident. Lastly, some songs have a deeper connection to me because they are inspired by my son and others that I know in my life. So to sum it all up, they are all my favorite!

Are there any visuals lined up to be released from The Directors Cut. Is it something you are thinking about?

I really think that this music deserves visuals to really bring home the concepts. If it were up to me, I would have a video for every song on here but I really don’t have the financial backing or resources to pull it off. It was a huge investment to bring this project to life and every dime spent was out solely out of my pocket. I’d love to create at least one video at some point.

Do you plan to put together any more compilations in the future. If so, who would you like on it?

I’d love to do a part two. There are so many others that I would love to work with. However, I’m not sure if that’s really in the picture now. I have to try to make this album as successful as possible. I know that I have something special on my hands, but I need to get it to the masses. I know that there is an audience out there for this music and my job is to get it out there to them.

Would you like to ideally work in the music industry, or have you any ambitions outside of music?

It would be awesome to work in the music industry, but I’m not sure that it could be a full time job. Like most people, I have financial responsibilities and the music industry can be very challenging at times. I’m not sure that there is a steady income there for me, but I can always dream.

What are you looking forward to the rest of the year. Any goals you want to achieve in the next year?

My goal is to see this album do well. I have an idea in my head of what that may look like in terms of sales, but I truly don’t know what is going to happen. I’m hoping that all the artists on here will help me spread the word and get it to their fans. I think that some people will get the album because of a certain artist, but then they may be introduced to someone new that they can get behind.

I really have my work cut out for me. It requires a lot of effort to promote an album and it’s going to be difficult for me juggling this project with work, school, and family life. All I can hope is that people will listen to what I have to say and appreciate what took place here on this album.

Leave us with your list of top five musicians right now?

Tech N9ne

Add “The Directors Cut” Compilation to your collection too…..

Digital and hard copies are available to buy here:

Connect with David Parra:
Twitter: @dpgmarine // Instagram: @dpgmarine // Soundcloud: dpgmarine // Youtube: dpgmarine //




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