de'wayne jackson don't be afraid

From Houston to Los Angeles, De’Wayne Jackson has seen plenty. Hear his Don’t Be Afraid EP now.

De’Wayne Jackson is of the belief that one is not destined to stay in one place. In a conversation with Interview, the Houston rapper revealed that his parents had strict goals set out for him, degrees and one job that would have him set for life. He relented and refused. Born on the day of the greatest Screwed Up Click freestyle ever, Jackson knew the world around him in Spring was isolated, incubated even. There was far more room to mess up and have someone apply bandages to your wounds. Living in Los Angeles, there’s no one.

Jackson worked two jobs between hauling paint at Sherwin-Williams and giving out food at Taco Bell while supporting music. He slept on an air mattress that wouldn’t inflate after a few months. Life, for the first time in his life got truly hard. And on Don’t Be Afraid, his brand new EP out Friday, all of that comes out. Finding depth in his music, his creativity led to the angst and catechizing of his own head. From the chasing of doubt of “Watchin'” to discussing lost love on “Truth Is,” Jackson inhales and exhales all of his LA worries and anxiety through the music. He’s a man now, even if his growth there came in an unorthodox way. LA woke him up.

“I was in the middle of Hollywood, so L.A. inspired me to tell these stories that I’m telling,” Jackson said. “But also, that I need to write about the way I’m living and what I deal with in my daily life.”

Dancing along traces of rock, hip-hop and R&B, the EP is a testament to finding your voice. Stream Don’t Be Afraid below.