T Dubb-O is a Hip Hop artist out of St. Louis, Missouri signed to the Delmar Records Label. A one time dealer and current gang member the events of August 9th transformed what some may view as a street thug into a leader in the new school of Social Activist. This new path would take him everywhere even to the White House. I do not know anyone that has met the President of the United States let alone have a sit down with him in the Oval office, but when I tell you that T-Dubb-O has done just that, you may think he would have been happy to have that distinction and you would be wrong. I will tell you more about that later. Aside from his former occupation and current affiliations, T Dubb O has another position. Dubb as his friends call him is now a Director for Hands Up United- a grass roots organization building towards liberation of oppressed Black, Brown and Poor people through education, art, civil disobedience, advocacy and agriculture. It was this work which compelled me to know more about Dubb. The melding of the two personalities that intrigued me most about him. I have heard past projects, seen him perform at Slumfest shows, have had his name brought up to me by influencers like Adam Murphy of Midwest Mixtapes, and even shot pictures of him; but to see activism ignite in someone of his background made me very curious. I never questioned if it was genuine or not, I knew better. I wanted to understand the depth and intelligence of the man. I wanted to know the purpose of his actions so I called up label president Finsta and asked for an interview.
“Everything from music to my personal life has changed in a drastic way, it still takes some getting used to but we are going to continue to do what we are doing”, he tells me and what they are doing among other things is bringing the community together. Through programs like the Tech program with the Roy Clay Sr. Tech Institute. HUU provides 21st century skills to persons in Ferguson and the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. Each month they also host a Books and Breakfast event which gives away free books to attendees and discuss topics or themes. I attended a session with my own kids that covered the birth of Hip Hop and its current place and influence in society. Both the Tech Program and Books and Breakfast events are well attended and supported by the community but this is only a portion of what HUU does.
Dubb and others have traveled the world now helping to organize and protest oppression and class warfare. Dubb says, “It’s well overdue just seeing the community involvement in this type of fight. People are starting to open their eyes and wake up to no longer accept what the system decides to place in route for them as their fate and to take their destiny into their own hands. It’s beautiful”. Dubb describes the work of HUU as a more radical or revolutionary in fact, “This is not yo mama’s Civil Rights movement,” may have come from this group. He tells me that locally the support from other agencies or organizations has not been there and essentially for security reasons interaction with them is not sought out. Their work is also on the national and international level they have marched alongside protestors in Mexico for the Ayotzinapa 43, the 43 college students murdered for protesting a local Mayor’s spouse as well as Get out the Vote campaigns and more. All of this work is being done by kids essentially; persons who woke up one very hot summer day on August 9th,August 10, and the days that followed became something more.
On January 15th all will be able to bear witness to T Dubb O’s latest musical release, The Drop that Spilled the Cup. In the late summer of 2015 he released the 1st single from the project, “State of Emergency” in response to the SOE called by Gov. Nixon after the unrest during the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. The track and lyrics are equally jarring as Dubb recounts many other emergencies that the Governor and even President Obama should be more aware of and apply policy towards. I am certain that each song on the album will follow suit. Speaking of President Obama and the Oval office meeting; it came about as Presidential staff person Ashley Allison heard from Dubb, accounts of what happened to him and others in Ferguson in their encounters with militarized police. Obama’s office reached out to meet and Dubb accepted, in part because he knew no one else could tell the story but also as he put it, “The last gangster to probably be in the White House was Eazy E.” He went on to say that overall the meeting was a disappointment. He felt it was a chess move on Obama’s part to say that he met with Ferguson protestors. “The only thing I really remember is I could see the fear in the President’s eyes. He told me that he was proud of us. He knows that there is a problem in this country. I just don’t understand why he just won’t stand up and do as he needs to do as a black man…his taskforce has done nothing to stop the police from killing people, done nothing to stop the system from oppressing people and since that meeting 11 other people here in St. Louis have been killed by police officers, so yeah, it was just a meeting.” It is this type of radical thought and honesty that inhabits Dubb and is seen not only in action but now his artistry.
Follow T Dubb-O on Instagram: @T Dubb-O