Photo by Andrew Lessard Photography
Every year we’re always astounded by how many new artists we stumble across here in the nation’s capital. Sometimes they’re brand new, and sometimes they’ve been around for a while and we just hadn’t heard of them yet. One of the artists that raised our eyebrows in 2015 was Andre Thibault, known by his former stage name KING to those in the hip hop community since late 2013. Not only is Andre an incredible solo MC that is technically on-point, he’s also able to raise the bar about as high as it can go with respect to local hip hop when it comes to stage energy. Whether by himself or collabing with others (such as Crookid Bass, his project with another astounding rapper in town, Yusso), 2015 was the year Andre Thibault seemed to make all things happen and love every minute of it.
However, today he released the new video for “Death of a Tyrant,” and it’s not just any new video for him. It marks the end of KING and the beginning of his new alias DRAE. I posed a few questions to Andre about the change, and what it means for him as an artist. Check out the video below.
Don’t miss DRAE live as he has some huge shows coming up in the new year opening for Mad Child (Swollen Members) at Babylon on Jan. 21 as well as Troy Ave’s White Christmas Canadian Tour at Ritual Nightclub on Jan. 29.
When we shot the video, the goal/concept was to portray a growing-up of sorts, a maturation. KING is a very overused term in music, particularly in hip-hop. It felt a little egotistical and boastful, which, despite the cocky nature of most hip-hop music (including my own at times), is not me. I’m a very down to earth person, and like to be authentic and organic with my music. A lot of people have called me “Dre” for some time now, so the name association of DRAE was already there. It also makes it easier to find me online. Rather than googling KING and finding every monarch under the sun, it’s now a unique name .
With the name change comes a more consistent and defined sound/direction for my music. I have a full length project in the works, with the aim being a spring 2016 release. I’ve aimed to include all of my capabilities musically (guitar playing, singing, rapping, various genres production-wise), so it wont be conventional hip-hop, but rather a very unique sound. There’s also a lot of work going on behind the scenes from a branding/merchandising perspective, so the business end of things will be more focused and present as well. Music videos for multiple singles, lots of shows… 2016 is going to be an active year for DRAE. Another point with regards to the video: the whole changing from a sweatshirt and tee shirt to a suit is symbolizing taking my craft and my career seriously, and treating this as a business