Dave Wander appears to be like any other student here at the University of Miami. At first glance one sees a typical sophomore focusing on business management, music business and the entertainment industry. However, Wander already has extensive experience in the artistic and business aspects of music. Wander, a.k.a. DRK, is pursuing a career in hip-hop and has quite a story to tell. You may not have heard his music, but you have probably seen him in the Breezeway distributing his flyers between classes. DRK’s story is one filled with successes and failures and a plethora of hard work, but these experiences push him further and provide a source of new material.
DRK’s lyrics are largely based on events that have affected his past and situations that are altering the person he is becoming. His inspiration comes from obstacles he has overcome, his relationships and circumstances in his past that “some would be petrified to be in.” He is proud of that fact that everything he relates in his songs comes from a real life experience, increasing the reality and sincerity of his lyrics. He thinks of his work as hip-hop, rather than rap, and feels his lyrics are more meaningful than the typical rap hit of the day. Like any other artist, DRK writes to express himself, and at an early age he found his niche in hip-hop.
Only 19, DRK has a very broad background in hip-hop and other music genres. It all started with a DJ set he acquired when he was 12, and from there he developed his musical abilities. He started to DJ for parties and then joined up with a nu-metal band. For this band he would begin rapping and decided he wanted to branch out on his own and thus he became DRK (Don’t Really Know). He began recording in a friend’s basement while saving money to record in a studio, and his first break came at 16 when his underground single earned him enough recognition to be signed with an independent Australian record label, and then shortly after he signed with Rugget Records but left after two years due to problems with the label. At this point, his career took a much different direction when he decided to do things his own way.
DRK started his own label, Only Option Records, and has debuted his album Cathartic Resume, which is in stores now. Through this new endeavor he gained a lot of experience in the business aspect of producing and owning a record label. He now has a handful or artists on his label and is working on various mix tapes and records for 2006 with artists such as Adonis, Des Shawn’a and Phobia. Adonis’s mixtape is coming this summer and Des Shawn’a’s reality TV show will be coming soon. DRK is also collaborating with Sentence and other artists to produce an album together. DRK has been performing since the beginning, going back to days when he would perform in the ghetto in various bars and venues. More recently he has done some memorable gigs in front of hundreds of people. Just last spring DRK opened for Lil Wayne at Spring Bling on Key Biscayne. DRK has accomplished a great deal and with such a great work ethic there is no reason he cannot take himself and his label to another level.
From owning his own label, to promoting his album, to collaborating with other artists, DRK has immersed himself in the music business. He expects big things for 2006 and he can be seen in this month’s issue of URB Magazine and can be heard on WVUM next Tuesday. He says he feels he is “doing pretty well for a white suburban guy,” and most would probably agree.
To find out more about DRK and Only Option Records, check out www.onlyoptionrecords.com.
Matt Stanley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.