By Paige Walker
DopeDiv is an underground hip-hop trio based out of Detroit.“There is no plan B for me,” said Ahmad “Huey Freshman” Terrell, 23, a local rapper and member of DopeDiv. “Music is my life, it’s a part of living.”
The group explained the acronym behind its name, “The Dope in DopeDiv is an acronym,” Terrell said. “Defeating Other People’s Expectations,” The acronym came from the many people who doubted that the group would succeed.
The trio consists of brothers Terrell, Malik “Ali Keys” Terrell, 21, and their cousin Justin “Jru Nukem” Bunkley, 25. The group formed in 2009 and seven years later, its mission hasn’t changed; it plans to revitalize hip-hop for years to come to keep the ’90s alive.
The three men were born and raised in metro Detroit and are apart of a unique underground music scene.
“The fundamentals of hip hop is missing now,” Ahmad Terrell said. “It isn’t too much flavor left in hip hop, and that’s what we’re bringing back to the game.”
With a combination of underground hip-hop funk (think “A Tribe Called Quest”), sped-up soul and something they like to call their “playerish mentalities,” which is the trio’s smooth and easy going personalities, the group hopes it has a sound unlike any other. With the younger Terrell doing in-house production, the group writes and records its own music.
The trio chose the ’90s sound because it was the music that their parents listened to. “We’ve often been criticized for the style of our music, but we’re being who we are, and that’s what’s in our souls, so that’s what comes out,” said Bunkley.
The group recently hit a milestone when it was invited to perform with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, a rap group DopeDiv considers outstanding. The group has produced several albums and has been linked to record labels such as Warner Bros. and Interscope Records.
“We had the opportunity to work with legends,” said Bunkley, “and we got to get our sound out and that’s most definitely one of our biggest accomplishments.”
The group also recently celebrated the release of its 2nd official mixtape, “Office Hours.” The mixtape is available on Soundcloud along with other music the group has created. The group makes its money from doing shows all around Michigan.
The rappers all currently have day jobs, but the rest of their time is devoted to working on their music, and traveling around Michigan performing.
The younger Terrell had a couple words of advice for anyone trying to get into the music business: “Stay focused, do what you want to do. Don’t ever compromise who you are as an artist just to satisfy the status quo.”
Bunkley added this reflection: “The bad days come and sometimes I fantasize the thought of ‘What if?’ But right after I think like that, I find myself writing a freestyle or studying my favorite artist. Music is a part of who I am.”