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DY Na$ty, New Age Rapper with a Positive Message

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNCW chapter.

Name: Derek Yusiewicz

Age: 21

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Year: Senior

Major: Film Studies

Campus Involvement: Eco Club, Screenwriters Club, Flicker Film Society, and Former member of the High Seas, UNCW’s men’s A Cappella group.

Pronounced (D-Y-nasty)



At 22,516 views, “Hieroglyphs”, a remix of Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies”, is DY Na$ty’s most viewed video.

When he’s not skateboarding, Instagramming, or snapping photos with his Canon T3i, you can find DY Na$ty working as a DJ, or developing his legacy as an artist of a relatively never-before-seen genre, New Age Rap. Listeners may compare him to Mike Posner or Mac Miller, but he doesn’t mind; however, he would rather not “be compared to the stereotypical white boy preppy rapper,”since his style is completely different than most artists’. Read on to find out how DY Na$ty is making waves in the Port City as an up-and-coming New Age Rapper.

HC: What’s the story behind your name?

 My friends and I were free-styling in the car back in high school. It was more of a comedic thing at first, just messing around. My friends were like, ‘Yo, Derek Yusiewicz, that’s D.Y.!’ and then I was like ‘Yeah, DY Na$ty, like I’m a dynasty,’ So that’s how the name got started.

HC: When did you realize your rap talent?

I grew up always singing, and then I got into making a couple of rap songs just for fun. I released two mixtapes in high school. Freshman year of college, I made a mixtape, but knew I could do better. So, sophomore year I started taking it seriously. I realized I wanted to live life to the fullest, so that’s why I started to take my music seriously. I knew I could make something out of this. So, the second half of sophomore year, I got really into rapping and it mainly had to do with music I was listening to at the time.  When Kendrick Lamar first started coming out with his crew Black Hippy and Ab-Soul, that’s when I started getting really into rap music. At the same time, other people were blowing up like Yelawolf, I met him at a concert on a smoking patio and chilled with him. Yelawolf told me that I should pursue this and said, “it’s not as hard as you think it is, as long as you’re around the right people.” That’s kind of how I got influenced. I went to a bunch of shows, like Immortal Technique, Chiddy Bang, Jedi Mind Tricks, and it made me realize, I want to be on that stage.

HC: You recently performed with Exmag and others at Ziggy’s by the Sea in downtown Wilmington. Was that your first opportunity to perform at Ziggy’s?

That was my first performance at Ziggy’s.  I opened before Ancient Lakes, Rims & Keys, and Exmag. Actually, when I was setting up, me and Exmag were the only people there early, so they showed me all of their equipment and played some stuff for me. They gave me all of their contact info, so that was cool to see people a little bit older than me and know how to market and promote themselves.

DY Na$ty notes the performance at Ziggy’s as a valuable networking opportunity, and says he is now connected with local promoters and DJs.

HC: Where can we expect to see you next?

 Potentially, I’ll be DJ-ing upcoming shows at Ziggy’s then headlining there in December. I want to do as many performances as possible, like the open mics and rap battles.

DY Na$ty plans to have upcoming local shows, but is also busy and focused on finishing school.

HC: Who and what do you consider as influences on your life? Do you have any role models?

 I consider Immortal Technique a role model because he’s a consciously aware hip hop artist. He was the first person that made me realize there’s a lot of corrupt governmental figures who try to keep everyone down and less creative, less into the arts. People like him influence me as well as spiritual thinkers that I’d read about. Also, I meditate a lot, about 20-30 minutes every day. I’ll listen to binaural beats when I sleep and have experimented with going to a Buddhist temple. Another major influence in my life is my parents, ‘cause they’ve always been behind me and had my back.

DY Na$ty thanks his parents for getting him involved with music at an early age by encouraging him to participate in Honors Chorus and All-State Chorus during his middle school years.

HC: Do you have a favorite artist?

 My favorite artist, well Immortal Technique is one, but if I had to say my favorite, in terms of rap music, it’s Ab-Soul He’s affiliated with Kendrick Lamar. He had this whole movement over the last year or two about third-eye open rap. He’ll reference different things, he’s New Age and his music is all about higher consciousness and a lot of it has to do with psychedelic drugs.

HC: What can you tell us about the genre of New Age rap?

 There’s a more psychedelic genre of rap coming out that’s less street, or gangster. It’s less violent. In the past, rap has been focused on violence, hustling on the streets, and selling drugs. It’s a new higher consciousness era of rap that’s never been seen before.

HC: How are front runners in this genre affecting your music?

 The whole movement from Brooklyn right now is really influencing me, because they’re all about more spiritual rap. It’s more about positive things, and using your light positively and using your abilities in a positive way. Most of them [from Brooklyn] are kids from like, the block, and instead of them choosing to rap about how to steal and promote drug use, or guns, they’re more about meditative things, like using herbs as a gateway to pass into different realms.

HC: Who from this movement is most influencing you?

 Pro Era, which was co-founded by Joey Bada$$ and The Underachievers. They’re all about gold soul theory and a lot of it has to do with the 5 percenters in New York. They’re very anti-government rap.

HC: What is your message and what topics do you focus on?

 Each mixtape I’ve made has a totally different feel. When I first started rapping it was more dark, more like Kid Cudi type of feel. Then, I started doing more political rap, but then I realized not a lot of people wanted to listen to my version of the world, and my rants. Once I got into college, I started making more turn up, party music, then I would mix in these cloud rap type beats. When my fans listen to my music I want them to feel elevated, or enlightened. I don’t want them to feel ranted to. I like producing motivational stuff. My new mixtape is more in tune with my soul and my desires. It’s blended together with the party life music but then I’ll reflect on it. It sheds light on my sober self, and then, my other self.

DY Na$ty says his new mixtape is mostly about relationships and emotions that he’s recently experienced.


HC: You were featured on the website CollegeofMusic.com, tell us about that.

 I got featured with my music video I made with J.O. [Jordan Bailey] for our hit song Pokemon Blue. It’s cool because College of Music is where some major artists were first found, like Macklemore and G-Eazy. They don’t feature, like, nobodies, so it was kind of a big deal for me.

DY Na$ty AND J.O. won UNCW’S Battle of the Bands last year.


HC: Who produces your music videos?

I have a couple of friends who help me do the filming, but I pretty much do everything myself like the editing, production, and promotion.


HC: What are your goals as an artist?

I’m not doing any of this for money, or fame, I’m just doing it ‘cause I love it. If I ever were to make it big, I wouldn’t forge about the people who had my back from the beginning. I think the biggest thing that inspires me to keep making music is that, well since this year, people just come up to me like, at parties or at the bar, and recognize me for my music. I don’t consider myself that big. The reason I keep pursuing it and doing it is that most people don’t have the opportunity to do something like this, so I cherish it. I feel like I have a better chance doing the music thing than trying to go to Hollywood with my film degree.

For now, DY Na$ty is satisfied with where he is as an artist. He says that after graduation, he will seek a manager or agent.

HC: What’s your advice for someone at UNCW who wants to get into performing?

It’s all about confidence and going up to people that are already doing it like if you see a DJ or another person performing. Go to local shows, even if you’re going by yourself. That’s really important. A lot of the connections I’ve made were just by me getting myself out the door and going up and talking to people. Honestly, I go out a lot, but it’s not about partying every night or getting drunk.  I go out to bars during the week simply because I make connections.


HC: Hip-hop and rap are commonly associated with clothing brands. Do you have a favorite brand or style?

  I love fashion. I used to not care at all about clothes. I would put on a dirty pair of shorts or t-shirt every day. But over the past year or two, I got super into hip, almost urban clothing. My favorite places are DTLR (Downtown Locker Room), Basix, Authentiks, Lids, all that good s—t. Pac Sun’s tight too. Bucket hats are makin’ it back. A lot of that has to do with Schoolboy Q. reppin’ it.”


HC: Out of curiosity, what is your opinion of Riff Raff, a.k.a. Jody Highroller?

Oh, I love Riff Raff. He’s a clown, but he’s totally trolling. I actually like that kind of rap. ‘Pokemon Blue’ by J.O. and I is a mix between comedy rap and conscious rap. I feel some type of way about him being famous, cause I don’t think he really deserves it, but at the same time, I don’t mind it, I think he’s funny and he’s not overly full of himself. I really like his ‘Deion Sandals on my Toes.’

Connect with DY Na$ty on… Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation, Instagram

Sierra is a Communication Studies major, and finally a senior! In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is the Lifestyles Editor for UNCW's student newspaper, The Seahawk. She is the Social Media Chair for the university's Style and Modeling Company (STYMO). In her free time, you can most likely find her catching a concert at Ziggy's by the Sea in downtown Wilmington.