Ask any West Virginian who ever moved someplace else – even those who couldn’t get throughout the state line quick sufficient.
Or, those who needed to depart. Particularly those who needed to depart.
Ask them the place they’re from.
“Properly, I dwell right here,” they’ll say, “however I’m from West Virginia.”
Translation: They’re not simply from this place. They’re of this place.
The place with the funky, squiggly borders.
And the tenacious historical past.
And, its (typically) inferiority advanced offset by that fierce pleasure and love of place amongst its denizens.
Once you ask Dream! all of the above, be ready to settle in – for 4 minutes and 32 seconds.
Take a trip
Dream! is the stage title of Raheem Davis, a 28-year-old rap artist, mixed-martial arts fighter and entrepreneur who divides his time between his hometown of Morgantown and Los Angeles, the place 11:11 Data, the music label he co-founded, is predicated.
The aforementioned 4 minutes and 32 seconds is the runtime of the video selling his latest single, “Nation Roads,” an city tackle the Mountain State anthem related to John Denver.
“… I do know someplace we should always go
Windy lengthy excessive hills, mountaintops, mines and coal
It’s a good looking place the place the wild runs fantastic
I’m talkin’ ‘bout them nation roads
Lord is aware of I’m from the nation roads
Let’s take a trip on the nation roads …”
Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdRM5Pfu7xE to view the video.
Mountain State diaspora drives the tune, with the born-and-bred collaborators reaching in from New York to California, whereas embarking on a well-traveled swath of the 35th state within the Union.
Davis was on the highway in Santa Monica, Calif., on enterprise final week, when he talked concerning the tune and its mountain motivation in a phone interview.
“It’s robust being away from residence for Thanksgiving,” he mentioned.
Associated, his “Nation Roads” could be a new anthem of blessings for the Mountain State, he mentioned – as soon as the individuals who dwell on this place, and are of this place, can hear it.
“It’s a tune that highlights the expertise and pleasure of what it means to be from the wild and fantastic state of West Virginia,” he mentioned.
“It’s a tune that builds this place up.”
A nasty resolution – and what occurred subsequent
For years, although, West Virginia was a spot that knocked him down.
He was 5 years previous when his father was murdered, and was a younger man when his stepfather, a stabilizing power in his life, additionally died.
As a child, he was bullied relentlessly, which, partially, bought him into MMA combating, the place he’s now a whip-thin 6-footer who can lead together with his proper and his left.
An arrest from a home incident – for which he assumes full accountability – put him on the opposite facet of the correctional system for a time.
“I made a foul resolution,” he mentioned. “I’m a mannequin citizen now.”
Now he desires his tune to be about good choices.
He desires his tune to be an emotional and artistic mannequin for younger West Virginians, he mentioned.
Younger West Virginians of coloration, particularly, who usually really feel the twin sting of racism and prejudice towards a backdrop of tourism-spot, pastoral surroundings.
He was at all times writing issues down in a pocket book. Music lyrics, bits of dialogue he heard within the hallway.
Combine-tapes have been a part of his panorama, too, as he explored the beats that have been the heart beat of that muse that stored beckoning, at all times.
The child who would develop into the artist Dream! simply knew he needed to get it down, no matter it was.
The phrases got here first then, they usually nonetheless do.
Maintain your imaginative and prescient, creativity and work ethic, he mentioned, and you can also climb figurative mountains as you make your means.
“We’re all mountaineers,” he mentioned.
Shining on (with kindred spirits, Koda and proper map placement)
His “Nation Roads,” which is now out there throughout all main social media platforms, is each enjoyable and lyrical – a genre-buster that will get the geography proper, apart from.
No knock on the folks singer Denver, Dream!-Davis mentioned, however this model would possibly even go two highway journeys and a half-dozen pepperoni rolls previous the hippie-fueled authentic – which solely took within the slightest sliver of the Jap Panhandle, anyway.
His collaborators embrace Luke Wiseman of Farmington, Marion County, who is thought by his performing title of “LDJ,” and Colby Gallaher (“Colby G”), who was born in Morgantown and raised in Grafton.
Dream! and LDJ have enjoyable taking part in off each other within the video, which was shot and directed by Marco Toro, a Morgantown Excessive alum who graduated from movie faculty in Colorado and is now dwelling and dealing in New York Metropolis.
It didn’t take lengthy as soon as they discovered the proper beats, Davis mentioned.
“I simply began free-styling,” he mentioned, “and LDJ began name-checking all of the locations in West Virginia.”
The rhyming travelogue, specifically, contains mentions of Fairmont, Morgantown, Clarksburg, Interstate 70, Braxton County and extra, he mentioned.
“I’m gonna have to return and hear,” Davis mentioned, “so I can rely the references.”
Toro framed the video, which was shot in Morgantown and the Grafton space on literal nation roads, with heat, wealthy lighting and solid together with WCLG radio persona Chris Chaos and a four-legged charmer billed as, Koda, the Blind Canine.
“We wished to take one thing and switch it on its facet and nonetheless make it yours,” Davis mentioned.
“That is my tune nevertheless it’s actually your tune,” the artist continued.
“In West Virginia, we have to bind collectively and we have to assist each other. We’ve by no means actually gotten that shine.”