How did Eazy-E get his nickname? What about Dr. Dre or Ice Cube or any other master MC with a moniker? Chances are few of them got it as part of a misunderstanding at high school.
“The name Kulprit D came from when I was walking through my old high school band room one day, and people were looking for me ... and everyone was saying ‘Where is he, where is he?’ I walked through the door and they go, ‘There’s the culprit right there!’” said D, real name Dakoda Rollins. “It just kind of stuck, so I kept it.”
While he may be more straight outta high school than straight outta Compton, the rapper has gained notoriety over the past two years for songs like “George Jefferson” and “WhoIAmI.” These songs appear with many others on his new album, a free mixtape titled SWAG: Stay Working at Greatness.
Rollins has been pleased with the enthusiastic response.
“A lot of people tell me I have great delivery, I have a good voice for rap,” he said. “I’m very happy that people have been responding to it so well.”
Like many white rappers, he has faced his fair share of criticism, but he said he believes that hip-hop is an art form for everybody.
“I hear it a lot, and it always bugs me when people say ‘white rapper.’ You can’t see music in terms of color. That is a big holdback, because that makes people want to shut you out and not listen to you,” Rollins said.
“It makes me want to put more stuff on the Internet and pitch to more radio stations so that then they’ll hear it and say, ‘Oh, wow, you really do rap!’ It’s all about breaking down those barriers and getting people to listen first.”
He moved to Oklahoma in his third year of high school, giving him certain youthful perspectives often reflected in his music.
“I had a lot of those high school experiences you’re supposed to have, like prom. Those experiences helped me put the pen to paper,” Rollins said. “Coming of age in Oklahoma’s been really great for my music. I don’t think that I would have the same lyrical content or the same messages that I want to deliver had I not moved here.”
Those Oklahoma experiences and values inspired his mixtape’s title.
“Stay Working at Greatness means to strive to be all you can be, reach your full potential, be humble, be kind to others and stay true to yourself,” he said. “This is my life right now. There’s nothing fake here.”