It’s not everyday you meet an artist who’s so confident and sure in their purpose, and David S. Gray is just that. Aside from all the material things and accolades that come with being a recording artist in the urban space, the Mississippi-born, Atlanta & Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter has an unwavering desire to inspire and motivate — one banger at a time.
With his newest single titled “Leave The Trap,” David creates a relatable record for all those who hear it, detailing the grind, the come-up, the passion, and the relentless work ethic to never quit and follow your wildest dreams.
Describing himself as a cross between Jason Derulo and Justin Bieber, the rising star pushes the importance of entrepreneurship and doing whatever necessary to get to the bag.
AllHipHop: How’s your birthday during this pandemic?
David S. Gray: One of my best friends booked me a thing at the gun range, this famous guy is a Rambo shooter. He’s showing us how to shoot all different types of guns. We had brunch and shot, they surprised me with that.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to the moment you fell in love with music.
David S. Gray: I fell in love with music when I was 13 years old. Of course I was doing music with my dad when he was playing the trumpet when I was 6 or 7 years old. I didn’t even know what I was doing then but I fell in love with it and started doing it on my own at 13.
AllHipHop: Fast forward to today, what does music mean to you?
David S. Gray: Doing all genres of music and both sides, it’s really more about the message for me. Getting the message across to both genres: hip-hop and pop. I deliver messages. That’s what music means to me: the message.
AllHipHop: What’s the message that you’re trying to convey?
David S. Gray: In this song “Leave The Trap,” it’s a real big message. Whatever you’re doing in life whether you’re a promoter, you work in the kitchen, you’re a garbage truck driver, doesn’t matter whatever you do, keep on going until you own it. Keep on going until you work your wrist and reach the highest part in that job field. Don’t settle for being a registered nurse, go higher and higher. Own the facility or start your own nursing practice.
AllHipHop: What does the Trap mean for you?
David S. Gray: The trap is where a lot of hip-hop artists start at. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you could be working at McDonald’s and that’s your trap. Whatever you’re doing, you’re trappin. That’s your trap, you have to work it until you get enough money to invest in whatever you need to invest in.
AllHipHop: How would you describe “leaving the trap” to your fans?
David S. Gray: I’d describe “leaving the trap” as an anthem. I can see this song being an anthem, the Leave The Trap Challenge. Let’s see how many people do it. We have Doe B., Young Greatness the dude who sang that “Moolah” song, a lot of people are going back to the trap and getting killed by their own people. It’s hard to explain… you can describe it as leaving your comfort zone.
AllHipHop: What does “work the wrist” mean?
David S. Gray: Work the wrist means work it. If you’re flipping hamburgers, work your wrist. Whatever you’re doing, if you’re playing basketball, work your wrist until you get to the NBA.
AllHipHop: So it’s a physical thing?David S. Gray: Yeah it’s a physical thing. It’s going to go towards the trap guys, they’re going to do whatever they want to do with this song. They’ll say “oh yeah, worst your wrist.” Nah, this is about every job all across the world. Burger King, garbage truck driver, everything, work your wrist until you get out of there. Never give up, don’t stop. Keep on going.
AllHipHop: What part-time jobs did you have?
David S. Gray: I’m glad you asked that, I was a grill manager at 14 years old at McDonald’s. My supervisor was great, she let us do whatever we want to do. I was real good on the grill so she said “Dave you know what? I’ma make you grill manager.“
AllHipHop: At 14?
David S. Gray: Yeah at 14 because I was so good at teaching people how to do it the McDonald’s way. That was my part-time job. [laughs] A side job.
AllHipHop: That’s impressive, do you still eat McDonald’s?
David S. Gray: No, I haven’t eaten McDonald’s in 11 years. Crazy.
AllHipHop: When you were working there, did you have a go-to item?
David S. Gray: Oh yeah, my favorite was the McGriddles. I used to eat so many, I got in trouble. I used to save them from breakfast all the way until lunch. I used to put them up for lunch and eat them for lunch at 2pm, way before they were serving breakfast all day.
AllHipHop: Where did you record “Leave The Trap”?
David S. Gray: I recorded this song at Patchwerk Studio in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia. One of the biggest known studios in the South. Beyoncé, Usher, everyone did their first album there.
AllHipHop: What was the vibe?
David S. Gray: The vibe was amazing. I don’t really have people at my studio session. Because I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. I’ve never been drunk in my life, I’ve never done drugs, none of that. My sessions are real deal work. No breaks, it’s nonstop. The vibe is a David Gray vibe for sure. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Why are you so passionate about being a solid voice amongst your peers and community?
David S. Gray: If you look at my Instagram, that’s all I do: nothing but message and motivate young people to get their credit together. I ran across an artist the other day who asked me to invest in him, I heard his music and it wasn’t that good. I said “man you have to get back in the studio and work on your craft, first of all.” I want to uplift people like that. Everyone’s always looking for a handout: “invest in me, you got the Rolls Royce. You got jewelry, this and that.”
Man I worked for this, I got my craft together for this. Nobody handed me this game. I’m giving out free game: get yourself together and invest in yourself first. That’s what I’m trying to change for the youth, they always be begging. It’s the begging youth now, everybody bugging. We didn’t do that when we’re younger, we didn’t beg anybody. We got out there and worked, put something together. I want to change that. I want to get people more in tune with their credit and everyday life so they can put this stuff behind themselves, then worry about a label later on.
AllHipHop: You went from “Found Love” to ”Leave The Trap”, how do you jump genres like that?
David S. Gray: The genres have always been in me. That “Leave The Trap,” that urban side is where I come from. You can’t forget where you come from so that right there was already in me. The pop music is something I know how to do well, I know how to write those type songs real good. It’s more of a comfort level, then where I came from. I’m trying to let people know that me and Jason Derulo come from two different places. [laughs] I come from some crazy stuff, that’s why I can jump back and forth because I know that side, and I’m comfortable on that side. I also know the other side real good too.
AllHipHop: How did you “leave the trap”?
David S. Gray: I got my credit together. [laughs] I started off with a 420. I started getting these credit cards and paying them off. I got my first flip house and made a $60,000 profit off of it.
AllHipHop: Where was that house?
David S. Gray: It was in Atlanta, Georgia, an old abandoned house on the Eastside. I bought the house for $25K and I fixed it up, made a big profit off it. I kept on going and going, and here I am today: a very successful real estate guy, credit guy, businesses, etc. I started from scratch, I was sleeping in the car. I didn’t know what a Rolls Royce or a Bentley was, didn’t know any of that s###. What’s a Rolls Royce?! It’s a blessing to be able to get your dream car, work so hard, pay some stuff off and have a good credit. Credit’s very important.
AllHipHop: How many cars do you have?
David S. Gray: I have about 9 exotic cars.
AllHipHop: Do you have a driveway for 9 cars?
David S. Gray: Oh yeah, I have a driveway for the cars for sure. I love cars though. That’s where a lot of people get mixed up: “he spent all this…” No, I love cars. I’m very into cars. So every car that comes out, trust me I’m going to get it.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite car you own?
David S. Gray: My favorite is my Rolls Royce truck, it gets me from point A to point B smooth. It’s amazing, I love it. They really put their foot in this one. I don’t even drive my Wraith anymore, it sits in the garage. This truck is so durable, I still have the stars. I still have everything that’s in the Wraith. It’s big and is bulky, this is my favorite.
AllHipHop: Who is your top-five artist?
David S. Gray: Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran,Usher, Chris Brown, and The Weeknd. I like The Weeknd, he’s a good humble guy. I know people who dealt with him, they have nothing but amazing stories.
AllHipHop: What do you have coming top of the year?
David S. Gray: A lot of these labels are starting to come out, want to sit down and talk with us. That’s one main reason why I’m stirring up all this noise. I’m excited about that because there’s another milestone, another check off my list. Getting one of these labels involved and really calling one of these labels a home, I’m excited to work with whoever wants to work with me and give me the most money. [laughs] Because I already have my own money in. I’m excited about the movement getting stronger and touching more lives.