Dee Xclsv is best known at the contestant on Vuzu’s The Hustle who was booted off after he failed to deliver a verse in the battle round. What made for great television was when judge AKA said: “How come he has a verse and you don’t?” That comment has now become the rapper’s signature.
“You know, that day I was eliminated really wasn’t my day. I had failed a challenge earlier and I was not feeling myself.
So I already knew that seeing the judges was going to be difficult. In the battle round, they give you a pen and paper to write a verse to present.
"I had a verse, it was just not ready to be presented to the judges. It was a hard thing to go through when AKA said that and made such a big deal out of it, but I am very grateful he did because people know exactly who I am when I am performing. It’s somewhat of a signature because my single starts with the statement as well,” he said.
Born and raised in Rustenburg, the 21-year-old business management student always knew he wanted to pursue a career in music, but his parents never supported that dream.
“Both my parents are teachers, so from a young age, the importance of an academic education was drilled into me. But I grew up around music, so it was hard for me to ignore it.
"My father loved music and always played his music and I always knew all the words to the songs he played. After making it to the top 5 on The Hustle, my parents changed their minds and now they support my music,” he said.
The rising star said that it was the environment he grew up in that influenced his love for rap and hip hop. “I don’t think I was initially attracted to hip hop and rap because of the music at first, but rather because of the culture of the genre. Once that attracted me, I started listening to rap and fell in love,” he said.
Dee Xclsv. Picture: Instagram
Reflecting on his time on The Hustle, Dee Xclsv said that he only auditioned after a close friend insisted he go for it. “I auditioned for the first season and didn’t make it, so I was slightly bitter and told myself I wouldn’t go back. Then my friend basically forced me,” he said.
He said that it was it was a petrifying but rewarding experience. “I just learnt so much, it’s absolutely insane. It was really scary – to this day I still associate the smell of chlorine with fear because when we saw the judges, we had to walk past this pool and I always got that smell, which made me scared. As difficult as it was though, I enjoyed it – it was dope. I learnt to trust myself and my abilities and I also gained a lot of confidence.”
His work on The Hustle also impressed award-winning hip hop star Kwesta and the two recently released a single together, Flex Life.
“I met Kwesta while on the show and at the finale he actually shouted at me for not making it to the finals. At the finale I asked for his number and told him I had a song I wanted him to hear. At first I thought he was joking, but he gave me his number. I asked for a meeting and he agreed. We met in studio, I played him my song Flex Life and he jumped on it,” he said.
Dee shot the video for the single and said the message of the song is a celebratory one. “It’s really a toast to how far we have come in life, and I say ‘we’ because it applies to everyone. It’s about celebrating everything, whether it is a new job or a promotion. It’s about acknowledging your accomplishments,” he said.
He is currently working on his debut EP.