The Ypsilanti community is about to be awakened for a real treat as one of its resident lyricists Darien Vaughn is gearing up to release his new project “Napoleon Complex” due Feb. 15.
With three projects already released through Soundcloud, Vaughn feels that this is his first real album, given the fact that he’s the first artist signed to a brand new label Multitude Records.
“We going a little bit outside the box because ‘Napoleon Complex’ is a different attitude from the other albums,” Vaughn said. “It’s really trying to make good music, trying to put out a dope project. It’s my first real album.”
As a student of hip-hop, Vaughn always knew he wanted to rap at an early age since his father is a historian of the genre. With legendary influences such as Rakim, KRS-One, Jay Z and Tech N9ne, you can tell his music will stem from the original brand of hip-hop.
“When you think about how I approach my music, it’s very Napoleon complex-ish,” Vaughn said. “I’m a short dude -- I don’t really mess with mainstream because too many people like it, like bandwagon, and it’s corny. We mad aggressive, very bitter towards the music industry. We really want to do this our own way. It’s Multitude, D. Vaughn the Illest, T.R.I.B.E regime. We’re all going this way.”
Vaughn is most known for singles like “It’s D. Vaughn,” “Thoughts” and “Think Tw2ce,” which in these tracks, he is positioning himself as a lyrical threat to rap in general. He performs these selections often because they’re a great visual introduction to how he gets the crowd pumped and how aggressive his lyrics are. When you hear Vaughn at a live show, you’re more likely to throw your hands in the air and nod your head heavily to the thought provoking beats.
Although Vaughn currently lives in Ypsilanti, his hometown is the “Fly City” of Flint, Michigan. He holds Flint very dear to his character, despite the negative stigmas around it, and he’s very defensive for his hometown through his music. Flint has strengthened him into the artist he is today and the influence will push much further beyond music.
“I take Flint very seriously,” Vaughn said. “I’ve seen people fall into a deep, dark abyss, and I’ve seen people fall into the same statistic that Flint kids have. When I come back to Flint, I’ll be able to make something better out of it. I’ll be able to fix it. Bro, if you make it big and make something out of yourself, why not help your community? Why not help the place that literally made you?”
Many Eastern students and Ypsilanti locals who heard Vaughn’s music are familiar with the latent aggression in his rhymes along with his feelings toward “mumble” rappers. His current disdain with how hip-hop is today lies in the current trends of minimal vocabulary sharpness, drenched use of auto-tune and glorifying unique drugs with criminality. This new generation of trends creates hunger for Vaughn to get his audience to feel what hip-hop is about.
“All that skinny jean rap, performing over your tracks, them tattoos on your face and oversaturated with base,” Vaughn said. “Mumble raps beats be extra, and they’re super annoying. This is original brand of hip-hop original as in when the blueprint of hip-hop was set. This is how it’s supposed to be done: dope beats, dope rhymes and a nice hook.”
Vaughn’s new album is coming with authentic energy and raw talent that’s meant to shake up the community and local airwaves. He offered a preview listening session in to what “Napoleon Complex” will entail with serious subjects such as being an underground artist, a heartfelt tribute to a dear friend and delivering “Ruthless Aggression” through poetic expression. Abstract topics are included that are meant to shock the listeners through close listening.
The year of 2019 should be a positive bridge for D. Vaughn The Illest to cross as he’s showcasing his new “Napoleon Complex” attitude for the traditional hip-hop heads. Expect Vaughn to perform around Eastern Michigan, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor venues. This new album offers a whole new insight into who “The Ill One” is.
“‘The Ill One’ is my don’t give a care spirit,” Vaughn said. “Like, when I said ‘messing with me is like driving with Paul Walker,’ that’s ‘The Ill One’ talking. I will literally say whatever and whenever I want to.”
Stay up to date with Darien Vaughn through his Soundcloud, Instagram @theillone_ and Facebook.