Back in 1995 a 17-year-old MC took to the hip-hop scene in the UK. Armed only with a few demos and oblivious of how to prosper in the music industry, little did he know he would end up being one of the few pioneers of hip hop in the UK. Funky DL started earning props when his music received regular air play on stations such as Kiss FM, Choice FM and Radio one by the likes of veteran Jockeys such as DJ 279, Max LX and Dave VJ and Tim Westwood.
In 1996 Funky DL went on to win the well known Fosters Ice Breakers competition and released his first record The Individual, this consequently led to DL being firstly offered a two single deal with Almost records which developed further into an album deal with Almo Sounds and a publishing deal with Rondor Music. Equipped with unlimited studio access, DL set about crafting his debut album “Classic was the day”. The album was released in the late summer of 1997 and was widely received by the UK’s hip hop fraternity and veered DL on to win a MOBO award for the best hip hop act of 1997.
In the same year Funky DL went on to remix records for artists such as Missy Elliot, Keith Sweat, Adina Howard and Connor Reeves as well as going on to spearhead “The London All-stars” project (a collaboration of London’s finest rappers) including MCD, Blak Twang, TY, Skinnyman, ESP, Kwestmann, Q-Tee, Phoebe One, Fallacy and Rodney P. This was a unique one of a kind release and stunned the scene, as no record had ever before been released with such a high profiled caliber of MC's from the UK. In 1998 DL signed to an independent label “Utmost Records” and released his sophomore album “Heartfelt Integrity”. Another MOBO nomination was presented which reflected DL’s consistency and helped him to further cement his name and efforts in the scene.
Funky DL went on to tour Australia, France and Israel, the latter being an unusual destination for rappers but was overwhelmingly received, returning to London to support the likes of The Roots, KC and Jojo, Ras Kas, Killah Priest and stole the show in front of 3000 people at the Hippodrome Leicester Square from an early Destiny's Child at the Choice FM 8th Birthday Party. After a very rewarding year, DL left Utmost Records to run his own label Washington Classics and in 1999 Washington Classics released numerous Funky DL records including the 12-inch “Stoppin and Startin” which surprised many of DL’s critics because of the amazingly tight lyricism. DL released his third album “One Another” (a first for any rapper in the UK) which led to yet another MOBO nomination and propelled him to even greater heights, touring in Japan where his music was being so widely received.
Single-handed, Funky DL had earned himself the title of “the hardest working man in hip-hop”, now synonymous with his name. Another successful year saw DL support the superstar “Eminem” for his UK tour and was recalled in early 2000 to join Eminem and Dr Dre in the Brixton Academy. 2000 also saw DL do his second tour of Japan and also fly out to New York to work with the rapper Miilkbone and also feature on Bobbito Garcia’s radio show along side N’Dea Davenport and hip hop heavyweight producer Easy Mo Bee...
Funky DL’s fourth album “When Love Is Breaking Down” was released which led to DL’s return to Japan for its promotion, Touching down at the infamous Club Harlem Shibuya Tokyo and making several public appearances in HMV stores in Tokyo and Yokohama for signing and performing tracks in store live. DL spent the next few years expanding his name in Japan by licensing many albums to established labels and touring extensively in many cities across Japan such as, Tokyo, Osaka, Mito, Hamamatsu, Wakayama, Utsunomiya, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Sapporo, Gifu, Nagoya, Okayama, Yokohama and Akita. DL also used this period to write, produce for and record with his R&B outfit “Thursdays Love”. The Debut Thursdays Love album “For the Love of Jazz and Thursdays” was so well received in Japan it was re-released after being licensed by a major Label in Japan.
This led DL to go on to produce “Life When You’re Driving” a yet to be released album by R&B vocalist “Dyanna Fearon” featuring the incredible talents of “Xantonè Blacq” (Keyboardist for Amy Winehouse). Funky DL then went on to New York to produce for an up and coming rapper from Far Rockaway Queens named “Sekz” and featured with Sekz on The Showbiz and A.G single “The Street”. DL released his 5th and 6th albums “Blackcurrent Jazz” and “The Classic Fantasy” (The most vivid and vibrant Funky DL albums yet) which have been so widely received in Japan making DL one of the UK’s most unique international artists to date as no other UK hip-hop act has been able to equal Funky DL’s achievements from then till now..
In 2005 the album “Street Love” which the UK smash “Little Mike” is taken from, was a special limited release, meanwhile the album “Since 77” saw seen its Japanese release to co-inside with DL’s five date summer tour of Japan as well as the launch of the funkydl.com and washingtonclassics.com website as DL started to prepare idea’s for what was to be the now evident “4th Quarter Album”. A Funky DL Greatest Hits Album was released in Japan in 2006 marking DL’s many accomplishments and was well received followed by a Latin styled release of old titles re-recorded and remixed with fresh visions.
DL then took the fork in the road in late 2006 and once again decided to do something different by flying out to New York to clear his head and write what was to be “Street Swagger”. A 24 track promotional CD which was to be a completely free release for 2007 to celebrate 10 years since the birth of Washington Classics and also a decade since his first album emerged. The Washington Classics Street Team went out in the streets of London to circulate 10,000 CD’s in the capital at no charge as well as making 10,000 downloads available from the website again for no cost to the consumer and this promotion proved as an invaluable asset to DL’s whole outfit. DL then intensively worked to complete the album “The 4th Quarter” which he has himself remarked as one of his “greatest moments in his career creatively” as it embodies the 4 elements and styles which he specializes in. The album is segmented into 4 areas which represent soul, new age, jazz and authenticity and was a listening experience which intrigued even the most subtle of hip-hop heads there are.
In Early 2008 DL recorded a unique album entitled “The Jazz That Was Forgotten” which was to be an album that concentrated on 10 musical instruments heavily used in Jazz where each track on the album was a representation of that instrument with the said instrument providing the prominent melody or break within the track. This album along with a best of album was released in Japan in September of 2008 and was met with great responses from hip-hop fans who appreciate the connoisseurship element to real music. In the meantime Funky DL co-wrote and produced an album entitled “Imagine Me” for UK sensation “Lei-an” and with the business experience he had picked up over the years, was the key player behind the project management of this release in November 2008. The productivity didn’t stop there as DL went back into the studio to produce the album “The Interview” released on BBE Records in 2009. The album concept structured as a radio interview with radio personality Dave VJ, where in between the tracks VJ asks DL a question and the very last words of DL’s answers are the titles of the proceeding track which often go on to elaborate on DL’s answer(s). The album was created to give the listener much more than just an album but an insight to DL’s thoughts, feelings and views on various music related topics as DL was aware that all the fans of his music are not always able to catch him on the radio and this serves as a highly interesting listen.
As a producer, DL was requested to submit some music for the famous MTV show “Runs House” and his contributions were aired in the final episode of season two “Baby Comes Home”. As no stranger to the studio DL started to work on a soulful dance music project with production collective “Gemini Infinity” and set about to craft the brilliant album “LOVECHASEDREAM” which was immediately signed by a Japanese Record label and subsequently released in September of 2009. The project featured the creative talents of some of DL’s most favored collaborates including Xantonè Blacq, Giorgio Serci, Sienna, Dukus Alemay and Lei-an. Again DL went straight back in the studio to produce “The Comfort Zone”, a new album by UK hip-hop artist “Pyrelli” completely and solely produced by DL himself. This is the first “hip-hop” album Funky DL has ever produced for another MC and features a wider variation of his production styles than usual. At the same time DL produced a few track for “Little Brown Girl”, an up and coming R&B vocalist from East London as well as a few production credits for UK hip-hop sensation “Klashnekoff” for his forthcoming mix-tapes project.
DL then embarked on his first tour opportunity in Europe playing at “Banana Split” in Cologne, Germany in front of an audience at capacity and also The Merrker in Baden, Switzerland with surrounding European countries to follow. Washington Classics then set up the release of “Funky DL / The Ultimate Collection”, a 36 track double CD encompassing the most favourable musical moments from DL’s entire history as a recording artist. DL took a little twist in the road in January 2010 and recorded “Back To Frank”, an amazingly interesting conceptual album in which DL sampled moments from Grammy Award Winning artist “Amy Winehouse” and her debut album “Frank” and recreated and reprogrammed these samples into a whole hip-hop album which was promoted as FREE online download to which the masses scooped up immediately with over 180,000 downloads to date. In June 2010 DL then followed with “Back To Rap” the sequel to “Back To Frank”, where he took on the creative sampling techniques lifting from Amy Winehouse's “Back To Black” album and again released this as a FREE online download, but this time including features from various UK urban acts such as “Pyrelli”, “MCD” and “Addictive” but to name a few. Also in 2010 funky DL released of his next studio album entitled “A Classic Example of a… and did a 3 date tour in Japan in August performing in Tokyo and Osaka. On top of this Funky DL has recorded with Japanese Producers Melodiverse and CM Smooth, featuring their production as well as his own for his 2011 album “Blackcurrent Jazz 2” which he himself remarks as “one of my best albums if not the..”
Blackcurrent Jazz 2 was an instant success with rave reviews of the genuine creativity and polish that brings the album together in such a refined and mature way. Funky DL also released a 4 album instrumental series entitled "Cool Classic Jazzstrumentals" which encompasses some of the smoothest beats from his catalogue. DL visited Shanghai, China for the first time in July 2011 for a performance at the Casio "G-Shock - Shock The World Tour" and in addition, has explored further into Europe, performing shows in Berlin Germany (Club Cassiopeia) in September 2011 and also (The Merkker) in Badan, Switzerland in October 2011.
2012 saw the release of DL's wonderful "Funky DL samples Stevie Wonder EP entitled "Sometimes I Have to Wonder" and also DL's Fantastic "NANE" ALBUM; a 10-track insight into the then current life and times of the man himself; in which he discusses what is was like in back in the day in secondary school on "Land of the Kings", to returning to full-time education some 17 years later by way of pursuing a law degree on "Clock-watchers". Meanwhile, a slew of instrumental albums have also been released under DL's Washington Classics imprint including the highly revered "Nights in Nippon Jazzstrumentals" and numerous other beat-only selections.
2013 has brought forth the incredible "Jazzmatic"album, where DL took 10 classic lyrical masterpieces from the Queens, NY native MC "Nas", and turned them into brand new jazz hip-hop remixes themed with the the backdrop of circa 1930's jazz breaks, giving the listener the live-at-the-show experience as if Nas and a jazz band were bringing the music alive in front of the eyes and ears of the listener. The project was a huge download success, garnering favour from the likes of Hot 97's DJ "Miss Info" and others alike all over the globe.
2014 had Funky DL continuing his onslaught of hip-hop instrumental album releases, including a complete and all-new instrumental remake of his debut album "Classic Was The Day". After completing a three-year law degree (which commenced in 2011), DL prepared to release a tribute album to the legendary works of hip-hop super producer J Dilla and Nujabes, where he remade 18 of the classic original tracks that these producers brought to the hip-hop world. DL also played his first exciting "Funky DL samples Amy Winehouse" live show exclusively at Club Cassiopeia in Germany. Later that year, DL released the second installment of his Nas Remixes albums. "Jazzmatic 2", proving yet again to be a hip-hop heavyweight force to be reckoned with.
In February 2015, Funky DL completed a 4-city tour of Japan, playing 4 tribute shows to the late Nujabes in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Kagoshima. More instrumental album releases followed with the albums "Forever Instrumental"and "Blue Silk Instrumentals", as well as DL's first drum pack collection, "Drum Attic", for budding producers and DJ's.
2016 saw the release of DL's strongest lyrical content to date in the form of his "Autonomy - The 4th Quarter 2" album, which fans praised for its brazen but heartfelt topics and depth of subject matter. As a sequel to the 2007 4th Quarter album, the album once again took listeners on an exciting journey through 4 different styles of Hip-Hop.
This year started with a bang for Funky DL with the release of his "Marauding At Midnight - A Tribute To The Sounds of A Tribe Called Quest". The instrumental tribute album to his favorite group was poignant, due to the recent passing of Phife Dawg from the group and the first A Tribe Called Quest album to be released in 18 years, "We Got It From Here.. Thank You For Your Service". DL's tribute project - which used no samples and was a rendition of all Tribe's original 1993 tracks - were well received with the Vinyl and CD distributed worldwide through the Fat Beats Distribution label.
2017 has seen Funky DL continue his touring, appearing for performances in Tblisis, Georgia and Wuhan, China, with his first show in Madrid, Spain scheduled for the back end of the year. This and his brand new instrumental release, "Incognito In Soho" due out November 3rd 2017, has kept DL busy, creative and keen to continue what he so loves to do; bring great music to the masses.
The frightening thing about all of DL’s accolades is that he always feels as if this is just the beginning... So in summing up... For a young man who at 19 scored a 5 album deal with no management, won a MOBO and was the only X3 consecutive UK hip-hop nominee period, remixing for well known acts, traveling the world touring and producing for underground and established acts, owning and running a respected record label dealing with main stay labels… at the age of 39 you could agree.. DL is the about one of the greatest and successful hip-hop inspirations the UK has ever offered!!!