When No Malice of Clipse first went solo, he enlisted a Brooklyn-bred rapper to be a part of his premier album, Hear Ye Him, back in 2012. That artist was Life Dutchee, the true-life lyricist the industry respects for his talent and his bud. For Dutchee, who was born in Amsterdam and raised in East New York, cannabis has played an active role in his career; a plant he says, “saved his life.”
On a calm afternoon in Flatbush, Canna Culture Connect linked up with Life Dutchee at his neighborhood spot, a bodega near Prospect Park. As you walk in, your peripherals are met with smoker’s necessities, including Luxury Loud packaging featuring a QR code, which links customers to the cannabrand’s Instagram page – a level of marketing most New York budmen don’t operate in. The brand is Dutchee’s, along with the adoration of the people who run the store. They told us that before Dutchee was an international touring rapper, he was the young dude that even old heads looked up to.
Back in his Medgar Evers days, school was less about class and more about performing his new singles for his friends in the lunchroom. “You hear other rappers, Big L, people like that and it was just something I wanted to jump into. Battle rapping – that was another thing that got me known in my area and school. That’s really how I got started.” And he never stopped. “Even though I wasn’t getting paid for it for a long time, the passion was always there.” Eventually that passion did pay off. In 2012, Dutchee wrote some hooks for No Malice, one of which landed on the Grindin’ rapper’s first solo single. “[That] wasn’t an easy thing to do,” says Dutchee, “Mal might be the pickiest artist ever in history, especially since he prays on everything and literally waits for God to give the OK. I named the track ‘Unforgettable,‘ we shot the first vid, and from there he took me on my first tour.”
I don’t really have one base I make music for, It’s really for who’s real. I can’t really do the fake stuff too much. I do what comes to my heart and if people like it, they become a fan, and that’s what they’re going to get every time.Life Dutchee
Dutchee’s next big tour came in 2019 with Stalley, the former MMG MC who recently launched his own label, Blue Collar Gang. “That was the best experience so far in hip hop that I had. I never really done it like that. It was like twenty something cities. It’s funny because the first time, I already knew Stalley from a long ago, but it was [Hot 97’s] Summer Jam and this dude was selling tickets to get on stage. I gave him some weed for it and he gave me the pass. I sold somebody a quarter pound of sour. [I had] no friends [with me] no nothing just work. While I’m there, Rick Ross comes out, Meek, the whole Maybach and Stalley comes out and I know the n—a by this time and I’m on stage by now. So since then we linked up. The next time he hit me to go on tour, I was basically doing the weed thing.”
Like many others who do the weed thing, Dutchee had a tense encounter with the law. “The day before we went on tour, I got stopped by the police. I’m in the car with my man, we just talking and detectives came in. I was like ‘It’s over. I’m not going on tour, it’s done.’ They’re looking in the car, then get us out the car. I see the officer pick up the bag, about a half of pound of bud, he puts it to the side. He comes to me and says ‘Listen, I know what’s in the backseat with you. I’m going to let you go, cause we looking for something else. Next morning I was on tour.’
Look at God. This was a pivotal point in Dutchee’s career. He’s made even more connections and celebrities still love his ish. The Maybach family and basically every person who worked at Atlantic Records were among some supplied by Dutchee pre-pandemic days. “I’d have everyone put in their orders and brand it for them. This was before all of the strain names and everything. Not just the rappers, the people behind the scenes. I’d serve about 30 artists.” In reflecting on why Dutchee started in cannabis to begin with, back at a time where people called it crack,
I started in weed about 10 years ago so people can self-medicate, have fun, and just chill out. People know me in the industry for having the best s–t. I know the right people on the North side of California.
As far as Dutchee’s future plans, “I’m hoping they don’t make it where we have to spend 300K on a license.” What Dutchee is referring to is called vertical integration. “Nobody is going to spend 500K on licenses.” As we know so far, New York plans to offer varied licenses, so Dutchee is keeping hope that the legislative powers don’t do vertical integration here. “If it’s something in a price range that could work, I’m ready to do it right now. I’m waiting for them.”
In the meantime, check out Dutchee’s latest single, “Used To,” and keep a look out for his future Apple store-style dispensary. Loud Pack Luxury, coming near you!