Dunk Ryder Group Member
By Te-Erika Patterson
Steppin fresh and correct in black on black Dickie’s with the Air Force's ones to match, a full grill and black scully pulled so low over his forehead that it almost completely covers his eyes, one could easily be intimidated by his commanding stature. Although this lethal weapon in the new Trick Daddy arsenal is deadly like category 5 Hurricane winds, the calm after the storm is even more spectacular than the lyrical whirlwind that precedes it. Davevon Rackley, better known as Fella, the secret ingredient of Trick Daddy’s newest enterprise- the Dunk Ryders, says he’s trying to spark the world. “I don’t just want to make it out of the hood, I want to open minds.”
Growing up in the often overlooked city of Opa Locka, Florida, Fella admits to having gone through the rocky rites of passage in the streets. “Coming up in the hood, I’ve been through a lot,” he said. “Growing up, I had hell. I had to get my own money. I had to get it how I could get it.”
The area where he lived could only aspire to one day be as nice as the projects. The neighborhood developers didn’t even take the time to lay concrete. His home sits atop the hard, dry dirt that often invaded his lungs and his skin as well as leaving a permanent smudge on his spirit. As a caregiver for kids with disabilities, Fella’s mom was the sole provider for he and his two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. With three growing kids in the house and a tight income, the household budget was often strained and Fella felt that he had to resort to street tactics to get what his family needed.
“I was skipping school, getting involved with the wrong things and smoking. I got loose for a minute. I got wild,” Fella said. “Now that I’m out of school and I’m on my own I made a decision that I had to separate myself from the crowd that I used to hang with, get more wisdom and keep soaking up the game.”
His exposure to the rap game came at a young age. He wrote his first rhyme when he was 12 yrs old and still remembers it to this day. As a youth he loved 2 Pac, Brisco, Trick Daddy, the entire Hot Boy clique as well as Miami’s own hidden treasure Rick Ross.
“I always liked Rick Ross because he emphasizes his words. He doesn’t speak just to speak, he speaks to be heard,” Fella said.
Before he had big dreams of being a Hip Hop star, Fella dreamed of making big investments as a real estate mogul. “That’s where the money is. I don’t want my family to grow up like I grew up. When I’m gone I want to make sure my family is taken care of.”
In his early years as a student he said he took school seriously. “I was a straight A student. I had to fight with the teachers because they always stayed on me because they wanted me to do something with my life so I will always respect my teachers.”
Although his teachers tried to convince him that he was a diamond in the rough, the allure of the street life and negative influences from his friends made it more difficult for him to see the bright future that lay ahead of him. “I got caught up at a young age around the wrong crowd. At times I thought those guys were my friends. After time I learned the truth. I’ve changed my life since then and got back on the right track.”
Getting back on track meant setting a goal for himself and it took insight from his family to help recognize his main objective. “My Mother and my brother helped me to come to that decision. Whenever I would say my raps to them, they would say that I needed to do that for real.”
He began to pursue rapping professionally in middle school as he made contacts with two men who would help focus his career. “When I hit 7th and 8th grade I knew I wanted to be a professional. Big Lott, who was like a father to me became a part of my life. He was a friend of mine who took an interest in me and my career.” Verb, a former rapper who was signed with the legendary Luke was also someone who spent time with Fella encouraging him in his craft.
At 17 he became more focused on making music or as he describes, “Music that people could feel.”
“By making music people could feel I mean trying to talk about what’s going on in the world and not always talking about guns and killing kids and things like that, “Fella said. “It’s a lot going on in the world. It’s hard for a Black person to get a job. The world is crazy and it’s getting crazier. I want to include that in my music.”
As he honed his craft and made other contacts in the industry he was surprised to receive a call from a family member with the lead that would change his life. “My cousin called me on the phone and he told me that some people wanted to hear me rap,” Fella said. They invited him to Circle House, a recording studio that remains a staple for any artist in Miami with hopes of making it big. He spit in front of managers Chuck, Tut and label head Trick Daddy.
As the deep throated poetic flow, often reminiscent of the late Tupac, exploded from his lips, the record executives were instantly impressed. They informed Fella that they wanted him to be a part of the remix to the un-released single from Trick Daddy’s new album called ‘Get Low’.
He was offered a contract to become a part of the Dunk Ryders shortly after participating in a 16-artist collaboration, which allowed him the opportunity to prove that he was a cut above the rest. “Since then I’ve been in the studio everyday getting the music done,” Fella explained. “It’s a full time job. I don’t see anything in front of this.”
From the dusty roads of Opa Locka to the privacy of his group’s own studio, Fella’s flow will soon flood the airwaves allowing the Hip Hop generation to witness the transformation as the smudge on his spirit is replaced by the shine of a dream realized.