Artist Spotlight: DC King

Many artists become inspired to pull themselves out of rough backgrounds through music - DC King became inspired by helping others do exactly that. His debut album, Intellectual Property, is a story of personal reflection of a tough family life that included drugs, jail, and death. Listeners take a deep dive into the mind of DC King, as he discusses issues with his parents and his juvenile record, as well as his experience with relationships and injustice he sees in society.

You’ll be able to hear connections to two artists he has drawn inspiration from - NF and Dayton’s own, YelloPain - both of whom utilize a similar sound and discuss much of the same subject matter. In the opening verse of Intellectual Property, DC King gives us an early snapshot of his personal struggle:

“They say time will heal, but it will kill,

Had to grow up way too quick,

Moved out on my own, tryna call this place home

But I’m all alone,

I just want to pick up the phone and call my mom

And tell her ‘Ay, I’m coming home,’

But I’m not tryna go back to the drugs and the drama,

And watch my family live off Obama”

His desire to grow from a troubled teen into an impactful man is heard on the chorus of Dancing with the Devil, but he acknowledges the difficult process it has been:

“No I don’t wanna die today,

God please don’t take my life away,

Tomorrow’s not promised so I’m gonna fight today,

All I’m asking’s that you take this pain away”

Until 2 years ago, DC King wasn’t a name known among the local rap community. Growing up, a lot of his time was spent at H.O.P.E. Ministries, an organization that works with youth in urban neighborhoods and the juvenile justice system, which he was in and out of twenty-two times from ages 7-16. “My adopted dad, Anthony Yoakem, is the one that ran the teen center. I started going there when I was younger to escape home and poverty, I was there every day when they were open so Anthony and I grew closer.” It was through this program that DC King started writing poetry and getting involved in hip hop.

“I was volunteering at the juvenile detention center doing spoken word with the kids. They didn't want to open up so I wrote a little poem about my life. They loved it which made them open up and share stories about their lives. I realized the power the poem had and a kid suggested I should make it into a song so I did. I performed the song in front of a live crowd. My mom was there and the song was about my life and my parents. She was in the crowd crying. From that day on I realized how powerful music is and I fell in love with it.”

Anthony Yoakem has clearly had a huge impact on DC King’s life. In fact, he credits Yoakem as a major influence on his style as an artist. “I try to model my style from my adopted dad really...he uses his platform to bring change so I wanted to use my platform to bring change. The way I dress and my vocabulary is all in resemblance to him.”

A native of Springfield, DC King often performs on Thursdays at the Spirited Goat Cafe in Yellow Springs. He continues to volunteer his time at H.O.P.E. Ministries; some of his music videos even include kids from the program! “After I graduated high school and was doing good for myself, I wanted to follow in (Yoakem’s) footsteps and help run the teen center. When I got invited to go, it was like my life did a full circle. Last time I was there, I was locked up, now I'm going there to talk to the kids.”

For those who need assistance from H.O.P.E.’s services or would like to contribute, their information can be found here. “We are always looking for people to donate dinners to feed about 70 kids three days out of the week. They can simply contact me or H.O.P.E. directly.”

Fans can see DC King’s new music video, May 18th, on his YouTube page this Friday (10/25). His music can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify; Intellectual Property can also be purchased on Amazon. For all things DC King, check out his website or Facebook page!