You know him as Mr. Bow Bow Bow, and rightfully so, his viral song “Touch Down 2 Cause Hell” has over 11 million streams on Spotify alone, but HD4President is no one-hit-wonder.
“I wanna be the top dog. I’m not here to be a one-hit-wonder. I’m going to stay on the top. I’m trying to be like Rhianna every time you turn the radio on, you hear her.”
After hearing him speak, you can bet on that.
The Baton Rouge native began rapping at seven years old. You read that right, seven freaking years old. While you were skinning your knees and learning how to ride your bike, HD was recording himself on cassette tapes. So it should come as no surprise to learn that he was offered his first record deal at 11 years old.
And guess what? He turned it down. “I didn’t feel like it was my time then,” says the multi-faceted artist.
Then at 17 years old, another deal was on the table, and at 25, another, but he turned them all down.
“None of the situations made sense to me, so I wouldn’t sign”
Now at 31 years old, HD4President just inked one of the biggest deals of any Baton Rouge artist, with the legendary Motown Records.
Can we just stop for a minute and think about the presence of mind, the perspective, the sheer willpower it would have taken for an 11-year-old, a 17-year-old, a 25-year-old aspiring artist to turn down a real chance to chase the dream? In an industry that is harder to break into than ever, where even the most talented artists are grinding with no guarantee of success, HD4President has always known what is for him and what isn’t.
A desperate man, he is not.
Curious minds (me) wanted to know however, if there was ever a time that he regretted those decisions. At a recent press conference, I asked the “Can’t Stop Jiggin'” singer that very question.
In his response, he described his life as a teenager. “When I was 15 years old, I had everything a 15-year-old could ever want. A car, everything. I was in the streets really bad and I was taking care of people older than me. I didn’t regret it at that time.” He went on to say “But when I got older, and I got off the streets and started struggling financially, I started to wonder if I made the right decision [in turning them down.]”
That wasn’t his only hurdle; he went on to explain that not many people believed in him in the beginning.
“People told me I wasn’t going to make it. They said I was too old, that I had been doing this for so long, that I needed to find something to do with my life, that this rap stuff ain’t never gonna happen for real.” What did he do in response to the negativity?
“I blocked out every person who said that to me. I didn’t care who it was. No one ever supported me or my studio time, no one ever supported my dream. The biggest lesson I learned is not to listen to anyone else when you got something on your mind.”
Despite the negativity, the rapper kept working and even tweeted in 2019 that 2020 was going to be his year with music.
And that it was. Big move after big move lead him to 2021 when he received calls from 12 major record labels in one day. Twelve. (And we can’t even get a text back)
For HD, signing to Motown was a full circle dream come true.
“When I was a kid, I would watch The Temptations all the time. My mom would fuss at me for watching it so much. I loved them. So when I signed with Motown, my mom called and said “All those times I fussed at you for watching that show over and over and look where you are.”
When we asked him how he felt about the deal, he said “I’m so thankful to be with Motown. I had a chance to sign with 13 different labels but I just felt like Motown was the best situation for me. They made me feel like family instead of just signing me because I got a hot song.”
The deal has clearly been a long time coming. Given the grind that has defined the life of HD4President, big moves like this seem inevitable for someone with such a powerful story.
So what’s next for the viral sensation? What vision does the man behind the mic have for himself now that he’s made it?
“I’m going to put other artists in position. I’m going to find talent, put somebody in a position to win. My whole life, people were in a position to help me but they never would help me out at all. I want to put other artists in a position.”
Why? “I just like helping people.”
What? You weren’t expecting that?
HD4President will continue to live outside the box that the music industry often likes to put people in. At the end of the day, “I just love music. It doesn’t matter what or who it is.” He even said he’d like to collaborate with Justin Bieber. “I already have the song, I’m ready to go!” he says.
When asked which other artists inspire him, he listed everyone from Lil Wayne to Ed Sheeran to John Mayer.
“I appreciate all the love for “Bow Bow Bow” but that is not who I am. I just love music all around.”