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August Artist Of The Month Andre Davis To Headline Riverview xBk Stage

Andre Davis, a Des Moines based hip-hop artist, is IPR and the Des Moines Music Coalition's August Artist of the Month.
Meanz Chan
Courtesy of Station One Records
Andre Davis, a Des Moines based hip-hop artist, is IPR and the Des Moines Music Coalition's August Artist of the Month.

As we wrote when Riverview Music Fest announced the full lineup earlier this week, Andre Davis is a born performer.

Andre Davis, who IPR Music fans will know from Juneteenth: The Movement, has just been announced as the headliner for the new xBk stage at the Riverview Music Festival happening September 4 at Riverview Park in Des Moines.

We’re excited to present Davis as the first hip-hop artist we’re featuring as Artist of the Month in collaboration with the Des Moines Music Coalition because he’s an outstanding performer and lyricist. He spoke with Tony Dehner on zoom about the kind of rap music he makes - conscious hip-hop and spoken word.

“Conscious rap is essentially just rapping with awareness. Rap of course as a musical artform has many different avenues and levels of expression. Some raps are like, ‘hey we’re here to have fun and make people feel good.’ Conscious rap is more using music as an art form as a form of expression,” Davis says. “Spoken word isn’t necessarily a music art form. It’s more poetry and style of poetry. It’s usually done a cappella, and it doesn’t necessarily have to align and is a little more loose with the structure.”

Davis is a multi-faceted artist, having just graduated from Drake Law School in Des Moines. He released a full album in 2018 via Station One Records, a non-profit record label in Des Moines, and has since put out singles like "Fight On," which debuted in 2020 and is his most listened to track on Spotify.

“A lot of times as artists, we know we love music and we see it as a craft, but it is an industry. It is a business and a bunch of other skills and tools that go along with business don’t necessarily correlate with the craft. I think that’s how the law and music have had an intersection for me,” he explained. “I am in a space where I can read through my contracts and know what my licensing contracts are. Also: thanks to Station One records, they make it a point to teach their artists about these other aspects that come along with the industry. In my mind, law school has been essentially my greatest sword and shield when it comes to being a part of the music business."

If you’ve heard Davis’ music but have not had the chance to see him perform live: go to this show if you’re able. His music and lyrics are powerful on their own. You owe it to his music to go see him perform it live. As we wrote when Riverview announced the full lineup earlier this week, Davis is a born performer. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of rapping, his stage presence is something anyone should appreciate.

“So, the first thing I do is rehearse my spoken word and my raps, so it can almost become like an auto-pilot in my mind. So, I can change words or stop and talk to people. Since I know that I can rap my songs on auto-pilot, it gives me a lot more room as far as interacting with people,” he told Tony about how he prepares to be in front of a live audience. “My goal is to make a live performance different than what you’d hear if you were at home and popped on your headphones.”

Davis is from St. Louis, and you can hear how police violence against his community informs his music and lyricism. Now that he’s done with school, he’s got big plans. The next musical project to look forward to from Davis is an EP with fellow Riverview performer DK Imamu Akachi, who is playing the mainstage at the event.

“I am coming out with a collab EP with DK. It’s a four track EP called ‘Sacred Assassins.’” Davis says. “We are two artists that spend a lot of time speaking and trying to tell our stories. We essentially just took a bunch of our long conversations, and made songs about these ideas we have about ourselves and the world. So, the next thing is dropping that and sharing it with the people.”

Music News Iowa Artist of the Month
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Tony Dehner is a Studio One Host