Forced or otherwise, there were obvious differences in recording, but That’s Me, That’s Team feels like a sonic evolution for Dupé as well. You would expect this after almost two years since the last sizeable release. But listening to the new LP, you get the sense that he has grown as a person in this time too.
“Oh yeah. For real. I feel dead certain of myself now. Whereas the other tapes, I was just finding myself. Even if you listen to those tapes and think that this guy seems so on point. I was still lost or confused. So, I feel like this album is just me, like I said. Being a testimony to myself. Me telling myself I can just do this. And this is what I wanna do.”
Dupé still tried to capture the “same essence” from his first projects, but he was committed to trying different things “just like baby steps, little one-percenters.” He refers to UFC fighters like Israel Adesanya who are always trying to tweak their craft. “They’re already good at striking but want to get better at wrestling”. Taking this philosophy to his music, Dupé is also trying to become more versatile which is why ‘That’s Me, That’s Team’ has such a mix of beats. “It’s like a journey, it’s like windy roads, then flat straights, then you’ve got the steep-as hill that you’re speeding down. That’s what I wanted my first album to have.”
It all stemmed from a conversation with Rizvan, who acted as producer, collaborator, and confidant on the record. He says Rizvan told him “bro, you can pretty much rap over anything, but at the end of the day your voice is going to be that glue, that common theme. That’s going to be the thing that ties everything together.” Dupé says it allowed him the freedom to try new things. “I don’t have to be the one that’s always yelling in the raps. I can smooth out my edges and be vulnerable. Or talk about my partner, or my love life.”