On Starz’s strip club-set drama series P-Valley, Lil Murda is an aspiring rapper who is both a member of a street gang, Hurt Village Hustlas, and a closeted gay man in a relationship with Uncle Clifford, the non-binary owner of The Pynk strip club around which much of the action revolves. Both the relationship and Lil Murda himself have been praised by fans of the show for their portrayal of a respectful, non-toxic relationship and the nuances of navigating the street rap scene as a non-straight man.
Fans have also been loving Lil Murda’s music (and the music of P-Valley overall), such as the song “Seven Pounds Of Pressure,” which have been straight-up bangers that could easily exist outside of the show as trunk-knocking favorites down South. And while Murda actor J. Alphonse Nicholson’s energetic performance can be given much of the credit, the secret sauce that brings out the flavor comes from Atlanta rap upstart Deante’ Hitchcock, who penned Lil Murda’s rhymes behind the scenes alongside longtime collaborators Brandon Philips-Tayler and David Fuller.
Hitchcock, who made his major label debut in the spring of 2020 with the impressive Better after collaborating with J. Cole’s Dreamville, is a talent on the rise. He made an even greater impression throughout the pandemic months with a string of fiery freestyles over such fan-favorite instruments as Drake’s “What’s Next,” Outkast’s “Roses,” and SpotemGottem’s “Beat Box.” He kept up his momentum earlier this year with an EP, Every Day’s The 14th, released on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Uproxx caught up with Deante’ on Zoom to talk about the process of writing for shows like P-Valley and Insecure (as well as the upcoming Netflix sci-fi comedy, They Cloned Tyrone), his future projects, and why he’s trying to be the capybara of the rap world.
First of all, how did you get involved with the making of this show?
That really came from my partner, Nikki Marshall with Warner/Chappell.
Last year we was working at this little writers’ camp for Insecure. We put some stuff together for that and before that we was working on a movie coming out this year with Jamie Foxx called They Cloned Tyrone and that’s around the time where we met shawty. She just been keeping us plugged in with little opportunities.
Do they give you a description of the character you’re going to be writing for? How does that work?
Yeah. They kind of tell you where the song is going to be, the emotion they want invoked from the song, the scene that they are going to put together for it. So, you got little tidbits to kind of build around. It’s like, “All right, we want this for this, and this how this is going to go.” So yeah, we knew how the scene was going to go. We just hadn’t seen it.
How do you get into the voice of the character?
It ain’t too crazy for real. It wasn’t just me. It was me, my partner Dave [Fuller], and my other partner B [Brandon Philips-Tayler]. My partner B produced it, me and Dave wrote on it, and then actually there was another guy that we don’t know that actually threw in some lyrics too [FM New Money / Antown Moore]. But shout out to all of them, cause they also put in to help with the record.
But for me, it’s not too hard for real. I like to write from a lot of different perspectives when I’m just doing my own writing. So I might write a song about what my little brother going through, what my girl going through, or my partner, or this, that, and the third. So different voices ain’t really too hard for me. Especially since they gave us the situation that bro was going through. They gave us all of the emotion, the story where he was in life, all that.
The reaction to the music of P-Valley has been incredible. Have you noticed that it has brought a larger audience to Deante’ Hitchcock music as well?
I ain’t even going to cap, for the most part, I don’t be paying attention to the numbers too much. When we look at Spotify and stuff like that, my manager do it all the time. He might update me throughout the year like, “Hey, this where we at, this what’s going on.” But me, myself, I don’t really be checking too much. So, I can’t say that I’ve noticed just this crazy change since I guess the finale song came out, but when shawty, Katori [Walker], the creator of the show, was tweeting about it, a lot of people have been talking about it. Like, “Oh, wow, that makes sense. That’s why it was fire.” It’s cool to see it finally out.
Yes, sir. Walk me through these camps, man. When somebody reaches out to you and says, “We want you to write for this show.” What’s the next step? How does it work? Break it down for me.
Literally, you wake up, go to camp, write, crank out music all day, go home, go to sleep, wake up, go back. So a lot of people might experience burnout from something like that dog, ‘cause it’s just like a regular job. It feels like work. But it’s fun because of the energy. Especially if you got a group of people, a good amount of people in that mug who actually love creating, who actually do their thing and fire at it. That joint feel fun, it doesn’t even feel like work. Just bouncing room to room, putting little stuff down. That’s how the energy was. It’s almost electric.
Where do you want to go with your next project?
I think I got hit in that mug, for real. If you look at the legends, the Drakes, the Jay-Z’s, the Waynes, all of them guys, the thing that separates them – because all of them are technically inclined, they’re skilled at what they do, all of them can rap their ass off, get crazy with it – but they also have songs that the world can sing. And I mean, being a rapper, a lot of people will hit me up and be like, “Bro, you be rapping your ass off.” I’m very appreciative of that. Because that’s the skillset I’ve honed for years. But bro, I want hits.
I know you do a lot of interviews and I know a lot of the questions that you get are repetitive, at times. Do you ever feel like there’s one thing that you want to talk about that nobody’s ever asked you about?
Capybaras. Bro. That’s my favorite animal of all time. Have you ever seen them interact with other creatures?
They’re the friendliest animal on the planet. Listen, I watched a video of a capybara riding on the top of a alligator. Legit. I haven’t seen a capybara get into a fight with any other animal. There’s no video proof of it at all. They done sat in a field of kittens. They done rolled with alligators, chilling with monkeys, all of that. Bro, they’re the most social animal of all time. I love them little things.
I guess you’d call them the Deante’ Hitchcocks of the animal world.
I don’t know, bro. I’m aspiring to be like them. I don’t even know if I’m there yet, bro. I’m trying.