Raised in Newark, NJ—Dawan “DB” Brown introduced the world to ‘Just Wanna Rock’ hit producer MC Vertt, ran a record label, hosted back to school giveaways–all from behind bars. Now the CEO of 100 Percent Pure Ent. is free and set to take over the music industry brick by brick.
In 2018, the 37-year-old music executive started his own record label,100 Percent Pure Ent, LLC and signed a then 18-year old music producer with a vision and a sound. Brown opened the doors to his first music venture, Exclusive Notes and owns a state-of-the-art recording studio frequented by the who’s who in New Jersey. After running a full-fledged music label from behind bars, Brown definitely has a unique story to tell. With BandmanRill, DJ Jay Hood and Brooklyn femcee, Zeffy Lee on his roster—Brown is breaking barriers while inspiring with his story, The Source sat down with the newest visionary of our time and talked about the new film he wrote with actor Dennis White, the corrupt court system and his time in jail with Tsu Surf and Cassanova.
Can you tell us about how things have changed for you this year to be exact?
DB: With 2023, I have a song that came out October 2022 with a producer named Mc Vertt, ‘I Wanna Rock’ which is platinum right now by Lil Uzi and also I have an artist named Batman Real he’s from New Jersey, all of us are from New Jersey, MC is from Jersey City. He’s one of the biggest artists in New Jersey right now. Actually, he’s one of the biggest, he’s the one who started the club scene.
So I hear you conducted a lot of your business from jail and that was very interesting to me because so many people have dreams of doing things and it seems like you were able to connect those two. Can you tell us a little bit about that and like how that came about?
DB: Oh, I have a joint venture with Warner and you know at first MC he was independent but those kids they look at me kind of like a big brother father figure and stuff like that. So, I know when I got in this situation whatever the situation was I had to still be in execution mode. You know I didn’t have time to be like you know emotionally caught up in my situations. I know that I made an oath to those kids and I had to kind of still keep my promise. Only blessing for me was I had good people on the outside as well Lynn and my fiancé and one of the guys from Warner Steve Carless, I was able to get a lot of stuff done over the phone. Scheduling, making sure stuff was on time, you know when you’re in jail people don’t answer the phone for you but people know how passionate I am about the music and the culture period,
What were your day-to-day responsibilities?
DB: I wrote a schedule for the week, I would call managers making sure they were on point you know I mean making sure the shows and stuff is on point and things like that. I still would coach them over the phone and just tell them like you know although I’m in this situation, I apologize and I’ll take accountability for my actions. I’m sorry for being irresponsible but this is the thing that needs to be done. I promise y’all that I will make sure it get done. So, I used all my resources..Everything they needed didn’t go unwanted. You know what I’m saying?
That’s pretty impressive. Most people usually lose momentum. Like you mentioned, people don’t pick up the phone. How did you get past your emotions in that environment?
DB; Oh, well, I’m Muslim so you know I mean I got faith in the Lord. So, I just asked the Lord to just keep me strong. I pray five times a day. I just ask the Lord every time like I am lucky you trying to keep me striving and please don’t let this thing that I created go go and crash. You know I mean because I’m basically living my dream.
You mentioned that you were a Muslim and that kind of helped you get through your tough times and I saw that you have a film that you’re working on called ‘Street Connected’. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
DB: It’s about a kid named Moota, whose father died. His father used to teach him a lot about the religion, praying and things like that and his father got killed because his father was into the streets and he wound up doing everything his father was doing. You know, I mean once you were in the streets but trying to fight and get out of it but eventually he wanted to get on the street and move away from New Jersey with his wife and his kids.
Does that story have anything to do with your personal story?
DB: You know it’s just something that I created. I’ve always wanted to do a film since I saw Michael B Jordan in The Wire. He’s from the neighborhood, he’s from my side of town.
So you wrote the film?
DB:Yeah, I wrote it but then I hired the guy Dennis White that played D-Rock in the Biggie movie. I just wrote all my ideas and all the character names and you know so most of them are my ideas but he put it in writers form in a professional format.
So, what else are you doing with the Warner deal?
DB: Oh, I have joint ventures. So, I’m just signing artists, getting deals blowing them up trying to take them to the next level.
How did you connect with both of those young artists?
DB: So, this kid named Samir, who is one of my closest friends, Al’s nephew, I had two other artists— one artist that you know just didn’t work and one of my artists, Jigaveli passed away, got killed at college last year I think January 8th or something like that. So yeah, one of my closest friends, I said Al, his nephew named Samir was telling me like, ‘Yo I got this kid doing this club thing’ and when I first heard it I couldn’t understand it but I had to like really listen to it from executive ear and I seen that it was something different that has never been done rapping off club beats.: So, you know I got in touch with him. He blew up and did like a million views off one record and he said labels were calling them. You know they weren’t offering the right amount. I mean like it wasn’t it wasn’t a comfortable contract, so we sat down and had a meeting and we were able to work some terms out. Along with that came MC because MC his first record that band man blew up off and MC did the beat. So, they came like a package deal.
Two for one deal?!
DB: Yeah so, also I signed the other kid, DJ J Hood because he was one of the first people that was like just doing a lot of club stuff too but then he was the first person to rap off the club beats. So, what I did was I signed all the club kids that were doing the club stuff and kind of cornered the market because I knew it was going to be something big and nobody ever did it. You know one thing about music. Music changes every six to eight months and I knew that this right here was gonna be the new voice of hip-hop.
I saw you also gave back to your city by hosting giveaways in Newark.
DB: Yeah, I did that while I was actually in jail. I knew somebody that worked for the city. I was like you know we should do a book bag giveaway. My artist came from Vegas because he was staying in Vegas at the time. He came out here, got the cameramen, got the photographers, post flyers and he’s a big artist so you know whatever you go kids gonna come out there passing out book bags and stuff like that so it was all right.
So, you touched on one thing, you said you were locked up with Casanova and Tsu Surf. What was that like?
DB: So, we were in the dorms, so me and Casanova used to talk and him and the president from Warner, my boy Steve Carless is cool. I used to put them on the phone with each other and stuff like that we used to talk. Our dorms, he was in dorm three, I was in dorm six. We used to play Family Feud once a week. So, we’ll be going against their dorms so we’d kick it. Tsu Surf actually gave me some music while I was in it to put in my movie. So, we’d always be kicking it about different things you know? It’s crazy because people can’t believe they’re in there— everybody fighting for their life and then the system is crazy because they try to paint this picture of people. There’s some really smart and intelligent people in prison and I just want to say man free my man Surf and Free my man Casanova man I mean… them guys don’t deserve to be in there. You know I mean the way the system is designed to destroy black people that’s in power and you know there’s nothing we could do when the Feds get involved you know?
Why do you think it’s an attack on them as opposed to something that they might have done on their own?
DB: I don’t know I can’t really speak on what they did or stuff like that but I know that the time they give people for whatever be like too much. You know what I mean? You see they give black people all this time but then it might be some Mexican or this time they get them slap on the wrist. But Blacks and Dominicans they be on our top, I just feel like it’s unfair how they do us. I think it’s a racial thing and the prosecutors are so attached to certain stuff they be wanting to destroy you, divide your family, different things like that. They hurt black people and they say oh, we’re trying to stop crime but nobody ain’t killed nobody or nothing like that! But what happens is they separate those people and by the time the person comes home their sons are doing the same shit they don’t even get a chance to save their kids.
What advice would you give them to get past what they’re going through and make it to where they’re trying to go?
DB: I tell people to pray. You know I mean and while you’re in this situation come up with a plan not to go back. I had to tell people— keep your faith, pray. Mind your business, stay out of people’s business, and just do everything that’s gonna benefit you and your family. You know what I mean and just stay solid. If you went in and you did something wrong stay solid you know man stay solid. Don’t do the problem if you can’t do the time and try not to do it and stay away from it stay away from anything that’s negative.