Sound is one the most important senses, stimulating everything from nostalgia to emotion. Whether we’re being served audio through music, podcasts, the human voice, or even the hustle and bustle of the city, people crave sound. One metropolis known for being a sonic haven is Detroit, Michigan.
The midwestern city is most known for having “The Motown Sound,” which speaks directly to the impact of Motown Records. Founded by Berry Gordy in 1959, the label spearheaded a distinctive wave of soul music with a pop appeal that still continues to influence artists all over the world today. From stellar acts like Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson 5, and The Supremes, to name a few, Detroit has produced music legends who exemplify what happens when sound meets style.
“Detroit’s always been at the forefront to music… Just go down the list of people who are the face of music and it's all Detroit artists.”
Oftentimes having a rich history comes as a result of many trials and tribulations, which is something the people of Detroit have had their fair share of. The riots of 1967 divided the city with racial heat causing many businesses and citizens to flock to suburban areas. That exodus even extended to Motown, which Gordy eventually moved to Los Angeles in the ’70s. The list of hardships didn’t stop there. Fast forward to 2013 and Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file bankruptcy.
Despite the many hardships the city has faced, the “313” remains resilient. Possessing a strong working class culture, the people of Detroit never give up. The one thing that has continued to put this city on the main stage through both the good and the bad times is the music. Motown Records may have relocated but the Motown Sound never left it just continued to evolve. While hardcore punk, rock and toll, and techno have had their runs, hip-hop remains at the forefront of Detroit’s music scene today. From Eminem, Big Sean, Royce da 5’9”, and Dej Loaf to Danny Brown, Tee Grizzley, Kash Doll, and Sada Baby to Earlly Mac, Detailgo, Don Kutta, and Helluva, there are a bevy of young artists and producers that have embraced the past to continue a future of musical greatness.
One such person is Key Wane. The Grammy-nominated producer recently connected with Pistons player Andre Drummond as part of JBL’s “Sounds of the City” campaign. The pair may come from completely different backgrounds but they share a common love for Detroit. That resulted in a new anthem for the city that Key Wane was more than honored to help create with Drummond and add on to the city’s musical legacy.
“I think [Detroit’s] always been at the forefront to music and sound quality for a very long time,” he says. “You got the Motown era that happened way back before I was born. And then you've got Eminem, you've got Blade Icewood, you've got Big Sean, you've got so many dudes that are really doing that lead music. I can really just go down the list of people who are the face of music and it's all Detroit.”
“It's a really good beat that we came up with together. So we’re looking forward to really getting it out there so people can hear it.”
Drummond, who was born in Mount Vernon, NY and raised in Connecticut, has been adopted by the people of Detroit and is really emerged in the local lifestyle since being drafted by the Pistons back in 2012. He was even given the nickname “7 Mile Dre” on social media after appearing at a press interview sporting a pair of Cartier frames (also known as “Buffs”), which are a distinctive fashion accessory in the D. In addition to the city’s style, the 6’11” center is equally invested in the music. In fact, Drummond can often be caught listening to local acts like Snap Dogg and Sada Baby before games.
“Detroit, it's just an incredible city overall,” Drummond says. “The people here are so friendly and very outgoing. For me, it's really cool to connect with these people even on an intimate level when I get a chance to talk to them because the fans of Detroit are just incredible.”
So the opportunity to give back to those fans was something he jumped at. The fact that it was through an exclusive track was an added bonus for Drummond, who is currently working on two albums of his own, one that’ll be R&B and the other rap. “I have a really good relationship with a lot of people in the music industry from Detroit,” he explains. “They’re very kind when it comes to us stepping into their field or what they do and they’re really willing to help out and help you get better at what you're trying to do.”
In regards to collaborating with JBL on the “Sounds of the City” campaign, both Key Wayne and Drummond shared similar feelings of inspiration: heart and soul. When creating the anthem, Key Wane simply wanted to make sure it “sounded right” and believes the project has helped cultivate a lasting relationship with one of his favorite basketball players.
“When I hear [the track], I hear artists like Eminem, Big Sean, or Dej Loaf on there,” adds Drummond. “Just the heart of the city. The real hard, nitty gritty beats that gets you amped up for whatever you're doing. It's a really good beat that we came up with together. So we’re looking forward to really getting it out there so people can hear it.”