Dan aka Big Dipper is a former part time teacher, barista and theatre director. About four years earlier he started making music and rapping as a joke with a friend of his. Little did he know it would snowball into a full on music career. Big Dipper isn’t your average rapper. Hell, he might not even be your average gay rapper. His lyrics and videos are something to be experienced. As Dan puts it, “I rap about gay sex a lot of the time, so I don't have that Taylor Swift - world domination - cross over appeal.” He is also 100% sober and a bit of a prude as he likes to put it. Dan hopes to use this newly found fame be able break into more TV and film roles as he plans to move to L.A. in 2016.
I caught up with Dan while he was passing through Chicago working on a new series for VICE that chronicles Halsted St. from North to South and the neighborhoods it touches.
What do you wake up thinking about?
My days are always so different, so a lot of the time I wake up thinking about where I am, or what time it is, or what I have to get done that day. My sleep schedule is crazy. Inherently I'm a morning person, but I have so many shows and gigs at night, that I will go to bed at four or five in the morning pretty regularly. I never know what's going on. I can't imagine doing what I do and getting fucked up too. I'm sure I would just implode and never wake up in the morning or, always have a hangover, haha!
What's your morning ritual?
I definitely do not have a morning ritual and I beat myself up about that. I wish I did ten minutes of yoga or didn't immediately check my phone and computer. I wish I didn't hit the snooze button for like an hour everyday, but I'm guilty of all of that. My one routine that is always the same is coffee! I need coffee quickly after I wake up and I hang out in my underwear until I need to get dressed before I leave the house. I hate getting ready too soon because I sweat so much, so I hang in my underwear a lot.
How does social media play into your daily life?
I live on social media. I mean, facebook is my connection to my community and my work, and instagram is where I push my brand. I have a twitter, a tumblr, soundcloud, youtube, it's my whole shit. I feel too old to use snapchat though. It seems a bit labor intensive, haha!
I feel like I'm pretty honest on my social media, but I keep some things off of there. I don't like to share my location or my family and anything too personal. I recently had to have a hernia repair and was in the hospital and was recovering for a period of time. It was pretty challenging to not talk about it. I eventually did, but I try to be light and fun on my IG and not too crazy personal or emotional. Social Media is a powerful thing and I like to use whatever power I have for good and entertainment… and promotion!
Are we more connected or disconnected than before?
This is tough. Part of me feels way more connected to people through internet messaging and basically forming relationships with people I’ve never met before. I've collaborated with editors, music producers, fashion designers all digitally and for long periods of time before I met them in real life. For the kind of work I do, that sort of connection is invaluable and I love reaching out to people in that way.
But on the flip side, like when I'm in a room with my family or friends, I'm hard pressed not to look at my phone and text someone or respond to a message because it feels so normal and comfortable to communicate using my phone. It's tough to stay actually engaged in the world around you and in the moment.
What is most important to you in life?
Happiness. Freedom. Love. Food. The internet.
Being nice is important, and being good and talented at the things you do. I am lucky. I am blessed (gross, I know). I make ideas in my head and then turn them into music, videos, shows and get paid (sometimes) for that. This moment, this opportunity I'm living in at this moment is what is most important to me.
And my iphone 6 that I just cracked the screen on :(
Follow Dan: @bigdipperjelly