Dezit-Eaze and Dev-Wright: Tell your crew to be ’Eaze-y

Emcee Dezit-Eaze and producer Dev-Wright earn it

Dezit-Eaze (fourth from right) and his crew (including SN&R freelance shutterbug Lindsey Walker cameo, second from right).

Dezit-Eaze (fourth from right) and his crew (including SN&R freelance shutterbug Lindsey Walker cameo, second from right).

Photo By lindsey walker

Find out more at, or catch Dezit-Eaze this Friday, August 21, at Soga’s/21-Seven Bar and Grill in Davis; 217 E Street; see for info.

Rapper Dezit-Eaze is chilling in a Midtown coffeehouse’s backroom, sporting an unbuttoned green plaid shirt with a white tee underneath. To his left is producer and longstanding collaborator Dev-Wright: Pittsburgh Pirates cap, black button-up collared shirt, black jeans. Both artists look pro and show up exactly on time. And this is how they always work.

’Eaze is both an emcee and also a kind of Sacramento hip-hop mogul. Dev is his partner, and they argue that success begins with the small things: arriving promptly, doing the groundwork, following through.

“We came from humble beginnings. We appreciate where we are now,” ’Eaze explains.

Ten years ago, the duo was driving around 916 in a van with no air conditioning and without proper registration, distributing fliers and mix tapes. Now, they sell tens of thousands of units, get hundreds of thousands of YouTube and MySpace views, earn the respect of their peers, and drop tracks left and right.

“That’s what artists don’t do these days, the groundwork,” ’Eaze says.

Born Hakim Richards, ’Eaze just came back from a Northwest tour. He has two albums out (last year’s solo release Pounds, Dollars, Millionaires and a group effort, Project X, which dropped last month). He and Dev run Powerhouse Studios in north Sacramento and lead a hardworking crew, World Xclusive Entertainment.

’Eaze’s forthcoming solo release, tentatively titled Reloaded, is highly anticipated. And for good reason: He’s is a dynamic, forceful rapper.

Known mostly for raps that speak to the streets, ’Eaze’s softer, soulful, R&B-inspired tracks also impress. “Everything” features vocal contributions by Matt Blaque, Auto-Tune style, with ’Eaze dropping verses about what he can offer the females. “Keep It Xclusive,” another pop/R&B track, opens with cool synth strings, ’Eaze rapping, “California / We can drive the coast now / We can drive slow slow ’cause we in love now” to a smooth, soulful beat.

Other tracks are darker, gangsterlike. ’Eaze raps, “You know what the fuck’s up / squad up, squad up” over a foreboding riff of soaring synth highs and minor-key piano slams on “Squad Up.” “Touch Sumthin,” one of Eaze’s best tracks, is a slow, dirty rap produced by Jae Synth, definitely in the vein of that West Coast Dr. Dre sound: psychedelic highs, reverb claps, piano lows, ’Eaze’s dusty baritone raps.

Some tracks are just plain catchy as all hell, like “Stunna Pose,” also produced by Jae, which is an ode to materialism—avaricious, sure, but still addictive with its house-track feel, simple verse-chorus structure and memorable refrain. “Goose,” produced by Dev, is bumpy and has a cool pop vibe, too.

And ’Eaze and Dev make sure that their hooks and rhymes get heard. Xclusive employees shill CDs outside local Wal-Marts; the team Twitters, iTunes, MySpaces; and everyone fliers. And ’Eaze, who took business classes at Cosumnes River College, leads the charge.

“When we first started this, we were both in it for the long run,” ’Eaze says.

Now, they don’t stop.