Updated: Apr 26
OG Dayv opens the garage door of his house in Richmond, California. Instead of uncovering a collection of cars and motorcycles, he unveils a typical garage filled with boxes of Kirkland baby wipes, tanks with his pet snakes, shelves with construction supplies, and clothes racks. But in the middle of this mundane domestic wonderland lies an oasis where the magic happens: his home recording studio.
There is another studio setup in his living room, much smaller than in his garage. It may be there to capture inspiration the moment it hits.
For a rapper, composer, and music producer who has placed music in some of the most high-profile films in recent memory, including Judas and the Black Messiah, Creed III, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, this setup is indie in its purest form. What's more indie than using a box of baby wipes for a bass trap? But as simple as his studio setup gets, it is where OG Dayv is often at his musical best.
OG Dayv, whose real name is Noah Coogler, was a child prodigy in a family of artists that includes film director Ryan Coogler. He began producing beats at nine and released his first album at 12. Born and raised in Richmond, California, he listened to homegrown music from acts like The Frontline, E-40, Mistah F.A.B., and Mac Dre. But what's even more important, aside from the music he absorbed in his youth, what's even more important is the independent spirit that the Bay Area is famous for, which he still embodies today.
"The Bay Area is kind of... we have this like so-called independent hustle kinda blueprint that we're known for," OG Dayv said in an exclusive on-camera interview inside his Richmond residence. "A lot of people don't realize that Master P started in Richmond. And his blueprint for the solo independent artist hustle is one that we follow to this day."
As prolific a songwriter as OG Dayv is, he believes choking the bone is the worst way to get to the marrow.
"The most important thing for me, when it comes to songwriting, is not overdoing it," OG Dayv said. "Just like how you can over-season when you're cooking, you know? Don't overdo it. Don't be too deep but also don't be shallow."
The goal is to strike a perfect balance – simple yet sophisticated, complex but relatable. And this is achieved by sticking to what really matters in OG Dayv's music: connection and honesty.
"I try to make a lot of songs that are relatable. I try to make a lot of songs that connect," OG Dayv said. "That's how you connect to your fanbase. That's how you connect to your core audience. I don't have any rituals or anything, but I just try to make sure that I remain honest and open. When you are honest and open and put your feelings on the record, you know, that resonates with the fans."
Holding a Bright Future
Last summer, OG Dayv was in Los Angeles and worked with another Bay Area producer named D.T.B., and the first track they did was a number called Limoncello. Then, his big brother Ryan called and asked him to name a few artists he could call to be featured in this solo record.
"I gave him a few names. Future was one of the names," OG Dayv said. "He was the biggest name on the list that we said would reach out.
After a month or so, his manager, D-Lo, called and asked him to send Limoncello with an open second verse as soon as possible. This was the confirmation that an artist had signed up for the feature.
"They didn't tell me who. They just said we need you to get this, get this sent over ASAP," OG Dayv said.
A few more weeks passed, and D-Lo sent him a file called Limoncello Rough Mix. Not knowing what to expect, he played the track and got the surprise of his music career.
"I hit play, and Future's on the record," OG Dayv said as he remembered his disbelief. "Like it's really, really, It's really happening!"
Getting top M.C.s in the game featured on a track is a tall order. For him, who has been making music for 20 years, it took that long to get it. And there will be more. He revealed that one of his main influences, E-40, will be in his next album
"I am realizing now that the hard work has come to this point," OG Dayv said, still in disbelief.
The disbelief comes from the fact that he is not signed to a major label. He doesn't have the backing of big companies to make things like this happen. He is indie to the core. So for his idols to agree to be featured on his records is a massive feat. However, he has his brothers, one of which is a top Hollywood director. But OG Dayv quickly debunks that angle.
"Yes, Ryan Coogler is my brother, but he's a film guy. He's not a music guy," OG Dayv said. "We're in this music industry treading the waters trying to figure out how to make it work."
After getting Future on Limoncello in September, OG Dayv spent October mixing the track and signing paperwork. And when that was done, he got a call from his manager informing him that the track would be in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
"Being on the soundtrack is one thing. But being in the actual film is a whole other beast because more people are gonna see the film than buy the soundtrack," OG Dayv said. "It's life-changing."
Undoubtedly, the success of the track and the film introduced OG Dayv to a new audience, which resulted in the gradual increase of his popularity in the business. While it's not a gigantic leap, he is happy to rake in the wins.
"When I dropped the record with Future, I had just over eight thousand followers," OG Dayv said. "We're getting ready to crack 14 and a half thousand now. It's a slow process, but it's gradual. People are starting to tap in. People are starting to commit, and I couldn't be more excited."
Limoncello is a milestone for the gifted OG Dayv, not the end goal. He believes he has so much more to offer. His newly found audience will be delighted with his new projects, including the tracks he contributed to the album Welcome to the Bay, under the Rhymez Library, represented by APM Music.
The Sound of the Bay
The ten-track Hip-Hop record is about real life in the Bay Area, warts and all. OG Dayv has three songs on this album:
He got involved in the project through a recording engineer, "Karina," whom he was working with for a short film project. She mentioned having a friend named "P," who licenses music for film and television and is currently producing an album for that exact purpose. Later, P contacted him, told him about the project, and sent him the tracks to rap on.
"He sent the beats over. I did the songs and sent them back, not really knowing or understanding the entire process as a whole, but he's like, 'don't worry, we're gonna pay you, we're gonna take care of everything, all we need you to do is to rap on the songs," OG Dayv said.
Welcome to the Bay is opening more doors for OG Dayv, especially in spheres where he doesn't usually go, like television and advertising, where Hip-Hop is such a sought-after genre.
"I kinda live by the motto, 'if they build it, they will come," OG Dayv said.
"If you continue to create quality music and put out quality content, the fans and the love will come to you."
Where We Headed
Whole Lotta Flair
Streets in the Bay
On Beast Mode