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DAHV BOMB - Tweenage hip-hopper to threatening thug: 'Don't be silly'Eleven-year-old Dahv (just Dahv) is a pop star from southern Maine via Danvers. She's written several songs, and she's toured a little, performing them with the Radio Disney road show. They're glossy concoctions of bubblegum pop and hip-hop, with a smidgen of spunky mall punk tossed in. And she sings about the things you'd think a girl her age would sing about. "School" is about, well, school ("Gotta learn my 'rithmetic/French class makes me sick/At lunch is where I mix"). "Slumber Party" is a shout-out to sleepover sisterhood ("One more thing, no boys allowed/Tonight you're my girls and I'll say it proud").
Obviously targeting the tweenage demo, these songs aren't exactly striving for hard-core hip-hop street cred. So it was a little strange when some dude showed up on Dahv's message board (www.teamdahv.com) last week and called out her hip-hop bona fides. "[W]hat you all need to do is get off this site, pick up a gun, and have a suicide party, cuz this is the biggest joke ever, fuckin losers," he wrote. "[F]uck wanna be's [sic]." Then, it got worse. The guy posted again with lyrics of his own: "wastin time, thinkin you it/so i waste ya, bit by bit/pick up my gun, and kill that bitch."
Jeff Greenfield, executive vice-president of World Class Media, the consulting firm hired by Dahv's parents to help promote her, explains that "last week, out of the blue, someone found her site and posted it on one of the underground hip-hop message boards. They were saying, 'Can you believe this girl thinks she's a rapper? She can't rap, yadda yadda yadda.' But we've never marketed her as a rapper; she's been marketed as a girl who sings pop-style music with age-appropriate lyrics. Rap is in every music these days, so she happens to rap a little. But she's not a 'rapper' per se." Still, within a week, "she was being discussed on about 500 Web sites. As this started to accumulate, a person from Iowa went on her message board and posted death threats."
Greenfield tracked the guy's IP address to Iowa Telecom, which in turn traced it to a library in a town called Lake View. An e-mail address is required to log onto computers there, so police were able to track down the individual. Greenfield says the cops were familiar with him, and that "they characterized the young man as being 'a future highway sniper.' "
When reached by telephone, Dahv just shrugs the whole thing off. "Yeah, it was kinda silly," she says, her chirping voice belying her maturity. "Some people that are older, and not age appropriate for my site, they're just gonna go a little crazy and think I'm a little strange for being so young and performing. I just thought it was kinda silly."
The message-board malefactor - whose Yahoo profile identifies him as a 23-year-old "muthafuckinundergroundhiphopartist," with a photo depicting a hulking, tattooed thug - has been banned from the Lake View library, and Greenfield says police there have referred the case to county prosecutors, who will decide on further punishment.
Meanwhile, Davh is just gonna keep rapping. (Look for a debut album this spring.) "Hip-hop today, sometimes it's about inappropriate stuff, like drugs and sex," she says. "That's not what I talk about. I talk about what I do, like sleepovers and just talking about me."
Greenfield wonders why some fans find it so hard to tell the difference. "On certain boards, people have spoken up and said, 'Hey, I think her music is supposed to be for, like, nine-year-olds.' This kid didn't seem to get that point. Music can make you happy or make you angry, but when it's obviously not meant for you, you should just go away."
Dahv puts it more plainly. "Those 22-year-olds, they're just kinda confused." So what would she say to the creep if she ever got the chance? "Oh, you mean the bad guy? Well, my manager made it so he couldn't go back on the site. But if he tried to get on, I'd just say, 'Hey, welcome to Team Dahv!' or whatever. That's what I usually say to people there who are a little crazy."
Listen to Dahv's music at www.dahv.com, or say hello - nicely! - on her message board at www.teamdahv.com.
Issue Date: December 24 - 30, 2004
Music Review: DaHv - "Suburbia Disturbia"
What if Eminem had been born into more favorable circumstances? Would his music have been different? What if he had two parents who cared about him and who gave him a middle class to upper middle class lifestyle? It is kinda funny at first, if you think about it. Like what could there possibly be in that world to write songs based in anger and pain? Then again, I suppose those things are relative. One kid's pain over a crackhead mom might be the same as another kid's pain over a dad who works too much, at least from the perspective of that person.
What led me to this train of thought was a friend request I received the other day on Myspace from a rap/pop artist who just happened to be a 14 year old girl from Boston. I checked out her profile and she lists some of her major influences as Eminem and Avril Lavigne. I listened to the songs she has up on her Myspace and I liked "Suburbia Disturbia" right away. So, I read over the info on that page and then went to her main website to learn more.
I found out she is a serious performer who has had a mention in Billboard magazine, been inducted in some way into Radio Disney's artist incubator program, and had one of her songs featured as the background music to a political cartoon on whitehouse.com. Not bad for a 13 year old.
She co-writes her own songs and says, "I wanted to write about things that my friends and other kids my age could relate to. Going to the mall, the classes we all hate in school, and all of the crazy things that go on at parties."
She does the song Suburbia Disturbia in a sort or pap/rap format and it works for her. In it she talks bout some of the problems facing a teenager in middle class New England (she mentions her posse in Martha's Vineyard in one of her blog entries... nuf said). Since she lists Eminem as one of her major influences, I couldn't help but picture Eminem doing songs based on similar circumstances and it was pretty funny. Then again maybe it is something like thinking of Weird Al Yankovic doing some kind of cover of an Eminem song.
On the other hand, what is Rap music really? It is about observing the world around you and setting those observations and the feelings they create to music. I guess that is why Rap has become pretty universal. It's crossed many lines of separation, from its beginnings as a strictly inner city phenomenon to becoming the current driving force in mainstream mainstream music.
In "Suburbia Disturbia" she makes a lot of observations with a kind of wry humor and surprising wisdom. If you listen to the words in the song from the perspective of a parent, it might get a little embarrassing to realize your kids really do notice this stuff. For example, she notes that Starbucks is where "divorcees and soccer moms stand on common ground," or they "drive around in SUV's that are always full of crap".
I think that she is being deliberately hilarious with this song. Yet, like any good artist, she does make you think and maybe laugh at yourself just a little bit (or at least at your neighbor). So instead of seeing her as just another 13 year old with starstruck dreams, I ended up seeing her as a serious artist.
Okay sure, maybe her music will appeal mostly to other kids her own age and that is appropriate. Yet, I can listen to it and get something out of it, so it does kind of transcend the kiddie pop genera if you let it. I will be interested in seeing where her career goes from here once she gets signed to a label. You can check out DaHv on her Myspace page.