Dandii Sun apologizes for being in his “rawest form." The 22-year-old from Pasadena, California, doesn't have on pants, and his hair is wet because he's just showered. He's facing a 10-hour work shift after this interview, conducted in in Mansfield, Texas.
It's a struggle for him to make time for his art. The musician, born Joshua Njobe, describes his alter ego as "Joshua with a little more time."
“When I decided music and art in general was going to be something I give time to, I knew I had to change,” he says. “I had been Joshua for so long.”
Njobe has an impressive 21,300 followers on Twitter. He released Sundialing From Dallas in 2015 and is preparing to release a new mixtape, The Sun Can Not Dance, which was produced by Ruminari and King Militia. He says it's inspired by one of his biggest insecurities.
“I was born in '94, and around '98, your boy was already told I could not dance. My fam always told me to ‘do that little dance,' and I caught on to those undertones when I was young.”
He moved to Texas in the summer of 2008.
“I pretty much had to start all over with no friends and no popularity,” he says. “And I really thought I was ugly.”
Njobe says he initially went for shock value when he started rapping because he was the “chubby kid that beatboxed."
“I grew up thinking knowing how to rap was the key to being a black person,” he says. “So of course I was beatboxing in fifth or sixth grade and sounding like Lil Wayne.”
Njobe said he spent most of his time indoors watching rap and drawing videos, which led him write poems and draw on bandanas. He eventually started to rap at Timberview High School’s daily morning cyphers.
“When I left Timberview in 2010, I was known as the kid that rapped well in the commons,” he says.
He went on to Northwood University in Cedar Hill for a time, and then realized he wanted to pursue music as a full-time career.
“After experiencing freedom, then going back to the place you thought you had left, it causes you to accept some things,” he says. “Before then, it was just high school clout.”
In 2013, he began promoting his drawings and songs. Some of them reached Syd Tha Kid, Ab-Soul and CJ-Fly. He ended up getting the opportunity to collaborate with the latter, and soon after, he put out his debut mixtape, Black Sun Love. One of the songs, “Roses,” is still among his most played on SoundCloud.
“I started to gain wild fans and build relationships I wouldn’t have if I didn’t put myself out there,” he says. “I also went to a couple concerts and gave the artists my bandanas.”
Njobe also drew from the many metamorphoses he's undergone for his new work.
“The sun is insecure because he can’t dance, but the moon still wants to dance with him,” he says. “It ultimately asks, 'Are you going to dance or just run away from the opportunity?'”
This is the first time Njobe has incorporated his drawings into his music. He presents them as short films uploaded to his Twitter account.
Stream Dandii Sun's first single from The Sun Cannot Dance, “Tree Dancer Part 1,” on SoundCloud.