Last week was good for Dallas rapper David Morgan. On the spur of the moment, he decided to record a response to superstar Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper's #SoGoneChallenge, a viral meme that involves freestyling over Monica's 2003 hit song, "So Gone."
Within a week, Morgan's rendition had garnered almost 1,800 retweets and 3,500 Twitter likes.
“I didn’t even know the #SoGoneChallenge was a thing, but I saw Chance the Rapper do one so I figured I’d do one too,” Morgan says at the start of his video. “He was talking about his girl and I don’t really have one of those right now so ... I mean, I can still rap.”
Morgan's freestyle earned him lots of praise on social media, including at least a dozen comparisons to Outkast's Andre 3000, as well as the attention of influential hip-hop bloggers like LowKey of You Heard That New. Dallas Mavericks forward Justin Anderson shared the video. But for Morgan, who's seen his local buzz ebb and flow in a past life with hip-hop duo the Mohicans, the attention generated mixed emotions.
“When I saw all the mentions on Twitter, I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is tight! This is cool. People are paying attention,’” Morgan says. “It felt cool, but at the same time I felt like, in a couple days the retweets are going to stop and I’m going to be back to myself, so what’s next?"
In 2010, when Morgan was a bright-eyed freshman at Texas Tech in Lubbock, he met another rapper named Devin Calvin from Fort Worth and the two formed the Mohicans. The pair earned a nice reputation on campus with their Southern-inspired tracks and calm and collected verse. With a heavy presence of North Texans at Tech, word quickly got back to Dallas. In 2011 the Mohicans earned a Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act, beating A.Dd+ off the strength of their mixtape Uncas and the song “Fa Shiggadow.”
Things were looking good for the duo as they won a regional College Battle of the Bands competition in Austin, which took them to Los Angeles for nationals where they finished second. But there the Mohicans plateaued.
Morgan and Calvin continued to make music, but school got in the way some and eventually the two realized they preferred making music separately rather than together. “It took a while to get the second project together, so after that we just kinda started working on solo stuff. But we never broke up,” Morgan says. “There was no beef or anything. We’re both two super laid-back, chill-ass dudes and we don’t like to force things. When something cool comes up, we’ll get back on it.”
As a solo artist, Morgan has released five projects, the latest of which is the Genesis EP, released in the spring. “That’s my favorite [project] honestly. It just felt like the most well put together one I’ve done so far,” Morgan says of the 2016 release. “All the songs are big, in a sense; they feel like epic songs.” The nine-track EP is also telling: Morgan brags about his greatness as a rapper, but it's not an attitude he has an easy time maintaining. That braggadocio quickly turns into lamenting the fact that he feels overlooked.
“I can only do so much, and I’m a quiet person, so I don’t like talking about myself that much,” Morgan says. “I need somebody that is going to push me to people. Everybody needs a Dame Dash or how Kanye has Kanye. Kendrick Lamar has a whole team behind him, even though Kendrick is a super reserved person.”
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The attention that Morgan got for his #SoGoneChallenge came as a reminder that his work has the ability to connect with fans, if he could only put himself out there more often.
Ironically, that video wasn't even that different from what he normally posts: Scroll through his Twitter account and you’ll find dozens of videos just like it of Morgan free styling over random instrumentals. Still, he worries that his hesitance will keep him capitalizing on what could be a golden opportunity.
“All that attention was something. I’m not gonna lie and say it’s ‘whatever.’ It was definitely something as far as my confidence,” Morgan says. “I’m just like a ‘What’s next?’ type of person. If I keep working eventually it’ll be a permanent thing. It won’t be something that happens and dwindles down. It’ll be like boom and boom again. I’m still trying to get to that point, but I feel like I’m getting closer.”