Music, Culture, and Community with DevRock

Rock on, Dev

DevRock is a Hip-Hop artist, poet, businessman, husband, father, and educator in Baltimore City. In 2017, he co-founded the Media Rhythm Institute. MRI is an award-winning educational incubator that develops the next generation of media and entertainment industry professionals through STEM-based workforce training, academic achievement, and industry opportunities. In addition to MRI, DevRock has launched several successful music-focused endeavors including BUILD Thursdays, a local performing platform for the Baltimore Hip Hop scene; The Baltimore Mixtape Project; and Deserve LLC. DevRock’s latest album, The Truth (Vol. 1), pieces his focus on the community through a culmination of work he completed with friends and family.

What is it about Hip-Hop in particular that has inspired you to develop programs and projects around it?

Hip-Hop is a language that is understood by people who come from where I come from and people who don’t. Hip-Hop has a unique ability to bridge gaps between generations, cultures, races, and any differences really. Hip-Hop historically has had the fastest widest spread of any phenomenon in this world. But, even with all that. I just love it. It’s a part of who I am from my father and uncles putting me on to music as a child, my love has done nothing but grow. Hip-Hop has been my lifeline. Hip-Hop has been my means of providing for myself and my family my entire adult life. So I have no choice but to try to create institutions and programs that can help young people to have that same opportunity as I did.

What experiences inspired you to get involved in starting the Media Rhythm Institute and embarking on opening MRI Studios?

My entire life I have benefited from hip hop as an artist, teacher, student, and consumer. But my business partner Jimmie Thomas and I realized the need to give young people the experiences that we’ve had without them having to go through the trials we did to create the relationships and networks for success in the business of hip hop and entertainment.

New Visuals from Dev

Who are some of your biggest musical influences and how have they helped you shape your sound and message?

I started rapping because of Archie the Messenger. On the Fish Bowl DVD, this man said “I never needed a chain, my skin cost cash” that was all I needed to hear. Before that all I listened to was braggadocious I’m slicker than you rap. And when I realized I could talk about social problems and real-life issues I decided that I could have a place in the conversation. So I began making my own music in about 2008. Having said that, my favorite artists are Jay, Drake, and Cole on a mainstream level. I love almost all of the rappers in Baltimore because we got that feeling, yo. I dig Rhapsody, Kae Melody, and Ari Lennox… I mean how deep do I wanna go here. This could be a whole interview within itself.

How has your focus on your community shaped your songwriting process?

Since I began writing my entire process was about writing messages that other people could learn and or benefit from. In a way I was “preaching to people” I was an activist poet. But, this latest project is special because it’s the first time I wasn’t trying to tell everyone things they should know. Instead, I just talked about my growth and my feelings as it relates to things happening around me and the people I love.

In what ways has your using hip hop as an educational and social outreach tool fostered change in Baltimore? Do you have any specific goals for the alumni of Media Rhythm Institute (MRI)?

There are a lot of negative outlets in communities like Baltimore that young people can get swept up in. Being able to build a rapport with a younger generation that is bonded in hip hop and positivity is really what motivates me. I can see the change in my MRI youth when they realize that their gift of beat-making or their gift of a flow can put some money in their pockets, or put them on the stage in front of a crowd of the whole city. Through MRI and being an emcee, I can give these teens and young adults options

Not only through MRI. but by being a real emcee I can have the type of conversations and provide the type of opportunities that are going to make a young brother want to come to the studio to put in his work instead of hanging on the corner. I want my MRI alumni to have the skills, know-how, and access to the things I didn’t get until later in my Hip-Hop career.

New Dope

What goals do you have for your music? Are you planning for The Truth (Vol. 2)?

As cliche as this will sound. I just want people to hear this music. I want it to affect them the way good art does. I want them to know they can be themselves in whatever they love to do. And whatever comes from that I can accept. I feel so good about this body of work that I’m not sure what to do next for my next project. So before we move on there will be more music videos and other things surrounding getting this project out to as many people as possible. Just to be clear though, don’t be confused I stay writing. Clips loaded but my entire family was a part of creating The Truth Vol. 1 and now I want them all to have the feeling I feel with this project being released about their artistry. So first up will be KRay, her album is gonna be crazy. We’re already 60% in and gearing up for the second phase of our process.

DevRock is one of my favorite artists locally because he genuinely cares about educating the next generation and the betterment of Baltimore as a whole. I highly recommend diving into his catalog while keeping your eyes/ears open for what’s next from Dev/his fam. Give him a follow on IG to stay hip to what’s now and what’s next.

I’m your friendly neighborhood MC Bravado; many thanks for reading. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and/or your favorite place to grab music. Please remember to be kind to one another and that “Michael Jordan is the GOAT” is a fact and not an opinion.




The greatest Rapper/English Teacher to grace the Earth, ever. As seen/heard on many a noteworthy publication, record, and stage. @MCBravado

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MC Bravado

MC Bravado

The greatest Rapper/English Teacher to grace the Earth, ever. As seen/heard on many a noteworthy publication, record, and stage. @MCBravado

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