In every city there is a guy that knows a guy, that knows a guy, that knows a guy who knows everybody. In New York City, Dice the God is that guy. Since the early 2000s, Dice has been a part of the infamous downtown scene. Most people might recognize him from renowned streetwear and sneaker boutique ALIFE. Others might know him from his weekly “Bible Study” party series. Either way, if you know him or not, you will now. Let us put you on to game. Find out how to be the man in your city. Even Drake knows, “This is some old Tommy Campos, Dice Raw sh*t.“
MA: What do you do?
D: Nothing man, I don’t do sh*t [Laughs], I’m just a downtown cool kid, I don’t do shit. I don’t work, I don’t do anything.
MA: Naw man, you got a name out here.
D: I just have been around a real long time man. I’m around man, I’m available, I’m working. I’m working. You see me out here.
MA: So you do a lot of different things. How would you describe what you do?
D: If I had to say what I do, I would say marketing is what I do, like unofficially. Hands on, in the street, f*cking calling this person for that person, to get this person, with that person, to get it done, and that is honestly what I want to do.
D: That was a blessing. I was at Prohibit for a year before that, on Elizabeth Street. I just needed a new job and the manager at the time was a good kid. He saw me around being young and shopping at ALIFE. I was like, “Yo, I need a job. I can’t be where I’m at anymore.” He was like, “I’ll call you in a week.” He called me back 10 minutes later like, “Come in tomorrow.” I talked to the bosses, and I’ve been there since I was like f*cking 20. Since 20 years old. They’re really like my family.
MA: How was that experience while working there?
D: I learned so much. I learned everything in life there. I never really went to school or anything like that. I learned everything from my bosses. It was also different, and umm, it was a crazy experience. I was young, I was a child, and thank God ’cause of the connections. I was able to go to all the parties I did, and I was able to host events before I was 21, and [have] been around so many artists and so much culture, it was crazy. Then I started traveling and sh*t got out of hand.
MA: Where is the craziest place you have traveled?
D: I’ve been to a few places, not so many, but everywhere is crazy for different reasons. My time in Italy is so different from my time in Spain.
MA: What were you doing out there?
D: Nothing, chilling, [Laughs] we were just getting drunk. Shout out to my family in Amsterdam, without them I couldn’t be who I am. I couldn’t do the things I do, from the clothing line to the parties. Everything I do from my art is all Amsterdam inspired. I go out to the Netherlands every year. I love that sh*t out there.
MA: Tell us about The City of Gods?
D: The City of Gods is my company. A couple years back I had to open ALIFE L.A. I was out in California for two months and sh*t was popping out there, and those guys were blowing up and killing sh*t. Thank you Dom Kennedy for taking me out every f*cking night. That inspired me and I just really wanted to do something for my city, and I wanted to do some real New York sh*t. Like we are the gods of the city. We are the young n*ggas that can do whatever we want, and it doesn’t take money or whatever. I wanted to document it, but then realized I just can’t do that only for New York. How can we expand this and make it bigger? Maybe we can do this in every city. Just document the sh*t that we do and see.
From that started this party called “Bible Study” every Thursday at IMOK. I did one out in Amsterdam. I’m trying to do one in London this year. Hopefully I can also do one in Miami and L.A. and this sh*t is growing right now. I have the clothing line. I got so much sh*t made that I haven’t put out yet. It’s just sitting in a f*cking box. It’s coming I’m just waiting for the right time; actually everything should be dropping this summer. You are definitely seeing the name; I’m throwing mansion parties, so I’m doing something right [Laughs]. People are coming around. Some people are wearing the f*cking shirts and that sh*t is crazy. I sold most of my “Bible Study” tees which is kind of crazy. I just made a tee shirt for the party and people are wearing that sh*t, and I feel good. It’s a blessing.
MA: How did “Bible Study” come about? What gave you the idea or motivation?
D: Basically, I’ve always hosted parties. I used to work for Roxy Cottontail. I used to work for Bill Spector. I used to work for Bugsy. Thank you to those guys who gave me my start. Even before that I was hosting for DJ Soul and for whatever reason he left IMOK, the spot I got now. They called me one day like, “You want to do this?” I was like, “Yeah, f*ck it, what I got to do?” I had never done this before. I always wanted my own party; Soul had the hip hop already. He had a nice huge following that he kind of took with him. He has a cult following so I had to really build something from nothing. Like the first few parties were horrible, but I found my niche. At that time nobody was really doing trap parties, so I was like f*ck it, I’m going to do a trap night. We can play trap music. We can play whatever we want. We can put on whomever we want. I hire the DJ’s like within the week. I’ll just hit them up if they’re in town. I hit up Hollywood Holt from Chicago, Siobhan Bell from London, and Vic Crezée from Amsterdam. The list goes on but we have fun, it’s good.
MA: What is the theme behind that?
D: Umm, just keeping it around religion without being too disrespectful. And that’s a hard balance because I don’t want to offend anyone’s religion or whatever.
MA: What would you say is the craziest event you had to put together?
D: That f*cking mansion party I threw a couple weeks back. I did this mansion party on a Friday in the Bronx, on the Grand Concourse during the daytime. Thank you to f*cking Hood Chef, Alex from Black Ink, my partners, the people that own the mansion, Stalley, OG Ron C. Everyone that was on that sh*t from Chase N. Cashe, Black Dave, Bodega Bamz always looks out. I couldn’t have done it without that kid. Everybody that was there man. I brought a couple hundred kids to a mansion in the Bronx that no one even knew existed. It’s been there since the 1920s, and it is an ill space. They have beautiful art shows there and cater beautiful events, movies and stuff like that, so it was an honor to throw my party there.
MA: A lot of the dudes you named right now, you’ve known and seen their come up. Dudes like Stalley, Bodega Bamz, and even someone like Drake before he became the phenomenon he now is. How did those relationships happen and how do you continue to maintain them and stay in contact with those dudes?
D: Funny thing is those are my friends before all the music, before f*cking going platinum, before the albums. Those are all my friends. We just grew up downtown. My OVO family, those guys do the same thing we did in New York but in Canada. Stalley has been family. I’ve known all these guys for years before the music. They are actually my friends. They just all happened to go and make music. It’s weird ’cause, like, I know all those dudes way before music.
“They were smart enough to let me do what I want to do. They never gave me any rules, they just like Dice being Dice.”
MA: Do you remember the first day you met Drake?
D: I know Drake through a good friend of mine from Canada, Oliver. First day I met Drake it was downtown, of course, and we went shopping. Ever since that day we’ve been cool, that’s been my n*gga since a long time ago. I’ve known him for about five or six years already. He always looks out when he’s in town. Honestly, my relationships with all these artist are through Tommy, Thomas Campos, who is like a big brother to me. These are like his friends before they became my friends. Like, I’m tagging along with these guys. I’m tagging along with Tommy, I’m tagging along with Cudi and Oliver, and those guys who are a little older than me. They were smart enough to let me do what I want to do. They never gave me any rules, they just like Dice being Dice. They let me wild out and thank God for it. I have beautiful relationships across the world because of it.
MA: You are a native New Yorker. What part of New York are you from?
D: I was born and raised in the Bronx. I spent half my life in the Bronx and the other half in Brooklyn. I lived in every f*cking borough. I lived in Queens Bridge projects. I lived in Staten Island. I even lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey. But I spent most of my time in the Bronx and Brooklyn going back and forth; East New York and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, and Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.
MA: What influenced you as child?
D: Everything. Being from the Bronx. My mom had me at a young age and she raised me around a lot of hip hop. My mom is like a real hip hop Bronx native. She really let me do what I wanted to do. I grew up writing a lot of graffiti in the Bronx. I grew up break dancing. Going to school in midtown, hanging out downtown, and being from the Bronx really got me mixed with cultures. Like I’m from the f*cking hood, but I can chill downtown and do whatever I want, you know. Thank God for that, ’cause going to school in midtown was probably one of the most important things in my life.
MA: What school did you go to?
D: I went to Art and Design High School.
MA: A lot of people link up from that school.
D: A lot of kids link up ’cause you got all the people from all the boroughs coming in. So no matter what, you got friends from every borough, in every color, and in every race. So it’s like I got to chill with these heavy metal kids as much I got to chill with these break dancers and these graffiti writers. It worked out. The best thing was not going to school where I’m from.
MA: Growing up in New York, especially in the five boroughs, some people never really leave the environment which they come from. Meanwhile, you have this scene going on downtown and of course it’s not only kids who are from downtown, it’s kids from all over. Can you describe how it was getting into that mix?
D: Honestly, growing up in Kingsbridge in the Bronx at a time when no one was really into streetwear culture, sneakers or anything like that. I went to school with Jah Jah of Ninjasonik. So it was really just me, Jah Jah, and my brother Douse. So I started chilling with them downtown and they are older than me. It just all blended when I started collecting sneakers. Then there was like a small community that knows about “what” you know. A small community of skaters and cool guys downtown and I was the baby of that sh*t. I’ve been around it since the early 2000s. When I was 16 I use to manage this graffiti shop on Allen Street and from there I went to Prohibit. From Prohibit I went to ALIFE. All my jobs have always been downtown. I’ve always been around. I’ve seen people come, I’ve seen people go. All the old motherf*ckers know who I am. They watched me grow up and know I’m f*cking grown. It feels weird.
MA: Now it is your turn to take over the OG title.
D: [Laughs] Hopefully, that’s what we working on.
MA: I want to go back to your childhood. You said your mother had you at an early age and that she is a hip hop head. You’re a hip hop head. So what did you listen to as a kid?
D: I just grew up listening to a lot of R&B and rap.
MA: Any particular artist?
D: Everything from RUN DMC and Public Enemy my mom played in the house. Slick Rick my mother loved. On the other hand, my father lived in Brooklyn all my life and is from Jamaica. So when I’m in Brooklyn, I’m with the West Indians. My father used to DJ, so it’s kind of funny. So I go to Brooklyn, I’m listening to the reggae sh*t, and when I’m in the Bronx, I’m listening to the hip hop sh*t. I had a good balance growing up, it was an ill upbringing. We didn’t have money but for some reason we made it through. It was great.
MA: So you have to do a reggae party.
D: I’m actually in talks with somebody to get something popping. If they would just f*cking hit me back already. We suppose to be doing a reggae joint. I might hit up Micro Don and those dudes and see if they would be down to do one. ‘Cause it’s really important to me to do one. Probably trying to bring out an artist like Popcaan or somebody. I would love to do that.
MA: What are you listening to now?
D: Umm, f*cking Daft Punk’s new album is on repeat, and now The-Dream’s album is the sh*t! The-Dream’s new album is on repeat right now, but I listen to everything. I try to listen to more up-and-coming people right now. I’m working with a few people who are doing music. I have like three artists, shout out to Jimi from Brooklyn, XRS, Clappo, and this kid named Scotty Dope. They’re from Brooklyn, Atlanta, and New Orleans. They’re all dope. So I’m trying to do my music homework to help these kids, and their sh*t is good. They opened up my mansion party for the other artist and they killed it. All these guys got projects dropping this summer. So you are going to hear from these guys.
MA: Talk about that a little bit. Get your self-promo on real quick. [Laughs]
D: You’re going to see it man. We about to shoot some crazy visuals. We not rushing anything. We’re not going to force feed anything. We going to make the music we want to make and people are going to f*ck with it, and if not f*ck them.
MA: How did you link up with those dudes?
D: [I’ve] known them for quite some time. They always was like, “Do this, do that, you should manage us, help us out, get us some shows,” and I didn’t really want to do it. I was like, “I don’t got time for that sh*t, I don’t know that sh*t,” but I’m sitting here around Stalley and Drake and being around all these guys everyday, it was like I’m drawn to this music sh*t. Now I find myself chilling in the Def Jam office, and Warner Bros. is hitting me up to come up there. MTV hit me up on Twitter to come up there. It’s getting weird. Maybe God is showing me I should be doing this, or at least help these kids out. I’m not mad at them, ’cause these kids are f*cking nice.
“You have to f*ck up, and it gets better every time. The more sh*t you do, the better it is, you learn from your experiences.”
MA: You got a lot of things on your plate. You’re managing these artists, you do some marketing here and there, you have the clothing line going on, and throwing parties and events every week. As a young person on the scene, how do you balance everything?
D: I f*cking don’t man. I hit up all my friends like I really need you to do this, and I have my partner DJ 2-3. DJ 2-3 thank you. He is a little bit of a mentor and helps me get stuff done. He is also an amazing artist. People don’t really know but I do art too. This year I’m planning a City of Gods art show for friends and family. I am working on that for the summer or the fall. That’s why I’ve been drawing a lot lately, I’ve been painting a lot lately, and I am also working on physical stuff too, thinking about making some toys. But, thank God ’cause I really don’t balance it. If it wasn’t for my girl and my partner 2-3, umm, I really couldn’t do it. I tell them I need this and they never ask me why or what. They just get it for me, whether it’s money, a venue, an artist, or a contact I don’t have. Like I need this contact to get this. We figure it out, it’s just us.
MA: What would you say is the hardest part about what you do?
D: The hardest part about what I do is, umm, just f*cking doing it. To do something and that sh*t goes through your head like, “Is it going to work? Is it going to be good? Is people going to respect it and sh*t on it? It took me so long ’cause I was just scared to put sh*t out, or make a mistake, but it’s like you have to make a mistake. You have to f*ck up, and it gets better every time. The more sh*t you do, the better it is, you learn from your experiences. Anybody trying to f*cking do it, just f*cking do it. Don’t listen to your friends. Sh*t just comes at its own time yo. It just clicks in your head, like that sh*t clicked. Every time I leave this country, or leave this f*cking state, something just f*cking clicks. I can come back and just kill sh*t. That last time I left, last time I left and went out to Amsterdam, it just clicked. The party got better, I was able to sell shirts, and I was able to get sh*t moving. Sh*t is rolling. It gets faster and faster, and you got to be able to keep up with it and don’t slow down no matter what.
MA: What are your expectations for the rest of the year?
D: I want to do another big event; like that mansion party was good. Stalley headlined it and I want to do another big event. I don’t know yet, I still have to figure it out, but it has to be just as good as the mansion ones. I got some tricks up my sleeve. I’m about to call in some favors again.
MA: Any last words?
D: No. F*ck everybody. Come find me. [Laughs]
Check out Dice The God’s new party at The DL on 95 Delancey ave.
and his “The City of Gods Heaven logo” t-shirt.