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Rising Through Tragedy: The Emergence of DD Osama in New York's Drill Scene

Rising Through Tragedy: The Emergence of DD Osama in New York's Drill Scene
DD Osama Notti Osama Dead Opps

The drill scene in New York City has become inescapable. Between the rise and untimely fall of Pop Smoke and the emergence of his peers like Fivio Foreign and Kay Flock, there hasn’t been any shortage of rising stars. While some have been at it for years, others have just begun at a young age. DD Osama burst onto the scene in 2021 when he, his brother, Notti Osama, and rapper Blockwork released “Aftermath.”

“Aftermath” started to take off in 2022, but its success was short-lived following the untimely passing of his Notti Osama at just 14 years old. Following Notti’s death, a resurgence occurred for their song “Dead Pops.” In just a year, the single tallied 17 million views on YouTube as many were following the tragedy and kept up with the rise of very young rappers with developing fanbases.

The Rise of DD Osama

Born David Reyes, DD Osama started taking rap seriously in his early teens along with his brother Notti Osama. Riding off the coattails of the drill scene Chief Keef helped pioneer a decade ago and the current wave in New York, DD Osama understood what made these artists pop and ran with his own style that seemed to call to younger folks in New York City very quickly.

DD Osama and Notti Osama had palpable chemistry, understandable for a pair of brothers hoping to make it big off of their artistic aspirations. Tragedy struck when Notti Osama and another teen got into an altercation that led to Notti Osama’s passing. Tributes then poured in for Notti Osama as a 14-year-old should never have his life ended due to violence. The aforementioned “Dead Opps” from the two brothers took off as it highlighted the potential the two had thanks to their high-octane energy. Granted, there was certainly room to grow and develop, but the song showed just how high the ceiling was.

In an interview with HipHopDX, DD Osama spoke about how rough his earlier songs with his brother were. He reminisced over their chemistry and how much they helped each other grow in their respective raps.

Constant mourning didn’t stop DD Osama from churning out music. In 2022, he dropped ten more singles on his own before upping the ante in 2023 with an album called Here 2 Stay.

Making The Best of An Awful Situation

No one could blame DD Osama if he wanted to step away from hip-hop or if he wanted to take an extended break to properly mourn. Still, tragedy could not keep him away as he doubled down and continued releasing music. DD Osama titled one of the tracks “Letter 2 Notti,” which served as an ode to his younger brother and a promise to keep going. It marked an emotional turn for DD Osama, but one that showed fans that he was able to convey his emotions through song.

DD Osama on Instagram

Future songs would include features from NLE Choppa, Coi Leray, and Lil Mabu, among others which would solidify his place as a rising star in New York’s drill scene. Some of the features wound up on his debut album, Here 2 Stay, which wasn’t an astounding commercial success, but gave people an entry point to his music. 

Hip-hop media were keeping tabs on DD Osama, even if various reviews of his work were mixed overall. While critics were impressed with DD Osama’s rapping ability as well as his knack for crafting a song, most saw an artist whose raw ability still needed work to compete at a high level like his peers.

And even with lukewarm reception, fans are still checking in to see what DD Osama has been working on.

Early in July, DD Osama reunited with NLE Choppa for the fiery “Let’s Do It,” a song that stripped away certain traditional drill elements for something a little more fun and carnivalesque. Though still drill at its core, DD Osama is aware that his sounds need to be different to attract attention in a genre that’s already saturated.

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Lessons from DD Osama

With drill increasing in popularity, DD Osama’s music poses the question of how to stay relevant in a lane where there’s constant infighting, threats from law enforcement, and over-saturation. For DD Osama, the answer was grief and output. 

More than anything, people love a good story. Though DD Osama would change his story in a second if it meant getting his brother back, fueling his anger and grief through music provided him with a salient backdrop that people could gravitate toward. Even so, a good story isn’t enough, you need a reason for people to like you.

DD Osama is only 16 and is still years away from being able to vote and drink legally. Given his talent at such a young age, it’s easy to understand why people are interested in the sudden success of a young rapper. 

DD Osama on Instagram

Of course, these things aren’t necessarily malleable. You can’t manufacture death or success at 16, but you can make yourself likable and intriguing. Artists looking to gain the same success as DD Osama must look inward. If they have a source of pain, grief, or anger, use music as an outlet to vent these frustrations. 

Art is infinitely more appealing when it comes from pain and frustration. Historically speaking, some of the biggest rappers to grace the Earth have had devastating stories accompanying them. One of the clearest cut examples is Kanye West, who lost his mother in 2008 and turned his pain into one of the most influential albums of all time. That’s not to say DD Osama is the next Kanye, but his experiences put him in a position to entice listeners with his story. 

DD Osama represents a new generation of rappers dealing with pain and frustration that’s similar to but different from previous generations. With the ability to express his thoughts and have them out to the world within days or weeks, he’s able to filter his thoughts into raw raps and aggressive songs. DD Osama is a reflection of the world he lives in and that’s what makes him so appealing to New York City and the rest of the world.

FAQ

What is DD Osama’s real name?

DD Osama's real name is David DeShaun Reyes.

How old is DD Osama?

DD Osama is 16 years old and was born on November 29, 2006.

Where is DD Osama from?

DD Osama was born in Harlem, New York.

Who was DD Osama’s brother?

His brother was Notti Osama, who was tragically killed on July 9, 2022.

What song did DD Osama and his brother make?

Shortly after Notti’s passing, their song “Dead Opps” gained momentum

Who has DD Osama collaborated with?

DD Osama has collaborated with artists like Lil Mabu, NLE Choppa, and Coi Leray.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louis Pavlakos
I am a journalist from Montreal who's interested in music, sports, and culture. I previously interned at CBC Montreal and have written for Complex, Audiomack, DJBooth, Exclaim!, and Raptors Rapture.

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