1. How did you first get into music?
DB: Honestly, it’s been a long process. I started doing poetry back when I was 14 at a wilderness program, as a means to express misery. Then I stopped writing things down and just kind’ve went about life trying to see the potential wordplay and bars I could make on the fly. Fast forward 12 years, and I’m able to freestyle double and triple entendres, as I feel I’ve proven with my previous work and upcoming catalog release.
2. That’s awesome, I definitely caught some of that wordplay on the last project. Now, I also wanted to ask about your “Codeine Martin” moniker—what inspired it?
DB: It was really just me accepting my history of being an on-and-off-again addict combined with the goal of emulating Dean Martin; in doing stand-up, music, and whatever else comes my way. Now, after the ol’ shadowban on my social media, I’ve decided to rebrand—before I release this major catalog—so, now I just go by my real name: Devon Brent.
3. What made you focus on using your given name? Do you still plan to use your alter ego?
DB: I will still use Codeine Martin to escape serious lyricism at times. I can’t help but say heinous, ridiculous things every now and again. So, yeah, for sure—[I’m] keeping that card in my back pocket.
4. So, we’ve established that you also do stand-up comedy. What got you into that side of the entertainment industry?
DB: I started stand-up at 19. Like every comedian, I had an ego and a need to be laughed with more than at. That’s all comedy—as I’ve learned over seven years—just being comfortable, in control, and most of all, as funny as you can be.
I was atrocious at standup for a solid 3 years at the beginning, performing 10 times a week sometimes, until the “bender.” Four years ago, I spent nine months using an absurd amount of hardcore stimulants and dissasiocatives. In a weird way, I attribute it to my ability to freestyle, there was definitely a shift there… I just became funny on the spot instead of funny in advance, and sometimes I could improvise an entire song on the spot.
One day, I had to go to the hospital because my vision went black and my heart was pounding. It was at least my tenth absurd 4-day all-nighter on that 9-month bender, the doctors said I was sensitized to the substances I was using and if I touched them again I would die. So I got sober from hardcore drugs, got back to stand-up, and became a powerhouse first show back despite taking years off. I love standup and I’m glad I have a big enough ego to continue that drive. It really is a bittersweet artform.
5. I wanted to ask about your upbringing in the DMV… What was it like coming up on that side of town?
DB: Very sheltered and privileged in the beginning when I first moved to America, now I’d say Montgomery County, despite just years ago being one of the richest counties, has gone downhill tremendously. I don’t remember much about the area as I spent most of my time in my room working on passion projects, but I do miss it. I moved out to the country now, to the boonies, and, as we speak I’m getting ready to move from here to DC. I’ve moved a lot in hindsight, never really was good at attaching myself to a hometown or anything.
6. Quite an epic run it sounds like. Well, speaking of moving around, bittersweet artforms and staying motivated… I’d like to move on to the ‘Shattered Dreams’ project with artist/producer SHADOE—what were the beginnings of that collaboration?
DB: Shadoe and I had some interaction on social media at that point and the man can engineer, sing, and put together one hell of an EP. I am perhaps most proud of that as far as my current released catalog goes. I sent him some vocal tracks I had recorded—some written from the old days, some new freestyles—and he did the magic from there. Boom. It came out as one of the most balanced banger EPs I’ve ever heard or made.
7. Where did you guys record your vocals?
DB: I recorded here in Baltimore, in my foam room. Shadoe probably recorded down in Florida, but he’s also from the DMV originally. We blended our vocals together and made quite a masterpiece of wordplay, punchlines, and vocal delivery.
8. I agree. I also love the cover art, who designed it?
DB: That’s all Shadoe.
9. My personal favorite is “Nitro,” with the triplet pattern in the intro. What was the process like for that one?
DB: Again, Shadoe would have to answer that. That’s all him.
10. Okay, I also wanted to ask about your Top Five. Who are your favorite rappers, it can be any order:
DB: I can never answer this question because it’s ever-changing, but…
-and early Childish Gambino
11. A solid line-up. So, what’s next on the agenda? What can we look forward to seeing from Devon Brent?
DB: About a hundred songs in the chamber ready for y’all, but for now enjoy the comedy special, ROASTBEEFRAP, on YouTube:
12. Absolutely, I saw it and it’s hilarious, man, good shit. And where can One West readers find you online?