Photos by Jake Coleman
Dally does it differently. A patient artist in every sense, the release of the Save Money wordsmith's project Roses has been anticipated for the longest time. Dally Auston doesn't depend on the free flow of singles that has come to be expected from most artists today, which speaks to the caliber of his talent. Not many artists are extended the benefit of the doubt, yet for Roses, it’s never been a matter of if, but when. After releasing some artwork early in January, Roses hopes were high, but Dally has something different in store for us.
No Roses, but something else; he’s not leaving us hanging on Jan. 20, 2017. Says Dally, “it’s a project I’m dropping called 99¢, an idea I had thought about. This is what’s really exciting to me, getting to do whatever the fuck you want. The misdirection in this, it's kind of cool. Having a team and helping me shoot, not be scared to shoot. It’s finding out who I am. I’m ready, I’m ready more than ever. And I had to get ready, to portray that.” 99¢ is the new EP, his first project since The Wood 3 years ago and a clear gift to the fans. "Just know that I'm doing it for the people, regardless of if it's for the cool people." The intention 99¢ is in the name, a reference to one of Dally Auston's biggest visuals a few years back, itself a reference to Save Money and staying a man of and for the people.
99¢ is "really heartfelt, and that’s another thing that’s got me excited for dropping this right now, because nobody’s making it, nobody’s making this type of music. You can define it as a rap album, I don’t really know. Roses is the album that everybody knows is my baby, but the EP is to open people’s eyes on everything else, and why you’ve been waiting...It’s 2 years of ideas to the tape. It’s very heartfelt, it’s nothing short of something real." There's no denying that, and in every way 99¢ sounds like an evolution.
The bar is always high. His music is dense, draped in unraveling layers of lyrics en route to the core of the song. He turns sentences into puzzles, with an ear for beats leaning on extremely tactile, subtle production. Dally can maneuver through anything, whether it's his fan-favorite "W$GTM" or his more recent journey of a song, "My Life". Featureless, 99¢ is Dally Auston on a subterranean adventure, lurking in the shadows of his own words, exploring an underground world laid out by production from That Dude Nate, 5heriff, Banks The Genius, Morimoto and Home-Sick. It starts ominously and ends joyously.
The surprise release was deliberate, an opportunity to get outside the intense bubble of focus on Roses. 99¢ is an update on what Dally has been cooking recently, and “over the past few years, that’s all people know me as, Roses, and right before the year dropped I was like, “man, I know I’m gonna give them Roses”. But I really didn’t drop nothin’ this year, I had sprinkled a little songs here and there, so figured I’m gonna let that ride and keep getting better as an artist...it stems from the ideas that I've built over the last few years, that will eventually lead to Roses".
He doesn't feel the need to explain his schedule, but can, if you must ask. "Why did it take so long? Life is why it took so long. January 2017 is me just having a really good time over the past few years and helping me create what I actually want to create, not necessarily setting myself apart but show what I can do with my name...music has changed a lot, so staying a student of the game and trying not to worry about what people want for me. I have to do what I need for myself...being in a conglomerate like Save Money a lot is expected, but you gotta know who you are and where I’m at."
If there's one impression we leave with as our conversation with Dally Auston ends, it's confidence. No more distractions or negative opinions, he frames it as "it's Dally against The World....". When asked for a one-word description of his approach in 2017, all he has to say is "fearless, just fearless".