Photo by the author
For this week's Mahal, I cruised around the streets of New York with Dro FE, a Texan rapper who recently released a free self-titled EP exploring his childhood in the Rio Grande Valley. In between skating and checking out Symbol, his Lower East Side pop-up shop, we chatted about his music and life on the border of Mexico and Texas.
VICE: Why did you name your last album The Last American Migo?
Dro FE: I named it that as a statement. “Look at me,” [I was saying]. “This is a real migo. This is how I look act and sound.”
What's it like living in the Rio Grande Valley?
It's a place where you can see the poorest of the poor living in a shack, and then one block over, there's a brick mansion with Lambos and pools. The amount of government authorities patrolling the area has increased to the point where all you see are drones and helicopters patrolling the air space at night.
You're a Texan, but you spend a lot of time in New York City. What's your connection to the city?
I have my flagship store for my brands Symbol and Narco Wave in the LES at 17 Essex Street. This city has showed me mad love.
What's the concept for Symbol and Narco Wave?
Narco Wave was actually the name of my first EP, and it developed into its own brand and movement—it's like a wave of drugs. Symbol is a brand for the people. We use it to express certain views that we feel are important.
Do Texans and New Yorkers view your work differently?
Both areas are completely different, but both are supportive. I'm saying real shit from real experiences, so real people fuck with it—plus the concept is new, and the records are based on a real point of view. I think that's why people all over America have been receptive to it.