Gettysburg rapper drops first solo album

Gettysburg is usually known for its Civil War history, not its rap music. 

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Gettysburg is usually known for its Civil War history, not its rap music.

But Caleb Joyce, who goes by Dubby, has been contributing to the Gettysburg rap scene and encouraging others to do the same.

Dubby, 24, of Gettysburg, has been drawn to the rap realm since he was a seventh-grader at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School. His first solo album, "Heart & Havoc," dropped Tuesday.

So how does a Gettysburg teen, who is surrounded by history and people focused on the past, make it into the future of rap? At the beginning, it wasn't so easy.

He first took his shot at the rap game while playing high school basketball in Gettysburg. His teammates, who inspired his appreciation for rap and hip hop, were the first to hear the first rap song he ever wrote.

"They made fun of me, but said it wasn't bad," Dubby said.

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Local hip-hop artist Caleb Joyce, known as Dubby, works in the Full Tilt Recording in Mechanicsburg. Kaitlin Greenockle - The Evening Sun

Dubby 'finds a way'

In his song "Chase," Dubby wrote, "So I asked her, why she don't mind the chase, cause she told me she gonna find a way."

The lyrics are about a woman who is confident she'll find a way to be with the man she loves. But Dubby has also been "finding a way" in his own life, chasing his dreams ever since he shared his first song with his teammates.

Although Dubby wrote his first rap in high school, he started writing music when he was in fourth grade. He was into new-age rock music and influenced by Limp Bizkit, P.O.D. and Linkin Park back in those days.

As a freshman in high school, he was in a rap group and made CDs, which they "dished" out in the hallways for $5. They made about $700, Dubby said.

The Bench Mark Program

- Founded by Will Kiefer.

- Helps at-risk youth get out of bad areas.

- Dubby visits with the kids there.

- A portion of Team Loko Apparel profit goes to the program.

From Gettysburg, Dubby moved on to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and majored in communication media, focusing on entertainment marketing and public relations.

While there, he helped found a clothing line, Team Loko Apparel, and partnered with the Bench Mark Program, a nonprofit for at-risk youth founded by his high school friend, Will Kiefer.

Throughout high school, Dubby produced music with other people, but it was hard to hear his identity, Kiefer said. Once he was in college and went solo, he established himself.

After interning for a communications company in Philadelphia, Dubby returned to his musical career, hoping to bring some of his new voice back home.

The Gettysburg rap scene

Dubby has performed a few shows in the Gettysburg area at venues like The Pike, the rec park on Long Lane, the ATO fraternity house at Gettysburg College and the Moose Gettysburg Moose Lodge, as well as some private parties.

One show at The Pike drew about 150 people — one of the biggest crowds he's played for locally. But for the most part, Dubby said, the Gettysburg rap scene has proven slow to take hold.

"The Gettysburg Borough would never support a thriving hip hop community," he said. "Not a chance."

But that doesn't mean there aren't other talented rappers in the area.

About six months ago, he said, there was a spark in the local rap scene.

"People were dropping music, making videos, putting together shows, and the hip hop scene felt really alive for a bit," Dubby said.

But these sparks come and go in waves, he said. Many rappers in Gettysburg see their music just as a hobby. Only a few people, Dubby thinks, put the time into their craft to make the local hip hop scene special.

Finding venues that want hip hop artists is also a challenge.

Evolution of 'Dubby'

- Born Caleb Joyce.

- His basketball coach would call him "Killa" because he couldn't pronounce Caleb.

- Coach then changed it to "K-Dub," then "C-Dub"

- Once he went solo, he changed his name himself to "Dubby"

"There is no demand for rap music in Adams County," he said.

Recently, he has been performing shows in Cleveland, but mostly he performs in the Pittsburgh area since he attended college out that way. Lancaster has also been a location that has been good for shows in recent years, he said, but he generally goes wherever there's a slot open.

"When I perform in Gettysburg, I like to space out the shows because you have a lot of familiar faces, and it is such a small town that if you do too many shows in a short amount of time, people will be less inclined to go," Dubby said.

Dubby's hope for the Gettysburg area is to see the hip hop scene grow stronger. In order for that to happen, more local artists need to commit to their work, he said.

"Either be about the business and have pride in your craft, or take a step back and support the culture without diluting it with propaganda," Dubby said.

Dubby's sound and 'Heart & Havoc'

When Dubby was just a teenager, he made a call to audio engineer Jason Shaffer to talk about producing his music.

After just a few sessions, Shaffer could tell Dubby was going about his music differently than most.

Shaffer now has his own production studio in Mechanicsburg, Full Tilt Productions, where the two continue to make Dubby's music.

"This (the recording studio) is my favorite place in the world. I could live in this place. I've always wanted to do this," Dubby said.

A lot of rap music today sounds the same. It's a lot of trap and auto tune, Dubby said. He tries to be a bit more musical and different, so he isn't so predictable.

'Heart & Havoc'

When: Available now

Where: Major distribution sites and Dubby's website, www.dubbyteamloko.com

Featured artists: M. Maggie, Semmi, Choo Jackson and Cal Mobley.

Kiefer also described Dubby's style as unique, saying the music is refreshing and lyrics go beyond the rap tropes of drugs, money or degrading women.

Every song on "Heart & Havoc" has its own message and theme. There is also a decent variety of sound on the album, Dubby said.

In "Chase," for example, he raps lyrics like, "My chest holds nothin' but a black hole where my heart should be; man this havoc is a part of me."

Darian Conklin, who goes by Cal Mobley, met Dubby their freshman year of college. They have been working together as individual artists for four years, and Mobley is featured in two songs on "Heart & Havoc."

"Sonically, I'd really put him in a league of his own," Mobley said of Dubby's sound. "He's kind of like the hidden gem of the underground hip hop scene right now,"

Dubby has the ability to draw in listeners in different ways, while still keeping his fresh sound, he said.

"I can say with full confidence that Dubby will create his own ceiling in this industry, and undoubtedly make it to where he wants to go," Mobley said.

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