Photo Credit: Cam Kirk @thecamkirk
ATLANTA, Ga. (In The City Magazine) – He’s known as one of the most talented, influential,
and innovative DJs in the music industry. Jackson, Miss. native DJ T. Lewis recently released his album, “Don’t Sleep” which is his reminder to people to avoid overlooking him.
DJ T. Lewis, whose real name is Terrell Lewis, is best known as the current tour DJ for hip-hop
icon Lil Wayne, who he considers “the greatest rapper of all time.” But he wants to be known for much more than that. He still feels that he’s slept on and overlooked, which is what inspired his new album.
DJ T. Lewis said music has always been in his blood. When he’s not on tour with Lil Wayne,
he’s busy working at Atlanta’s Hot 107.9 radio station or doing other shows in the Atlanta metro area or across the country. 'Don't Sleep' taps into DJ T. Lewis’ talents as an artist, producer, creator, and innovator.
You can hear his passion and hunger from the intro to the outro.
“A lot of emotion went into creating this album because of the amount of work I put into it,” he
said “I feel that folks still be sleeping on me. I try to be humble and try to know that I’m doing
this the right way. I work in my own lane.”
He said this album is important to him because of the long creative process and the adversity he overcame to finally release it. He was originally going to release it around 2014 or 2015 as a mixtape until one of his artists at the time died. Throughout the process of creating this album, his recording equipment and all his music were stolen from him during the recent ‘Welcome to the Carter’ tour with Lil Wayne.
“I had everything stolen from the beginning of the tour,” he said. “That’s why the song ‘Long
Time’ really hit me. We lost everything. They stole Wayne’s show computer, and I lost all of my
beats, all of my music, and my hard drives. My engineer was with me, and all of the backups were
also stolen. I was able to salvage possibly ‘Back and Forth’ and the outro ‘Won’t Miss. We’re
almost to a million views on YouTube. All of the rest of the songs were brand new. I just went
into work mode. A lot of people believed a lot of people didn’t.”
The album title is a triple entendre that may go over a lot of people’s heads, he said. Don’t sleep is also terminology from his hometown in Jackson and he said it’s something that he used to say all of the time.
“That’s what Don’t Sleep is about. It is a feeling, it’s more than just saying ‘don’t sleep’ because everybody feels slept on in some realm of the word,” DJ T. Lewis said. “My favorite song off of the project right now is all of them. This is not a super over-the-top trap or vulgar project. Each artist touched me differently. The record ‘Long Time’ with Zack is one of my favorite tracks because it speaks to my heart and pain. I put that on it for a reason because I want folks to feel that.”
The 10-song album features Dungeon Family icon Big Rube, Big Bank, Atlanta rapper Shad
Da God, Coke Bumaye, Young Money artist Jay Jones, Skull-E, Zack Slime, Emoni, YDN and
Big Bawwdy. The intro song ‘Don’t Sleep’ features his hometown friend Coke Bomaye and
Atlanta artist, producer, and entrepreneur Big Bank.
“I got Big Bank on the intro because I feel you’ve got to listen whenever Big Bank talks. The
intro is one of my favorite records because of the energy we gave out. The name of the record was ‘Don’t Sleep’ and we’re like ‘What’s up?’ Now, you’re going to be rocking with us,” said DJ T. Lewis.
Among his favorites, DJ T. Lewis also pointed out the outro track ‘Won’t Miss’ featuring Skull-
E, and Big Rube. “I was working on the project and reached out to DJ MLK and asked if he can help link me up with Rube,” he said. “I told Rube my vision and I first paid my respect to him. He’s such a legend and I feel he’s like one of the voices of Atlanta. Growing up, me wanting to move to Atlanta and be a part of the music culture and DJ culture, watching the movie, “ATL” and listening to him on older projects. With me being in Atlanta, I wanted to do something that was related to everything where I can tie in what I’m feeling from my sector of the world to their sector of the world. I thought ‘Who better to express that than the poet himself.’ Just hearing his voice gave me chills.”
The album was released on Friday, Aug. 11 which marked the 50-year anniversary of hip-hop,
something he said is special to him.
“Hip-hop means everything to me. I do not know what I would be doing without it,” he said. “This is how the world aligns this up. I was intentionally dropping this project on Aug. 11 for
myself as an early birthday present to myself. It proved to me that I could do this. This is my
show and tell. It lets me know that I can produce the project, executive produce the project, I can get features together. It is humbling because at the end of the day, it lets me know that God is not playing in the plan he has for me.”
Lil Wayne recently was inducted into the Billboard Hip-Hop Hall of Fame, something that DJ T.
Lewis said is amazing for all music fans. The song ‘Uptown’ with Jay Jones also features a snippet of Lil Wayne’s voice from an interview from several years ago.
“Wayne means everything to hip-hop,” he said. “He shaped the culture so much that he had all of us wanting to be like him since he was 14. He had the braids and the bandana to the big jerseys. He was the representation of down south of what hip-hop was. He is everything to the culture. He is still going now, killing songs. These young kids want to be like him. He is the culture.”
He also offered a piece of advice for anyone listening to his album and hopes it motivates them.
“Sometimes, it really takes a long time to get to where you want to go to, but you have got to
stay on board and stay on track,” he said. “Hopefully, someone can listen to my project and hear what Rube said and it motivates them to get money and to better themselves.”
The album is available on all streaming platforms.