Five years ago, this kid in my US 101 class wore flat-brimmed baseball caps and strolled in two minutes late every day, always apologetic. He appeared to be an average guy, a film major from the big city of Portland adjusting to the small-town lifestyle, the kind of class clown the teacher never truly gets mad at.
Four years later, that guy graduated on time with a film degree and now he’s a full-time rapper. Fresh off the road from a tour of the Northwest, David Dalla Gasperina, a.k.a. Dalla G, has made a name for himself as a mainstay in the Montana hip-hop scene.
Dalla G started working with Andrew Van Dyken, better known as DJ Surebert, about a year and a half ago. The two have become an inseparable act, playing high-energy shows with a local live band and developing their own sound with a synergy that shows.
The two released “The Show EP” on Feb. 18, the day before their 11-day, seven-show tour which began in Missoula and ended in Big Sky. Now back home in Bozeman, they’re having a belated EP Release Party on March 29 at the Zebra, which Dalla G calls “our home turf, if we have one.”
Surebert produced all eight tracks on the EP and the two worked closely to make it flow cohesively. “We wanted it to be where you can just listen to the whole thing as one track,” Dalla G said. Recording it in local producer and emcee Mic-B’s studio in Belgrade helped, making a “more personal” recording experience, Surebert said, allowing them to relax in the studio without feeling pressed for time and money. “We could continually change it, and Mike being a producer could help me, we’d go back and forth with the beats.”
“The Show” is a testament to the duo’s rising success and the relationships they’ve built playing shows together: “All the features are from people we’ve met through shows or doing shows,” Surebert said. Its production quality, backed up by featured artists Luckyiam of Living Legends, Shelton Harris, Mic-B and Megan Hamilton, proves that Dalla G and Surebert’s dedication to playing live shows has paid off. At the same time, Dalla G doesn’t take himself too seriously, rapping about working at the Gap and simply reminding the audience to “paaaaarty!”
The EP Release Party at the Zebra will be special because “it’s not often we get to play in Bozeman as a headliner,” Surebert said, and Dalla G promises “the longest set I’ve done so far with a band and fun special stuff” to mark the occasion.
Currently, Dalla G only performs with a live band close to home in the Bozeman area, which makes for dynamic live shows that set him apart from rappers who stand on stage with computers. He’s planning on taking the band on an upcoming run of Montana shows, including one in Cooke City on April 20.
Since releasing his first EP as a senior in college, Dalla G has certainly come a long way. No longer asking producers for pre-made beats to rap over, his consistent collaboration with Surebert and a live band has elevated the quality and appeal of his music which shows in both the studio and live settings. The evolution is sure to continue, with Dalla G dedicating all of his time to building his career as a rapper, booking and promoting shows. Meanwhile, Surebert holds down a part-time job in the kitchen at the Holiday Inn which allows him flexibility to hit the road at a moment’s notice.
The two are constantly working on new material and promise new singles with music videos in the near future. They plan to stick around Bozeman for the time being, helping build our hip-hop scene as they build names for themselves. For a reasonable cover charge of $5, see what they’re all about next Friday at the Zebra. Doors open at 9; get there early to catch an opening set by local ska conglomerate Skavocado.