Drae Michael Smith (D-RAE) was born on July 29, 1991 in Salem, Ohio. Growing up in the small town of East Palestine, Ohio, he was exposed to all types of music and showed a somewhat extreme interest in music at an early age. Starting at the age of 4, Smith would perform all his favorite songs using a toy microphone and music playing from the home stereo system. It became clear very early that music was in his blood and would more than likely become a big part of his life. In the 5th Grade, Smith was introduced to hip-hop and fell in love not long after. He attended his first hip-hop/rap concert in the 5th grade and while he had always loved all types of music, it quickly became clear that hip-hop was his favorite genre. At the age of 14, Smith realized that he wanted to take his love and passion for music to another level. He decided that he was going to begin writing and recording his own lyrics in the form of hip-hop songs.
With the help of life-long friend, Matt Greene, he began recording songs using a computer microphone and Window’s Sound Recorder. The next few years would prove to be a challenging time for Smith who took a significant amount of criticism and animosity for what he was trying to do. The criticism while harsh was understandable. Smith, being a young teenager was rapping about guns, violence, drugs and everything else he had heard in the music he was listening to but was certainly not involved with growing up in small town in Ohio. The music was very low-quality and was something that his blue-collar community was not familiar with or accepting of. Even with the amount of negativity coming his way, Smith vowed to him self that this was his dream and he was going to work as hard as possible to prove all of his doubters wrong. Over the next 4 years, during Smith’s high school days he continued to constantly work on his craft and improve his music. With the help of his friend Jon Louthan, he released a number of free mix tapes to classmates, showing improvement and growth with each one. Eventually he started recording at a professional recording studio and performing his music live across Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. On August 14th, 2010, Smith took the stage as an opening act for Atlantic Record’s Recording Artist Wiz Khalifa who was one of his favorite artists growing up. He gave a tremendous performance and finally had gained the attention and respect he had been working so hard for over the years.
With his music improving and gaining attention, Smith and his partner Jon Louthan decided it was time to take everything to the next level and become more serious. In 2011, Smith shared the stage with Bad Boy Record’s Recording Artist Machine Gun Kelly and Shady Record’s Recording Artist Yelawolf. They also began to brand and promote their “Keep It Movin” movement. Smith and Louthan decided that what they had been doing for 5 years was much more than making hip-hop music. It had been a journey of a few normal, small-town kids who formed some not so normal big-time dreams and aspirations. They had faced a lot of challenges in the form or hate, criticism, low-budgets and no support, but through it all they kept things moving and continued to work hard. They want to be a source of inspiration for those who have dreams of any kind, to always keep their head up and know that if they believe and work hard, good things will come their way. We all struggle with the daily obstacles life throws our way. Sometimes it sounds better to lie in bed all day than face the day ahead of us. When you’re feeling down and out, it’s crucial to stay positive and attack your obstacles as challenges. Self motivation is what keeps you moving; it’s what keeps the world moving. Stay positive, step up to the challenge, and keep it movin’.