Andre Pascoe, known as ‘Drematic,’ uses hip-hop to spread the mission of bringing clean water to developing countries around the world.
Alumnus and hip-hop artist Andre Pascoe, known in the music world as Drematic, has set out to bring access to clean and fresh water to people living in developing countries around the world. In doing so, he also wants to elevate the hip-hop genre to its fullest potential.
Drematic teamed up with Y?Arcka, a friend and fellow hip-hop artist, and a small team of collaborators to establish Water is Humanity, a nonprofit organization with a mission to raise awareness for the global water crisis. The group is proactive in their approach, and through donations and album sales, they plan to drill 100 fresh water wells in developing countries.
“I don’t want to create a sad story, a sob story,” Drematic said. “I really don’t view what we do as a charity, even though it’s for overall goodwill… It’s more of just an exposé.”
Through sales of the recent album “Water,” written by Drematic and produced by Y?Arcka, the organization hopes to generate the funds necessary to provide as many people with clean water as they can. The organization hopes to raise awareness for information including the fact that more people die from waterborne illness than from wars, the AIDS epidemic and malaria, Drematic said.
But the mission is two-fold. Drematic said he also hopes to “elevate the genre to where it’s more than just music,” and to where it is has a positive influence.
“The overall goals of the Water is Humanity project is to prove that hip-hop music has life-changing, life-saving capabilities, and we want to make that apparent through the actions,” Drematic said. “Overall we just want to be a positive force in the universe and use our talents and gifts to do something.”
Using hip-hop to send powerful, positive messages is nothing new to Drematic. He is known for challenging his listeners and said that is key to his identity and drive as an artist.
“The number one thing that I want to get across is free thought, a certain sense of social responsibility and, I guess the underlying thing would have to be love – love for your common man,” Drematic said.
“Even though I don’t come out and say explicitly let’s love one another, that’s really the whole point,” he added. “I want to get to that point where we can see other human beings and accept them and appreciate them for what they bring to the table.”
That message is something that, like his music, he has refined overtime. Drematic said as he matured, he moved away from “a lot of the crazy stuff and maybe some of the stuff that may be distraction from the true message.”
“I just want to do something that’s significant – that people can enjoy and that, at the end of the day, it means something,” he said. “It’s not just some ‘boop-de-boop, we’re dancing in the clubs, we’re making money.’”
That refined quality and what he calls a higher purpose is what Drematic said sets the album “Water” apart from his past work.
The album is direct in its mission. Track names include “Unfiltered” and “Purified,” and send clear messages about the lack of access to clean, fresh water. At the same time, “Water” is clearly a hip-hop album that combines Drematic’s talents and style.
He said that one song, “The Source,” comes from the ideas that, “we owe everything to water, and water really sustains our life.”
“In that song in particular, I was talking about the Niger, Congo and Nile rivers in Africa and how they pretty much gave birth to civilization,” he said, adding that the song is about giving water the respect that it deserves.
Drematic credits some of his social awareness to the time he spent at Temple.
“From a mental standpoint, I don’t know where I would be without the things I learned, the people I met while going to Temple,” he said.
Drematic moved from Jamaica to Philadelphia with his parents when he was five years old. He has lived in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs since, and in 2003 he enrolled at Temple.
He graduated in 2007 with his bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in African-American studies.
“I met Y?Arcka [at Temple] and a bunch of the people who influenced me musically, influenced me from a social standpoint – raised my awareness,” Drematic said.
He said he considers attending Temple one of the best decisions he has ever made.
Still based in Philadelphia, Drematic said he is currently “doing a lot of listening” and trying to plan shows to amplify “Water” and the Water is Humanity project as a whole.
His next show in the area is tentatively planned for sometime in February, and with the help of Generosity Water, a California-based nonprofit, Water is Humanity hopes to drill their first well sometime this summer. Through the partnership, Drematic said one well will cost approximately $3,000 depending on each drilling site.
Looking forward to that first well, Drematic said, “I have to [see it]. After doing all this, I at least have to see it. That moment, that’s the greatest moment. I can’t wait for that.”
Christine Fisher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.