Dwele’s Detroit Hangouts: Singer Recommends Five Hometown Favorites
Dwele can honestly say that he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. The Detroit-based instrumentalist and singer started off on a different path back in the 1990s. “I was definitely rapping back then,” he tells The BoomBox with a laugh.
Today, he’s known for his honeyed vocals and inspired production. He recently dropped his sixth LP, Greater Than One, on E1 Music, receiving tremendous acclaim as a result. The effort is his strongest body of work to date, with self-penned lyrics on love, loss and everything in between. The crooner’s inclination to blend genres like funk, soul and hip-hop are in tune with his hometown’s affinity for doing the same.
Detroit is known for Motown soul as much as it is for Eminem and Big Sean. Folks like Dwele provide the balance between old and the new. As the rest of the nation speculates on Detroit’s economic fate, the hometown heroes surely represent their city as best they can — whether on or off wax. Dwele is no exception. After all, Detroit made him who he is — greater than the norm. Here, the “Obey” singer tells The BoomBox why five of his favorite spots in Detroit hold a special place in his heart.
1. Saint Andrews Hall
431 E. Congress St.
Detroit, MI 48226
“It was called the Shelter on Friday nights and that was the place where everybody would go. It was a hip-hop spot and you would find Slum [Village] there, Eminem, Royce [Da 5’9″], Proof… That was where I first learned about [J] Dilla was by going to the Shelter. There was a guy named Houseshoes who used to deejay and he would always spin Dilla’s records. So that was the place where all the people who are known from Detroit right now as far as the [music] business goes, they were all at Saint Andrews. They all kinda hung out there. That was the party spot.”
2. Cafe Mahogany
2727 Russell St.
Detroit, MI 48207
“This was around the ‘Love Jones’ period. Everybody was really into the love poetry and that’s where they would go. That was Detroit’s premiere poetry spot. Cafe Mahogany is actually where I sold a lot of my first cassettes. They played the Rize album between a lot of the poets there, so that’s kinda where people got their first listen to my music. That’s actually where I met Baatin and T3 [of Slum Village].”
3. Bucharest Grill
2040 Park Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
“They have the best chicken shawarma in the world pretty much! That’s the place I’ve got to go to every time I get back off the road. I gotta go the Bucharest Grill.”
4. Belle Isle Park
On the Detroit River
“Belle Isle is more chill now I guess than it was back in the day. Back in the day, it was like, the fashion show [or] car show. That’s where everybody would go on a hot day and hang out. There used to be this saying like, if it was really hot outside then the island was gonna sink ’cause there were too many people on it. But that was just a place to party. All the Senior Skip Days in high school, everybody was going to Belle Isle. That was the place where you went through your rite of passage. Once you got your [driver’s] license, you hit Belle Isle with your people.”
5. The Riverwalk
Detroit, MI 48243
“This is a new development as of the last two to three years. It’s a dope place to just hang out with your significant other. It’s a dope place to just go and sit. I like to go there and write. I take my dogs sometimes. It’s just a nice place to go hang out. Of course, I’ve been out there, hanging out with a lady friend, definitely.”
See R&B’s Worst Jobs