Since the release of their new single, “If I Get Caught,” last week, both dvsn has been on the defensive thanks in part to a lot of outrage over the track’s perceived toxicity.
BOSSIP Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden sat down with dvsn members Daniel Daley and producer Ninteteen85 (neé Paul Jefferies) to dive a little deeper into the group’s beliefs about the song, cheating, toxicity, and the high-value commentary that keeps finding its way into conversations about “If I Get Caught.”
When asked whether the song is a toxic anthem, both Daniel and Nineteen85 immediately denied promoting cheating with the single.
“It’s an honest anthem,” Daniel told BOSSIP.
“All honesty,” Nineteen85 interjected.
“This song isn’t even just for guys,” Daniel added. “I’ve seen so many women in the past 48 hours just start taking it and making their selfie videos, doing the responses they think are appropriate because they’re saying it now. It’s an honest song about the subject and about ego. This album is a story. It’s important to know. This is the beginning. This is chapter one of the journey of this guy. We have people saying ‘Give us crying in the rain R&B’. I can’t give you that without giving you the crying part first. We understand. We’re not saying cheat and your girl has got to accept that – that is NOT what we’re saying.”
To be fair, the song does seem a lot like the start of a fight, one that hasn’t yet begun to touch the repercussions that may follow.
“The reality of the situation is you can have this mentality and end up losing your girl,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “You can also have this mentality and end up losing a lot more than just your girl, depending on the kind of person you have. This can go a lot of different ways, but in these moments this is how people can feel, this is a real mentality that people carry.”
Daley’s not lying about that, and that may be why some folks (cheating victims?) are so triggered. What’s clear in our conversation with dvsn is they were prepared that the song, and people’s personal experiences with the topic, would get people talking.
“That’s what we did know was going to happen,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “Trust me. We tested this record 100 times. We filled rooms with randoms and played music and every time we’d put on that song we’d walk away and come back and the room was arguing — for hours. What I was hoping, in the beginning, was we’d put this record out and we’d have this great conversation about honesty and hypocrisy and double standards, everything would come about — which it is getting to now, but the first couple days were just triggered, shocked people destroying the song but then realizing they like it.”
What they weren’t as prepared for, was the response to be so much bigger. In fact, they were quick to point out that critics who’ve expressed disdain over the less romantic road modern r&b has been taking may need to hold up a mirror before throwing darts at the artists making the music.
“If anyone is familiar with our music, we’ve done that,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “There’s a lot of artists who have made that kind of music. We especially have made a lot of records that deal with that. We’ve given you those kinds of records. Have they hit the same mainstream level? No. So who is really toxic? Is it the people that are listening and talking about stuff? Or is it the artist? Because you guys seem to be feeding on this.”
Nineteen85 quickly agreed as well, noting that the record is plenty reflective of the times.
“They’re just reacting to the negative energy, when there were so many other things that we’ve done that didn’t have that and the reaction was a fraction of that,” Nineteen85 added. I think that’s the time we’re in. Social media, they’re always going to share what gets people talking over what makes people feel better, kind of like, what is the underlying theme of what isn’t being said. Even with this record, there’s a lot that isn’t being said about the record in all of these debates. This is a record, as Daniel was saying, that goes both ways. It isn’t just men saying, “If I get caught cheating… There are plenty of women that feel the same way and they’re going to come back home to their guy and hopefully that guy knows, ‘Well, if you do still love me, then how are we going to work through this?’ We’re all around people that we know are cheating.”
Daniel quickly picked up what Paul was putting down.
“That just goes to the times,” the dvsn singer added. “Nowadays nobody wants to stick around, nobody wants to work through things because everyone thinks they have unlimited options. You can be in the middle of nowhere and feel like, ‘I can go get the biggest singer or basketball player or Prince of Abu Dhabi or whatever.’ You can have direct access to anybody, so that’s changed how people are. This theme and this song are resonating because it’s extra real right now and there are a lot of people dealing with it on both ends. Both the positive where they’re like ‘that’s not happening to me and the end where they feel like that’s happened to me before, I’ve had to hear this before and I can relate to this or I’m triggered and I’m mad because this happened to me.”
While many people have noted the group’s sound is a big departure from their first two projects, we’re surprised there hasn’t been more of a connection drawn between their new direction and influence from collaborator Jermaine Dupri. Y’all may recall Dupri drew from his own life experiences while working with Usher on ‘Confessions’. While Dupri did speak up over the weekend to defend the single, dvsn also sang the producer’s praises for his role in the record and securing the “Song Cry” sample at the core of the song.
“Jermaine has turned from admired hero to us, to like Big Homie, a brother at this point,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “The question about how it is working with him is different than it was months ago, because now it’s like we walk in and get to work. One thing he is a genius at, is making genius things very simple. That’s the other thing that’s rubbing people is that it’s so catchy and so easy to remember that it’s like you can’t get away from it. He actually is the one who came up with the chorus. I wrote the verses, 85 here is the one who said, ‘let’s make it a chant and I’m going to give it that bop underneath it, so they can play it in clubs,’ because it didn’t originally go like that. So it’s the collaboration that happened there that created this thing but it started with Jermaine and bigups to him.”
“Even with the sample also,” Nineteen85 added. “We were kinda going back and forth over if we should use the Jay sample and then I kinda just said to him, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to get this cleared.’ And he was like, ‘Look, do what you need to do on the record, I’ll talk to Jay.’
“It’s dope how that ended up such a nice part of the story because I didn’t expect that,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “I figured it would just be a bunch of calls with business lawyers, the fact that it was just a personal text between friends who are GOATS that was a superfan moment for us.”
If you’ve watched the “If I Get Caught” music video there is a conversation that’s sparked in the intro where Daniel reminds his girlfriend that he’s a man who attracts women and that’s something she likes about him.
That probably hasn’t helped the group distance themselves from the late Kevin Samuels, whose commentary about high-value men and women proved very divisive in conversations among the sexes.
“I hate the term high value, it implies that other people are less value,” Nineteen85 told BOSSIP.
“I don’t subscribe to that thinking,” Daniel added. “To me, I wouldn’t accept anything from my girl if she was a billionaire or if she was working at H& M. If we’re keeping it real, I see the comments and I saw one comment that was like ‘All you guys stop thinking you’re dvsn. Cheating is a rich ni**a sport.’ This was a girl saying this. It’s very real. People think, ‘If I’m with this ball player, I have to accept the lifestyle or if I’m with this artist I have to accept the lifestyle.’ I understand that it’s a real thing that people have embedded in their psyche but I don’t subscribe to that.
Nineteen85 took the conversation a step further, noting the reason that some people believe that cheating shouldn’t be the death of a relationship is that fidelity isn’t what all single people expect in this day and age.
“I think it also has to do with what your end goal is for the relationship,” Nineteen85 told BOSSIP. “If you’re looking for certain things from the relationship — it might be stability in the financial area, it might be lifestyle or whatever. If you’re looking for those things then you might not be as offended about other things because that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for just a certain bond with a person then all the other stuff doesn’t matter. This goes both ways. I think a lot of men go into relationships looking for superficial things they can post about their woman and I think a lot of women go into relationships looking for superficial things that they can take. We’ve made a society where you have the trophy girl and the guy that’s providing the lifestyle and there’s a lot of people who on some level decide, ‘I want what that looks like.’ Or whatever checks off those boxes. If I’m not okay with some of the other things but I can get enough of the other boxes checked, mmmmmm I might not say much at first.”
If you’ve watched the music video for “If I Get Caught,” the visuals follow Daniel’s girlfriend discovering evidence of cheating on a phone she believes he left behind after heading out for a night out with the guys. The video follows Daniel and his best friend Mal playing cards, drinking and socializing with women who are extremely touchy-feely, but at the end of the night Daniel remains respectful and faithful to his girlfriend and ultimately it turns out the phone with the evidence actually belongs to Mal. With that in mind, we had to ask if the dvsn members have ever looked at their partner’s phone for signs of cheating.
“I was much younger,” Nineteen85 admitted to BOSSIP. “I was like, ‘Why am I doing this? because if I find something I’m going to turn around and say I checked your phone and I found this,’ I don’t even like that conversation because where is it going to go?
“I checked a phone once and I was super disgusted with myself,” Daniel told BOSSIP. “I can honestly say I didn’t go to check. I was using her phone to do something and something popped up and nothing was there so I started to go look but I felt disgusted with myself.”
“It just doesn’t go anywhere because I was doing something that was untrustworthy and found out you were doing something untrustworthy, then where does that leave us?” Nineteen85 agreed. He also added that notions about gender also play into his feelings to some degree. ” I feel like it’s way more accepted for women to go through things or stalking their man’s behavior on some level.”
Ultimately, the group says the song just puts a spotlight on how much couples need to communicate honestly about their needs and behavior. But that would take some real GROWN conversation. How many people are ready for THAT?
“Super grown and most people don’t die that grown,” Daniel told us at the end of our discussion.
After hearing more of Daniel Daley and Nineteen85’s perspective on “If I Got Caught,” have your feelings changed about the song?