At first, Dr. Millionaire might appear to serve up the misogynistic, braggadocio-laden lyrics you’ve come to expect from many hip-hop artists. But a closer listen reveals references to Chaucer and novelist Paul Auster.
“That’s just how I think,” says Isaiah “Dr. Millionaire” Clements, who came to Richmond to study English at Virginia Commonwealth University. “I like to read, and I think it’s cool to talk about. I think it’s kind of funny: On one hand you have the party lyrics, and then sprinkled in are literary references.”
Making allusions to what he’s reading isn’t Clements’ only quirk. He also happens to be a rapper from Maine.
“I grew up in a white family — my mom is white, my dad is black, and he was never really involved in my life,” Clements says. “There are pretty much no black people in Maine, so I grew up completely around white people.”
Clements began freestyling as a teen, but started writing songs only after moving to Richmond for college. His previous project had him creating music with a friend under the name Isaiah and Hovey, but his previous label asked him to change it, and Clements chose “Dr. Millionaire,” the title of one of their songs.
“It was kind of tongue-in-cheek,” Clements says of his name. “It’s like the most baller shit you can be, a doctor and a millionaire.”
Late this spring, Clements hopes to release “My First Million,” an album that’s been years in the making. Its first single, “Nigga From Maine,” addresses his youth in a nonblack culture.
“There’s a more serious side to this tape,” he says. “There’s still a lot of the real funny, over-the-top, playful, party, slick-talking lyrics, but there’s a more serious side to it too.”
Clements says the rapper he most resembles is Ludacris, especially in regards to charisma, technical ability and humor.
“If I wasn’t rapping, I would be doing stand-up comedy,” he says. “I love humor more than anything, probably even more than music, for real. I like to have a lot of tongue-in-cheek stuff in there.”
About a month after “My First Million” drops, Clements hopes to release a 10-song album of new untitled work, which he’s been recording with J.L. Hodges of Avers at Overcoast Studios.
“He just makes super, super dope beats. I just think they’re next level, awesome beats,” he says. “Right now I’m completely on top of my game.”