For Yung Dezzy-D and Lil Bill Swavey of That Nation, it was an “amazing” experience to receive a Master P feature on the remix of their first single “Whole Notha.” The rising hip-hop duo from the small town of Opelousas, Louisiana were “blown away” when they received the news that the mogul and pioneer of Dirty South rap wanted to add a few verses.
“He ended up hearing the song and liking it,” Lil Bill Swavey tells Billboard. “We wouldn’t think that an artist of that caliber would even want to do a song with us. He actually wanted to do it and that meant a lot.”
The two emcees formed That Nation while attending high school, where they were making music in separate groups. From there, they released their first mixtape in 2016 titled It Ain’t Dat Easy: Reloaded. The music on the set is about their everyday life with topics focusing on their family, friendships, relationships, and transitioning into adulthood. The rappers originally had a solo video for “Whole Notha,” a jaunt exposing fake friends and two-faced nemeses. With Master P’s additional bars, That Nation filmed another visual with their newfound mentor, who Yung Deezy-D claimed “took his time and didn’t want to rush through” the video shoot.
Now, the duo is promoting their latest single “My Whole Life,” a track centered on a captivating sample of Ginuwine‘s 2001 classic “Differences.” Yung Deezy-D explains that after hearing the beat of “My Whole Life,” Ginuwine’s chorus started “playing over and over in [his] head.” He decided to loop the beginning of that chorus into their’s, with Lil Bill Swavey singing the hook. The audio dropped in April, and just three months later, it’s racked up over a million views on YouTube.
While discussing the viral success of “My Whole Life” — focusing on That Nation’s rise from the trap into a new lifestyle of recording music — Lil Bill Swavey says it’s “still breathtaking. I can’t believe it.” He expanded upon the significance of the feat: “Anytime someone out here [in Opelousas] would end up online it would be because of something negative or some delinquent type stuff. What we’re doing is positive.”
And that’s the path the members of That Nation would like to stay on. Lil Bill Swavey hopes their upcoming debut album will “touch the youth.” “I see a lot of the younger generations going down the wrong path, and they’re looking up to us,” explains Swavey. “I want for us to set the tone for them. This album can really show them that just because you’re from down here, that you can still have anything.”
On their sound’s inspiration, both members cite hip-hop legends past and present including The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, as well as Young Thug, Meek Mill and fellow Louisiana brethren Lil Wayne and Kevin Gates. However the duo enjoys mixing it up according to their mood. Lil Bill Swavey made a point to shout out Frank Sinatra: “I like his old school feel. The type of music Frank Sinatra makes — he’ll make songs that capture a female audience in a classy way. I like the smooth, R&B aspect of it.” Swavey’s favorites from the crooner include “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Witchcraft.”
Up next for That Nation is further promoting “My Whole Life” with a hip-hop mix that will be radio friendly, and recording new music (with a possible Sinatra sample). The two also hope to go on tour and explore the world outside of Opelousas. In short, they’re just getting started.