Pauly Dinero
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Pauly Dinero

Wilmington, DE | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Wilmington, DE | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Solo Hip Hop R&B




"Struggles and faith fuel local rapper Pauly Dinero"

Hip-hop music was created as an expression of the hearts and minds of America’s most disenfranchised people.

Although rap music was made popular at parties and parks, hip-hop is not always fun; many times it comes from a dark place of hurt and pain. But it’s saved the lives of many people who otherwise may have expressed their emotion in less positive ways.

Because of hip-hop’s enormous growth, it has provided another way of life for many seeking an escape both mentally and physically. One Delaware artist is ready to pour out the good, the bad and the ugly on his debut album.

Wilmington native Freddie Lee Gray, aka Pauly Dinero, has been through all of that and more in his 25 years. Whether it was family dysfunction or dealing with a mother struggling with mental illness, it’s easy to say that Pauly’s life thus far has been anything but easy. Despite a few setbacks, the McKean High School alumnus just released his first album, titled “Soon You’ll Understand.”

Within the past year, Pauly Dinero’s grind and perseverance have begun to turn heads all over the region. Just last week Dinero hosted two back-to-back, invite-only listening sessions where fans got to see him perform the album live. Both of the shows, which took place in Chester, Pennsylvania, sold out with some fans buying tickets twice just to see the same show again. That type of support for a local indie artist is rare and speaks to Pauly’s ability to connect with his fans.

The talented father of one is known for being lyrically versatile with impeccable delivery and energy that would make any hip-hop lover an instant fan. His new project not only has songs you can dance to but also deals with past pain, drama and the effects it has had on the man he is today. The album is 10 tracks, including four from local producer Doeboyy who is quickly becoming one of the hottest beat makers in the city.

We had an emotional conversation to talk about his new album, but also how he dealt with his mother’s illness, being robbed and why all that negativity is all in the past.

Q: So let’s start from the beginning. When did you first start rapping and creating music?

A: I started writing my first raps at about 8 or 9 years old. I remember the first rap I ever wrote was a gospel-inspired rap. Growing up my mom always had me in church and really instilled in me a faith in God so that’s what I knew. Obviously, as I grew older my experiences changed but my faith has always been a part of who I am.

Q: I know this new project has been a long time coming and you’ve been through a lot. What kind of struggles did you overcome to get where you are today?

A: Well, musically the past few years have had a lot of ups and downs. Before when I was living in the city there was just so much drama and negativity going on. I was around the wrong people and found myself at a place where I was having beef with multiple people. I ended up getting robbed multiple times. My fiancé got robbed just walking down the street. My laptop also got stolen along with multiple albums that were already finished and ready for release. It was all bad so I had to get out of that situation. Despite that, my childhood wasn’t the easiest but all of that is what makes this moment worth it.

Q: What exactly about your childhood wasn’t easy for you?

A: Well growing up, my mother was diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia. So because of that, I bounced around a lot between my Dad’s house and my grandmother’s house. Growing up I didn’t understand what she was dealing with was an illness. I just remember she would have these episodes that usually ended in her being taken away in a cop car to a psychiatric hospital. It was tough because I knew that wasn’t really who she was. My relationship with my Dad was always rough because he was financially but not physically always there and wasn’t the type to really teach me or say I love you. It was really my grandmother who raised me and helped me with homework, life, etc.

Q: As you grew older how did these situations change?

A: Well, I quickly had to realize why I was making certain mistakes growing up and decide that I wanted to break those generational curses. I have a son now and I make sure I tell him I love him all the time; specifically because I didn’t have that. And now that I’m older me and my father have grown closer because he can see how much I love my son and he loves him, too. He just really missed out but that’s all in the past and we are working on it every day. He came to see me perform at my show last week and… (Voice cracking)... that really meant the world to me. I hate to get emotional but that was unexpected.

Q: What do you want people to gain from listening to this project?

A: I want them to see how God works. If there is anything my mother passed on to me is an understanding and relationship with God. With everything I’ve been through I could have become bitter or angry, but I never questioned God and what he allowed me to go through so that I could grow as a person. - Delaware Online / The News Journal


Still working on that hot first release.



Music has been a huge part of my life as far back as I can remember. I began singing in church at a very young age and then is transitioned to the school choir. I learned how to write original music by the age of 14 and never looked back. The buzz grew in high school , battling other MCs at the breakfast and lunch table and never losing one battle! That's when I began taking my writing more seriously and found a studio to record in. I learned the ins and outs of the recording program and started recording myself when I was able to get my own equipment. I'm big on substance and connecting with the audience through my music as well as my performance! I love the stage and I leave my heart out there every single time no matter if there's 20,000 or 20 in attendance ! I treat every performance like it's my last and I feel as though I make some of the best music I've ever heard in my life ! God works through me and I know I'm blessed to have this gift ! I just want to share it with the world and make a real change for the better ! 

Band Members