De’Andre Cox (aka BTG Dre): ‘Born to grind’

De’Andre Cox, who goes by BTG Dre and moved to York County when he was 9, says he’s in a position today to pursue a rap career instead of whatever fate he left behind in Baltimore.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
De’Andre Cox (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

About 10 years ago, Norman and Andrea Cox moved to York County from West Baltimore, leaving behind a life of drugs and violence they feared awaited their 9-year-old son De’Andre. 

Around that same time, De’Andre started watching rap shows like BET’s “106 & Park” and dreamed of being on the show’s Freestyle Fridays segment. He found a passion for hip hop with mid-2000s rappers like Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, T.I., and Jay-Z.  

Thanks to his parents, he says, he’s in a position today to pursue a rap career instead of whatever fate he left behind in Baltimore.  

“I always had great parents and a great opportunity,” says De’Andre, who just turned 18. “If I didn’t have those opportunities, I’d probably fall into more negative things.”

I’m young, but I want to make something that catches people’s attention.

quotecircle
De’Andre Cox

Today, De’Andre goes by BTG Dre, the BTG standing for “born to grind.” He’s attending HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, to study music business and two recent tracks – “Young Stunna” and “Facts” – have more than 33,000 and 22,000 plays, respectively, on SoundCloud. 

“I’m young, but I want to make something that catches people’s attention,” De’Andre says. “You just have to run with your own flow – whatever helps you. Everyone tries to do whatever’s popular, but I don’t really do that.”  

Through his early success, he hasn’t forgotten the place he came from or the people who still live there. 

Many of his family members and friends still live in west Baltimore, and he knows the dangers that some neighborhoods in the city encounter.  

That’s why when he can, he’ll pick up his friends and bring them to York County, just so they can escape the tough life in Baltimore.   

“They didn’t have the same opportunities that I had,” De’Andre says. “I didn’t have to be around that 24/7. I have a great support system, and I’m blessed to have that in my life.”   

Get Neighbors of Our York in your inbox: Every Thursday at 9 a.m., we’ll email you a full version of the latest “Neighbors of Our York” profile. You subscribing lets us know you like and value what we’re doing.