Devin Copeland was born in Pontiac, Michigan on June 4, 1970. He spent most of his childhood growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida and moved to Texas while in the fourth grade. He spent his childhood moving back and forth from New Boston and Houston, finally settling in Houston after graduating from high school. He smoked marijuana for the first time at a skating rink in seventh grade; marijuana would later become a major influence on his music. As a teenager, Copeland became interested in breakdancing, joining several dance crews until he began rapping, which soon became his main interest. After graduating from high school, he met Rob Quest, a blind rapper and record producer, and the duo formed the group the Odd Squad.
Devin Copeland started out as a member of the Odd Squad (later known as the Coughee Brothaz), a group of rappers signed to Rap-A-Lot Records. The label is notable for being the home of hip-hop artists such as Geto Boys, Scarface, and Too Much Trouble. Copeland moved on to become part of Scarface's Facemob before going solo in 1998. Copeland has released 9 solo albums: The Dude (1998), Just Tryin' ta Live (2002), To tha X-Treme (2004), Waitin' to Inhale (2007), Landing Gear (2008), Suite 420 (2010), Gotta Be Me (2010), One for the Road (2013) and Acoustic Levitation (2017). He also made a number of guest appearances, including on Dr. Dre's "Fuck You" in 1999, De La Soul's "Baby Phat" in 2001, Slim Thug's "I'm Back" off of Boss of All Bosses in 2009, Gucci Mane's "Kush Is My Cologne" of off The State vs Radric Davis in 2009 alongside Bun B & E-40, Tech N9ne's "After Party" in 2010 off of The Gates Mixed Plate, and Young Jeezy's "Higher Learning" off of the late 2011 album Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition.
In 2008, he ended his 15-year relationship with Houston-based Rap-A-Lot Records after he decided not to renew his contract. Later that year, he signed with indie label Razor & Tie. Devin is currently being distributed by E1 Entertainment, formerly Koch. In 2013 Devin starred in the stoner comedy Highway 420, in which two pot smoking buddies go on a quest to find the best bud in the country on the legendary Highway 420. The soundtrack featured songs by 2 Chainz, UGK, Smoke DZA, Tha Dogg Pound, Slim Thug, Curren$y, David Banner, Asher Roth and more.
Despite being a critical success, Devin the Dude has not achieved success in the mainstream but continues to be a well-known underground hip-hop artist. The New York Times has called him "A brilliant oddball with a spaced-out flow." In addition, he has been called "Rap's best-kept secret" and "Your favorite rapper's favorite rapper." In 2007, he appeared in a documentary titled Screwed In Houston produced by VBS/Vice Magazine that details the history of the Houston rap scene.