We did a seven-part interview series with him late last year, where we found out about his upcoming projects. Now, as rap vet Doitall — best known as a member of the Lords of the Underground — prepares to drop his solo debut (titled American Du), we caught up with his to see what it was all about.
During our chat, Doitall tells us about his impact in today’s musical climate, his legendary status, the Lord Gang, his beliefs on the 2012 myths, and what’s in store on American Du .
BallerStatus.com: This month, May 4th, you are dropping your solo debut, American Du. Is this going to be something patriotic? And if so, why not July 4th (laughs)?
Doitall: This is not patriotic in the conditional since, but it is patriotic in the sense that I rep where I am from and it happens to be America. The title comes from me being overseas and having someone ask me, where I was from. I told them Newark, NJ. They said no, “Where are you from?” a second time. I said, “I am from America.” They said, “No what’s your origin?” I said, “Oh, a lot of black people from America do not know where we are originally from because our ancestors were stolen and brought to America as slaves, so all we know is that we are descendants of Africans.” They couldn’t believe that I didn’t know because all of them know what their origins are.
BallerStatus.com: A lot of people know you from the Tic Toc and Chief Rocka era. How have you grown as an artist since those days compared to now?
Doitall: I have grown because my experiences have changed me as a person, and as an artist. These experiences are different from when I made those past records with my crew. My concepts and content is and will sound different, and if the fans and listeners listen closely, they will be able to see the growth.
BallerStatus.com: As a member of Lords of the Underground, you were showcased as a trio. Is there more pressure going solo?
Doitall: I feel it is more pressure being in a group, because you have more of a compromise and more ideas to consider. When you are solo, the only person you have to please and happy is you.
BallerStatus.com: With that said and for those that might be concerned, is the group still together? And any features from them on this new project?
Doitall: The group is still together. We promised ourselves and our fans that we will never dismantle the group, and that we would always stay together like Run-DMC. Funk is not on the album because of timing. He is in another state recording his solo album and DJ Lord Jazz did all the cuts and scratches on my album. I think I might have a song on Funk Man’s solo project called I Am Legend.
BallerStatus.com: Your video for “Surrender” caught a lot of people off guard. It’s a Pete Rock beat, with an intense video, and is pure hip-hop to the core. Nowadays, seeing a video like that is like finding a four-leaf clover. Do you think this will isolate you with the younger crowd or make you stand out more to the hip-hop audiences of today?
Doitall: I don’t think it should isolate me. If anything, I think it should make me stand out because there is not many videos out with that type of energy anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing a whole lot more rappers with energetic videos coming out.
BallerStatus.com: There were a lot of downloads for your mixtape, The Hunger In My Voice. (Download it here) You and fellow New Jersey native, Tha Advocate, put in a lot of work in on that project. How did the idea of that mixtape come about? And are you happy with the success of it on the internet?
Doitall: That project came about from me putting a verse on another Advocate project (“Where I Come From Remix”), which he said I put a killer verse on, and then asking him would he be interested in hosting a mixtape with me. He agreed, then I sent him a couple of joints and his response was “Wow, you still got it homie.” I said “It never went anywhere, if anything it has gotten better”. The rest is history with Hunger in My Voice. I can’t lie it feels good to be received and appreciated in such a positive way.
BallerStatus.com: Let’s switch gears back to this album. What features and producers are on here?
Doitall: I have production by Pete Rock, The Real Focus, Mel and D, Ric Notes, Lady Trauma, Lexzyne Productions, The Are, Illastrate, and my dude Be Life, who has the next single. The features are Mr. Cheeks, Treach, Masta Ace, Craig G, ED OG, Shyheim, Garand Daddy IU, Fundisha, The Phenom Cartel, Mr Probz, poet Black Ice, Tre Gator, etc … if I forgot anyone, blame it on my mind, not my heart.
BallerStatus.com: I am going to ask some of the most random stuff I can think of and I want your opinion on it. New Jersey’s current flagship artist: Joe Budden, Redman, or Ransom?
Doitall: Redman hands down. I like Joey and I like Rans, but if we are giving the flag to anyone, it will have to be Redman because of the accomplishments and he can spit.
BallerStatus.com: Would Lords of the Underground go platinum in today’s “digital era?”
Doitall: I believe if we were to drop today with the same push that we had back in the day … yes, I do believe so. Our music has been labeled as classics by the fans and we have a growing fan base of 14-20 years old who are discovering us for the first time.
BallerStatus.com: Is the world going to end in 2012?
Doitall: Yes, if the hip-hop world doesn’t recognize what I have contributed and continue to contribute to this thing we call hip-hop I am going to blow this sh** up myself (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: Did you watch MTV’S Jersey Shore? (laughs)
Doitall: In spurts, maybe one or two shows. I’ve been to the Shore and it is a world of its own (laughs). MTV need to do JERSEY HOODS!
BallerStatus.com: Are you happy with Obama in 2010?
Doitall: I am thus far. He has a lot on his plate and he has a lot of people who want to see him not succeed. I can only imagine what that type of pressure feels like.
BallerStatus.com: What do you want to accomplish with your next single, “Yeah” (featuring DJ Kool), that you didn’t get to with “Surrender?”
Doitall: I want the fan base to grow. I want this record to continue to get hip-hop fans used to me. I am not going anywhere.
BallerStatus.com: After this solo album, what’s next on the agenda?
Doitall: I am producing independent movies. The next joint we will be going into is “Dead Wrong”, and I have teamed up with a skateboard company — can’t say the name just yet till the deal is finalized — so I will have some skateboards and snowboards being sold in that whole X Games culture. Also I will be helping a couple new artists get there shot to show the hip-hop world who they are like my dude The Phenom Cartel.
Pre-order Doitall’s solo album, “American DU”, on Amazon.com now. It drops May 4th.
Photos shot by Joey B of VCDesignz.com, for BallerStatus.com