interview D.O.E.  (September 2007) | Interview By: Nima

Dubcnn hooked up with an artist that has been featured on Dubcnn since late 2006, the New York born and Timbaland backed D.O.E. With his recent feature on Timbalands "Shock Value" album and the hit single "Way I Are" taken from that release, the stock in D.O.E. is rising and the talented MC is ready to unveil himself to the world. With that in mind he took some time to speak with us about his introduction to Hip-Hop, how he met Timbaland and the recording process with the acclaimed producer. We find out about an array of music that has featured on Dubcnn, get a few words on the Scott Storch situation as well as finding out why D.O.E. thinks Hip-Hop just needs "healing."

As ever, you can read and listen to this exclusive interview and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to nima@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in August 2007

Questions Asked By: Nima

D.O.E. Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here


Dubcnn: To start it off, go ahead and introduce yourself to everybody!

Yeah man, you know what it is, it's your neighbour D.O.E. the Northside ryder man, Mosley Music group and all that goodness, you know?

Dubcnn: Where did you get your name from? You used to go by John Doe right?

Yeah, well Interscope didn't want to use the name John Doe, because it was so one dimensional and when you think of "john doe" you think of an unknown person or an unidentified body or something like that. It was a few other cats out there trying to use the name, plus I can't trademark the name, so Interscope didn't want to you use it. So I had to find another name, and I came up with D.O.E.. I mean even though my name was John Doe, people was calling me Doe anyway, so I was like "Aight, I'ma change my name to D.O.E., which stands for Dominant Over Everyone. So it was kind of an adjustment, cause I was so used to saying John Doe, but D.O.E. it fits me better.

Dubcnn: Tell us how you came up in the rap game, and what made you get involved in the first place.

It's my love for music man. Growing up, watching Video Music Box, listening to Slick Rick, watching Wu-Tang, Nas, Big and Pac, they made you wanna rap! It was like, the music was so dope, the movement was so crazy, I got drawn into it from an early early age, back when I heard Slick Rick. It was like "wow, I love this!"

Dubcnn: How would you describe your style as a MC?

My style is more melodic, and real dominant. You know when I'm on a track, cause me and the track are going to have a war. I don't fight the beat, but some people when you hear a song, it's the the beat that really carries the song, but with me it's like, me and the beat is like a marriage, we carry each other, and I'm melodic with it. It's like I got with that realness. Then, I got humour! Everybody is uptight about shit, everybody is supposed to be getting all this money, but they're all mad and angry, wanting to kill everybody. I just wanna have fun, Nima!

Dubcnn: How did you hook up with Timbaland?

Well, I was on the mixtape scene, and I had a mixtape out there called "Me-Unit", it was a parody of "G-Unit". It got into the hands of Harve Pierre, and Harve took it to Tim's lawyer. Harve Pierre is the vice president of Bad Boy Records. He took it to Tim's lawyer, he took it to Tim, and when Tim heard it, that was all she wrote! He flew me down to Miami, we did a couple of tracks, and he was like "yeah, this feels right".

Dubcnn: What projects, besides "Shock Value" have you been heard on so far?

Shock Value has been the only project that actually came out that I was on.

Dubcnn: What about mixtapes?

I did a whole bunch of mixtapes, I was on everybody's mixtapes, from Whoo Kid to Kay Slay to DJ Clue, everybody. I've been on everybody's mixtapes. N.O.R.E. had an album that was supposed to come out on Def Jam called "A Fan A Day" or something, and I did a hook on the album, but it never came out. It was dope though, the song came out, if you google it or go to Limewire, you can find it!

Dubcnn: You had a track with Lil Jon and Timbaland called "Rollin," tell us about that song. [Download the track]

Ah! Rollin! This was one of the first records I did with Tim. When I met him, before I signed to him, he kept throwing me curve balls, like he wanted to see. Cause Timbaland beats are not your average beats. Not just anybody can rap on it, you can't just flow over Tim's beat, you gotta ride the beat. He wanted to make sure I was able to handle his beats, so when I first met him he threw me a couple of beats, and I was like "Man, this is a Timbaland beat?" I ain't even gonna front, I was like "He can do better than that!" But I knew he was testing me. So I did what I did to it, to make a long story short, he threw me a couple of beats to see how I handled them, and I demolished every beat he threw at me.

Now when he gave me "Rollin'", he said "Ok, now you ready. Now, this is it. If you do exactly what I tell you to do, you're gonna have a hit. I need you to follow this melody, and if you follow it, you got a hit." *hums melody* It was a whole melody to the hook, and he said "I need you to fill it in, use the melody." So I went in there and did it! "Everybody out there rolling, I'll see you when I get to ya'll hood." You know? After we did the song, he was like "It's missing something! It needs Lil Jon on it!" I believe Lil Jon was living down there in Miami at the time, so he approached Jon like "Yo, I need you to hop on this record!" Jon got on the record at Lil Jon's crib, and that's how it went down! That was a beautiful moment.

Dubcnn: Did that song appear on anything?

It actually got leaked. I don't know who leaked it or how it got leaked, but it got out. We played it on the Tim Westwood show in the UK, and somebody downloaded those records and took them off the Westwood show and put it on the internet. Then from there, I don't know who put it out, cause the one on the Tim Westwood show wasn't the mastered copy, it was unfinished. I don't know how the track ever got out, it got leaked, nobody pushed the track. To me, that's crazy of how powerful that record is, if nobody put it out and it got all across the track! It came out of nowhere! But I didn't fight it, I let it be what it is. I think Lil Jon might have actually gave it to Whoo Kid. That might have been what happened, I don't know. But just the impact of the record alone, it wasn't even pushed, that's crazy! I'm still going to use the record, I'ma revise it, change it up, might add a special guest on it, and put it out there!

Dubcnn: How was it working with Timaland on "Shock Value"?

Man, it was crazy! Did you hear the album? You feel me? They recorded the album in Virginia, and that was my first time being to the Virginia studios, cause ever since I've been with Tim, he was recording at the Hit Factory in Miami. So he took it back home to Virginia, and we was all in there chilling, and the beats just came out of nowhere! The atmosphere that Tim keeps around him, the energy, you can just feel the creativity in the air. Everybody around him is talented. So it's an experience that words can't even explain, cause you're around a bunch of geniuses and geniuses in the making! You feel what I'm saying?

The energy is crazy, and Tim is so futuristic with it, he sees things before they come to light. He can kind of look into the future and see where music is gonna go. So he's been telling us stuff, sometimes we don't get it, we think "Tim done gone too far to the left..." But then when he actually does it, we're like "Damn, that muthafucka!" *laughs* You know? I don't know how he does it, but working with Timbaland is an experience that words can't express, you gotta be there.

Dubcnn: Were you surprised that although Timbaland has been all over lately and he had a lot of hype, the album sales weren't that high?

No, because, the album was dope, but I think that he didn't have time to properly promote it. The album went Gold, and Tim didn't do no radio, he didn't do promo tours. Like T.I. sold like 450,000 the first week, but he was everywhere! I turned on Channel 13 here in New York, which is like a channel that nobody really watches like that, it's a channel that's got crazy public access type of stuff. He was on there! T.I. promoted the hell out of his album, he really promoted.

You didn't see Tim promote it anywhere, he was on tour with Justin the whole time! He didn't have time, even the first video for "Give It To Me", they didn't have time to do a crazy video like it should have been. I mean I like the video, it's a dope concept, in a tour bus, chilling, and you see them on stage, I think it's dope. But, in this day and age, you gotta really... T.I. promoted the shit out of the album, I don't know the numbers that they spent on marketing and promoting, but I imagine it was there. So for Tim to do the numbers that he did, without promoting it, I think it's great! And then look at "The Way I Are", it's Top 10 in 12 countries! Listen, that record is huge, and just to be a part of that record, I'm honoured! People all over the world are singing my verse.

Dubcnn: I was about to ask you how the feedback was for "Way I Are".

The feedback is crazy! Like, you don't see the video too crazy, well I don't see the video too crazy cause I don't watch TV, so not a lot of people recognize me, but when that song comes on, I could be anywhere, I could be in a bar, in a club, anywhere, and the song comes on, and people just start saying "Babygirl..." and start going crazy! I could be anywhere, at a gas station, and hear people pull up playing the record. It's just crazy, and I'm looking at them like "wow, they have no clue. They don't even know who they sitting next to, they don't even know who they looking at right now!" Some people look at me like "I know that face!"

But you know, the video is real dark, and I'm dark, I'm black as hell! Everybody else in the video is light skinned! *laughs* Tim light skinned, Keri is light, Sebastian is light, soccer ball players are white, I'm the only one that's black as hell! So in the video, if you know me, you'll know it's me, but if you don't know me, and you see me in the streets, you probably ain't gonna recognize me. But we're going to change all that! We got some more things coming out!

Dubcnn: What's your current label situation?

I'm on Interscope, I was with Timbaland last night at the studio. All I can say is that it's gonna be some shit! I got a new single that I just put out, "From The Bottom To The Top".

Dubcnn: We just put that on dubcnn. [Download the track]

Yeah! And I ain't even gonna tell you what's gonna happen with the single, but prepare to hear some changes on the jumpoff, it's gonna be a significant change on it, you're gonna notice it and you're gonna love it! Everybody is gonna know D.O.E., Bottom To The Top!

Dubcnn: Will Timbaland be producing your whole album or will you be working with other producers?

We'll see! I'm comfortable with Tim producing the whole record, I'm not mad at that! I'm also not mad at working with other producers, so it's like as long as the record is dope, that's all that matters to me. I don't care who produced it, I don't care who does what, my goal is to give you the best possible product I can give you, and give it my all, 100%. So as far as who produces it, it doesn't really matter to me.

Dubcnn: Which producers would you like to see yourself working with?

I'm already working with my dream producer, Tim is retarded, his music is self explanatory. But I like what Swizz Beatz his doing right now, I'm feeling Kanye. That new joint he did for Common "The People" is crazy. I've always been a fan of DJ Premier and the RZA, I'm straight New York. The old Wu Tang sound, and DJ Premier, huge fan.

Dubcnn: What's the current status with ya'll and Scott Storch?

I don't have a problem with Scott Storch, I never did! I don't know how he feels but I don't have a problem with him.

Dubcnn: I heard that joint "Piano Man"... [Download the track]

Yeah. *laughs* That was a response. That's life. For every action there's a reaction. So if I smack you, you're gonna smack me back. And even if you don't smack me back, you're gonna feel pain, so for my action there is a reaction. He said a line in his song "Built Like That", he said "Jimmy fronted you Nelly so he can make his money back, and everything you sign to Beat Club is fucking wack."

Now when I signed to Tim, I signed to Beat Club originally. I met Scott Storch, and he was like "Oh you John Doe? Yo, I love your music man I've heard a lot about you." So he was basically riding my dick. You know what? I'm not even gonna go there. He was basically telling me how much he was feeling my music, so for him to say a line like "Everything you sign to Beat Club is fucking wack", that's like a slap in the face! So he kind of took a jab at me, so I took a jab back. But it wasn't that serious, that's why I did "Piano Man" the way I did it.

Scott is not threatening, no matter what he says, Scott could call me right now and say "I'm gonna fucking kill you." I'd laugh at him! I don't take him seriously on that tip. He makes beats, he makes aight music man, but when he said that line, I was like "Okay, take this!" "Piano Man" was light hearted, I was just making fun of him, I didn't threaten him, I didn't do the usual diss record "I'll fucking kill you, you're a faggot!" I didn't go in like that, I was just having fun with it. I don't have a problem with Scotty, if he has a problem with me, you know, let it be known!

Dubcnn: Which artists can we expect to see you collaborating with in future?

I don't know! I just sent N.O.R.E. a record, me and him supposed to collaborate, hopefully he recorded it already, cause he's down in Miami right now. But Nore is family. To tell you the truth, I really don't know! Keri Hilson of course, that's my baby girl right there. But I didn't really map that out yet, my focus is to get the concept of the album together and get the music together and run like that. Then I'ma go back and be like "Who would sound good on this song as a feature?" I didn't get to that point yet, but I know for sure I gotta have Keri Hilson on the album, that's a must have. And Nore is family, so I would like to have him on there.

Dubcnn: Any idea around when we could expect the album?

My album is coming out tomorrow! *laughs* They told [me] in the first quarter. They're about to put something out on Keri Hilson right now so she can ride that wave and we just gonna piggy back everything, cause "The Way I are" is huge right now. I just dropped my buzz single "From The Bottom To The Top", but from the reaction it's been getting since it's been out, it's been like "wow!" So the single might take me further than expected. I got a bunch of heat man. I think Hip-Hop really really needs me. People say Hip-Hop is dead, I don't think it's dead, I think it's wounded and it needs a healing.

Dubcnn: So what are you gonna do to heal it?

I'ma bring back the real.

Dubcnn: Everybody says that though, like what do you mean when you say that?

If you look at the most prominent people in Hip-Hop history, you'll see what they did and see how they did it. You'll see the elements that they incorporate in their music. I go back in the history from time to time just to make sure I'm not too far from the tree. No disrespect to any of the music that's out there right now but some of the music is like... this can't be Hip-Hop! You know what I mean? It really can't be. But me, I'm real, I'm from the streets, but I'ma give you everything. I'ma give you the lyrics, I'ma give you the struggle, and I'ma give you some fun too!

I think that's what Hip-Hop is missing, because there's a split. South, they're just having fun, they're having a lot of fun, when you go to the club, I don't care if you don't even like those records, I don't care if you don't like "Ay Bay Bay" or "Wipe Me Down" or any of those big records out there, but when you're in the club, you do! Seriously. You might not like it when it comes on the radio, you might not like it when you in your car, you might not like it anywhere else, but when you're in the club, you like those records, those records are making you move! Why? Because your girls are moving to them, and you're having fun.

You're not in the club trying to learn history. You're in the club to have fun, you're in the club to have some drinks. When you work all week, you're trying to wind down, you're boss was on your ass all week telling you this and that, you're stressed out, your baby daddy is fuckin' with you, you go the club and you wanna unwind, you wanna unleash, you wanna have some drinks you wanna smoke a little weed, you wanna pop a pill or whatever you do, you wanna have a good time. You wanna do something like that! You don't wanna hear lyrical stuff in your ear in the club! So I think it's a fine line, a lot of East Coast and Northern artists are just coming real lyrical with it, and they're not having fun. A lot of people in the south are just having fun, and they're not coming lyrical or putting a message anywhere in it.

I think that me myself, I bridge that! I am lyrical, and I know how to have fun. So I'm gonna give you the struggle, if you listen to "From The Bottom To The Top", I'm telling you real stuff! But if you listen to the beat, the beat makes you move, it's got a hop to it. Nine times out of ten, the consumers don't listen to what you're saying, they just listen to how you're saying it and they listen to the beat. I'm giving them a message on that record, but I'm saying it how they want me to say it, I'm saying it how they wanna hear it. They don't wanna hear "Oh I'm stressed out, the politics are corrupted!" Nah! They wanna hear "I ain't got nothing to lose, and everything to prove, got the bullets in the ??, everybody be cool, I don't wanna act a fool!" They wanna hear that! It's real but I'm giving them that balance.

To me, what I'm doing right now, I'm feeding the people who wanna hear the lyrics and the struggle and the content. And at the same time I'm feeding the people that don't want shit, they just wanna bounce. So that's what I always incorporate. I give good music with a message, I think that's what Hip-Hop is missing. It's not dead, it's just wounded, there's a gap between having a fun and a message. If you look at Public Enemy, no disrespect, but where you Flava Flav be without Public Enemy? Because he's nothing but fun! Where would Chuck D be without Flava Flav? He was nothing but serious lectures! He was actually preaching, he sounded like Martin Luther King on a record! So you got Chuck D like "John Wayne didn't give a damn!" and Flav's like "Yeeah, booy!"

So now, you're being taught a lesson and you're being entertained. It's like school! I don't know what grade people finishined, but you had to have had a teacher who was boring and just taught, and you were like "Ah, I hate this class." And you had a teacher who was like mad fun! But then you wouldn't learn shit! But then you'd have one teacher who learned how to incorporate educating and fun. So you loved that class and you learned! I'm that professor baby boy.

Dubcnn: That's wassup man! Before we get out of here, is there anything else that you'd like to let everybody know?

Man, listen, "Bottom To The Top" is out there, "Shock Value" is out there, "The Way I Are", go support that. It's your neighbour D.O.E. Northside ryder man, I'm coming! If you with me, get with me on MySpace. I appreciate you man, anything you need just holla at me. I'm here.


D.O.E. Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here

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