good. Now is a time that I've been waiting a long time for, as far as the album
dropping. It hasn't really hit me yet. This next month is going to be exciting.
How long did
it take you to get "Doujah Raze" done?
If you really look
at it, about four or five years. It was slow-going. We wanted to put it out
years ago, but tracks would get added, tracks would get dropped, this and that.
I think it's time now.
How has your life
changed from when you started working on the album to today?
Wow. It's changed
dramatically. The first track I ever wrote was "Hard Times." I was
in college then. The one on the album is the third version of it. From then
to now, I've graduated college, moved back to VA for a couple years, moved to
New York, toured the world, put five or six records out. It's changed a lot.
It's good to see the progress through the singles, that's what lets me know
that this album can be successful. Life is a whole different thing now.
Why did you
choose to go with a self-titled album?
I think "Doujah
Raze" is enough for people to digest anyways. This album is an introduction
of me and what I've been doing in my beginnings. It's an interesting enough
name and there was nothing else that could capture the essence of this album
better. I like it man, it says what it's supposed to say.
World" is a dope single, it sounds like a lot of things are bothering you
I'm pretty cool.
A few things do bother me here and there. I'm pretty cool for the most part.
When I heard the beat and the hook, that track is fire. It's got some anger
in there. I figured I would flip it and give a commentary on what I think is
wrong and fake things we need to fix.
You have a lot
of diverse cuts on the album, what did you want to give people with this?
I wanted it to
flow through a couple different areas and parts of me. As I recorded tracks
over the past five years, some of them when I recorded them would go on the
album, because it served a certain purpose. I start out with some energy, like
"Plastic World," then I have a smoother, more spiritual section with
a song about my grandfather, the devil, and God. Then the last part is my older
tracks that the cats with vinyl will love, and those that haven't heard those
songs on it need to hear it.
Can you talk
about the Sam Lipton R.I.P. Interlude?
That is my grandfather.
He always wanted to be a singer, he always wanted to be famous and be a star.
He was always pushing me. He told me I didn't have to work a regular job. He
paid for me to take music lessons. I have these old tapes of him, and what better
way to honor his life than to put him on CD? That's my favorite part of the
to run in your family, do you have any other musical abilities?
I can rock a little
party, but I grew up playing piano, playing guitar I can definitely get
behind the boards and exercising that. Music runs through me.
How has being
a DJ in the past influenced your music?
I think being a
DJ gives me a different respect for the music. It tunes your ear to things and
it makes me hear music differently than I did before I DJ'd. That will help
me write and produce better. It gives you a whole new vantage point. That was
a real positive force for me and it was my start. I was DJ'ing seriously before
I was rapping seriously.
How was it working
with Disco D?
We've been doing
tracks for a long time. He did the intro, that was crazy. He's out in Virginia
Beach holding me down. He's cool to work with. He's easy to work with. It's
especially great to do cuts with him because he's nasty. Me and Double J (manager)
will come up with it and tell him, and he'll do it better than we ever thought
of it coming out. He's fun to work with.
Shuko is starting
to get his name out more, what's it like working with him?
He's like family
now. He's actually staying at our crib right now, he's in New York right now.
We linked up on the internet with him sending beats. We met when I went overseas,
we chilled, we hung out. Whenever I hear a new beat slide through, because Double
J manages him, I try to take it. Plus we're doing an LP together for release
You also worked
with O.C. back in the day, what did you learn working with him?
I learned that
real rap cats can be real cool regular dudes. I saw him a couple nights ago,
we had a show together. He's a funny dude. He's regular. He has mad respect
for the game. It's good to work with somebody that you grew up idolizing and
then to find out that they're cool and real down-to-earth.
You've put out
a grip of 12"'s, how important have those been to your career?
It's been the most
positive force. That's the reason people know who I am. Double J has promoted
them all, he's the driving force behind that. He's the best college promoter
in the country, and he started with me. Pressing vinyl is the life force for
me, it's the reason a lot of people know who I am, and it's because we pressed
has always been dope too, how important is that to you?
That's what we
wanted. We wanted the complete package. We wanted it to sound dope and look
dope. For the singles, the first five, we worked with the same artist, we were
homies from college. It's a little more expensive now when you're working with
different artists to do your artwork, but I think presentation is really important,
especially with the CD. We had the artwork for the CD done twice because we
really wanted to get that presentation exactly how we wanted. If it doesn't
look right, it's going to taint it.
How did going
to James Madison help your career?
It was big because
that's where I found out what I wanted to do. I met Double J there, we formed
Trilogy Records there. I was DJ'ing parties. I had decided that I wanted to
pursue music and also a 9-5 job. JMU is where it happened. I have a lot of love
for Harrisonburg. That was the beginning for Trilogy Records.
What have you
seen to be the main differences between New York and Virginia?
The part of VA I'm from is D.C. basically. D.C. and New York, they're both urban
environments, they're both cities, but New York is a very creative environment.
It's where the music is pumping, where the music was born. I'm able to meet
artists up here and make moves. There's not as much potential for growth in
D.C. There are a lot of good artists down there, but New York has shown me a
lot of love. You can't compare New York to any place really.
With the over-saturation
of people rapping in New York, do you feel like being there can hurt as well?
I don't know how
it can hurt. I totally agree that it is way over-saturated. New York is my base,
and it's great that there are so many other artists here and the industry is
here. For shows, I prefer performing outside of New York, but I think it's a
great base. If you're not on-point and your game isn't right, you're not going
to succeed. But you wouldn't succeed anywhere.
a lot of places, what's been your favorite spot to rock?
My favorite show
I did was this spot east of Prague out in eastern Europe. There was 15,000 people
out at the festival, and it was a sea of people that were crazy. Europe is a
lot of fun, Germany, Switzerland, Holland. The U.S. is great too. I've done
shows in Richmond, Bangor, Maine, through New Hampshire
an album today, why should we check for yours?
It is going to
be a classic album. It's been a long time in the making. We put a lot of energy
into it. If people like that soulful, boom-bap with the hard-hitting drums,
that early to mid-90's, they're really going to enjoy this. It's like I'm looking
back to that era and I'm looking forward to a new era. I'm really trying to
do something important with this album. It's going to be available in lots of
spots online and throughout the world.
for you after this?
Some collab joints.
I'm working on that LP with Shuko. I'm going to be working on an EP with this
cat Skinny Man from over in London. I'm doing a joint with Sean Price, another
with A.G. There's a lot of things for 2006. We're going to drop some more singles
and record the next album which we want to put out early 2007. You can catch
me on tour too, I'm working on those also.
What do you
want to say to everyone out there reading this?
HipHopGame is the
site, Doujah Raze is the artist, Trilogy Records is the label. For real, people
need to check for it. If you don't know, pick it up. You can download free music
at trilogyonwax.com, check it out. Everyone that's loved the Doujah Raze records,
please get the album, and check for me when I come through your town.