|Featured, Indie Focus Published: July 2, 2012 |
D.O.P.E. Music Group – Come On (prod by The Classics)
Check out the new song from D.O.P.E. Music Group – Come On (prod by The Classics)
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
We’re from different cities throughout the South Bay Region of Los Angeles. Moe (MOEtivation) is from the East Side of Compton, Sam & Eman from the West Side of Compton, Quon from Los Angeles, Illmatic Man from Wilmington, & Nate from Carson. The story behind how we ended up where we are now is actually a pretty interesting one. Me (Nate), Quon, Sam & Eman all attended the same middle school & knew each other well and all worked on music, but never knew one another was involved with music. I made beats, Quon, Sam, & Eman wrote poetry and lyrics to mainstream instrumentals. It was like we were all keeping it (music) a secret from one another. We all ended up going to the same high school & me (Sam), Quon, & Eman would be at the tables freestyling in these huge cyphers with other artists on the campus. One day Nate came up to us and was like “Aye man I didn’t know y’all be spittin’ like that, I got a lil setup at my house. If y’all tryna get serious with this music shit holla at me anytime you see me on campus before football practice.”
It took a while, but we finally linked up and joined him and another friend of ours that goes by the name Oso’s T.O.P. Entertainment label. We (Sam, Eman, & Quon) came up with the group name “The Underclassmen” and we started dropping tracks basically every week over a mainstream beat and pushing it (the songs) on campus. Illmatic Man at the time was a b-boy and no one knew he rapped until we graduated and seen the love he was getting, not just from the students and teachers, but also his community. The year we graduated high school (2009) we dropped a couple of mixtapes with hopes of getting hella fans, getting signed, and “making it,” but realized it wasn’t as easy as we thought.
I (Nate) threw a little meeting with Sam, Quon, & Eman and told them “we starting over and we gonna build something from the ground up and our brand will be our foundation.” Sam & Eman came up with the name D.O.P.E. which stands for (Deliver Our Pure Expression), Me & Quon agreed on the name and that was the end of the T.O.P. Entertainment days. Quon met MOEtivation at work and brought him to Nate’s pad and was like “Aye my bro right here wanna be part of the team, he can spit.” Quon had him write a verse over a track he made using the “Ready or Not” instrumental and Nate liked what he heard from MOE and said “He definitely has potential to be much better than he is.” And that’s how MOE was added.
Nate made the decision early this year to add Illmatic Man to D.O.P.E. because he saw potential in him, knew him personally from school, and noticed his target audience was the one group we as a unit didn’t attack. He accepted Nate’s offer to join the team and Nate was like “the foundation is set, I’m not adding anymore people to the roster, lets build our futures from what we got,” and that’s how we ended up here as D.O.P.E. Music Group.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
All in all its something short, but straight to the point. We all agreed to use an 8 bar verse structure, eliminating the hook to showcase our talent and chemistry with one another on a track. Verse in and verse out is just heat, we feel this song will make a great first impression on those just being introduced to our music.
What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see?
Currently we’re working on a couple 5-7 track EP’s which should be released sometime mid-summer and you can expect to see progress. We can’t guarantee a hit on each song, but we can guarantee that all tracks will be listenable with great lyrics backing this statement.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
Shit, getting a foot in is definitely one of the hardest challenges we faced and are currently facing. We have the talent, motive, and drive to do it, but the lack of resources and no direction has us constantly scheming on our next move. You know, no one told us “to get in the industry you have to do this, or do that, or go here and talk to them, or hire this and etc.” No excuses though, we now know it isn’t as easy as it appears, and that it will take time, dedication, will and sacrifice to make it happen. We also came to the conclusion that we’re gonna go hard and get it done through trial and error. We’ll eventually make the right move and when we do, everything else will fall into place.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
Our major setback happened a couple of years ago when Nate went out of town for school, we were out of a studio. We had options to record at different spots, but the money was funny (prices were ridiculous) and the people weren’t reliable. We went a whole year without recording, we were writing like crazy though. Trying to perfect the craft, working on things such as topics, delivery, styles, and just learning more about music and the genre we’re going to be representing.
That actually helped us bounce back because when Nate came back home, we were artists, emcees. What I mean by that is when he left, we were simply rappers rhyming a bunch of words and making it sound good, but we weren’t rapping about anything, just rhyming. Now we actually paint pictures with our lyrics, we have a meaning and a message behind our songs, we aren’t just showing we can rhyme. We’re showing that we can also paint pictures lyrically. We matured a lot during that year off.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
An artist needs to understand that what comes out of his/her mouth really defines who they are as a person, it’s the image you set on yourself. What I mean by that is when it comes to rapping people almost always take what you say serious and if you’re living a false life with your music that can come back and bite you in your ass later in your career. Don’t be that heartless, hardcore gang banger on tracks, but soft as hell in person because trust and believe someone is out there really living that life and they will press your issue to see if you’re about it or not. Artists also need to know to not send their music and lyrics to just anybody, do a background check on whomever wants your music, see if it’s legit. A lot of people are snakes and they will take your song, throw some rights on it, and claim it as their own if you’re not careful. Even if it seems legit, do some research and verify it.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Don’t give up because it’s not coming to you as fast as you thought it would. It takes a lot and can be stressful at times, but don’t give up. If you feel the need to give up, your heart was never in it to begin with. Also weed out the negatives and surround yourself with positive people and those willing to help you out. Rather it be people you’ve known your whole life or just met, this music shit can get stressful and a “friend” of yours talking shit about you not making it and calling your shit whack isn’t gonna make it any less stressful. Even if you are whack, if you believe you can get better, weed his or her negative ass out and keep it pushing. If you can’t take criticism, this industry isn’t for you because along the way you will gain haters, trolls, etc, doing and saying whatever they can to fuck with your head, don’t fall victim to it.
What are the best ways to sell your products as an artist?
Shows and internet. You know if you’re able to make that connection with your fans and soon-to-be fans while on stage they’re more than likely want to purchase something just to remember the show and the good time. Also, the internet is great with the help of social networking sites, music hosting sites, and blog support.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
Word of mouth, basically taking it to the streets. We figured it’s easy to sit around and spam people’s Twitters and Facebook pages, but two things made us sway away from doing that. 1) No one likes spam and 2) Almost everyone trying to be next up is spamming everyone’s social networks. When you take it to the streets, people actually get to meet and kick it with you. Almost automatically confirming if we’re who we say we are on wax. We feel its better to connect with new and loyal fans that way.
Where can people visit you?
We’re almost always on Twitter @DOPErunCALI (yes we follow back and tweet back, no acting Hollywood around here). We’re going to start using our fan page, so go ahead and like that here: www.facebook.com/dopemusicgroup310. And our YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/doperuncali. Go ahead and subscribe to that, we’ll have more exciting videos coming soon.