The Doppgangaz could be considered two of New York’s most underrated and hardest-working double threats in hip-hop. But really, they would most probably shrug off such an accolade.
With this MC and producer pairing of EP and Matter Ov Fact there’s an air of kicked-back ease they bring to The Doppelgangaz style which seems a black cloak well-fitted to their infectious character. With a supposed cloaked-up vagrant lifestyle, they make conjuring up some of the most soul-searched and jazzed-soaked sampology in hip-hop to complement their antic-themed raps seem a lot more than supporting a depraved lifestyle of frequenting brothels, dollar-bin vinyl diving and getting their drank on. But, this is half their charm and formula to their apparent chemistry. Testament to this, with a reach of fans spread across the sphere, their vagrant life finds them jet-setting down for an Australian tour this coming week.
For the duo out of Orange County, New York, who don’t know anybody outside of their immediate circle, they’ve made it happen with a strong Do-It-Yourself work ethic across a killer discography. Over five studio albums, four mixtapes and as many EPs, which includes the widely-acclaimed HARK! (2013) and Peace Kehd (2014) LPs, they’ve shared verse drops with just enough guests with which to puff-puff-pass a skinny joint, which includes their manager and a few close homies, (Brothels Series 3 and 3.5 with Thonio, PartyManThanks and Scooby). With all production being broke in, beat out and cooked up in-house, repurposed dusty-ass vinyls are brought back to life with a jolt of hardened East coast sampling. Plated and served together with a steaming side of bars from EP, it makes anything The Doppelgangaz have got bubbling on the stove a hot mess.
Pen it, the vandals are demented /
And for the last time, no the candle’s not scented.
Panhandle, cause scandal up in the senate /
Known to quote a rhyme, but he rambled when he read it…
Ozhiphopshop got the chefs out of the kitchen and on the hook, where we cut the crap on that cloak-life mystique and dive back into the dollar-bins that bring them so much dope-ass beat work on record. We discuss their DIY work, done not by design but because they don’t know anybody, the current state of hip-hop and the effect the internet has had on the culture and lastly, coming to Australia and “cramming” flight attendants on their way over. This is some cards-on-the-table, open-book, out-in-the-open interview that only OHHS knows how to present. What that vagrant life like, kehd?
RIP NICHOLSON with EP & Matter Ov Fact from THE DOPPELGANGAZ
For OHHS and MVR Presents – 11 November, 2016
RIP: What’s going on guys? How are we?
EP: What’s happenin’ man. We’re good, we’re chillin.
MOF: How you been man?
Good! Do you enjoy these media jobs? Having to answer the same shit from guys like me?
EP: Nah man, we’re chillin’.
MOF: It’s awful. This is the worst part of the gig, you know?
Look, I would think so, man. You can be real.
EP: Nah no lie. This is never a bother to us,
MOF: We’re chillin’. We’re about to go to Australia! We’re hyped, very excited!
What’s that black cloak life like, it’s got you two jetting to Australia for a couple shows. Can’t be all that bad?
EP: Can’t be that bad, right?
MOF: It ain’t too bad (in a New York Italian mobster accent).
EP: We’re just speaking it into existence. We’re talking about something it happens. So, next day we’re gonna start talking about money.
You both came from a bigger group, was there a plan from the outset on what you wanted to achieve as pair, where you wanted this to go, or even if there was a thought to anything further than let’s just make some music and maybe an album?
MOF: Nah we always knew as little kids we wanted to go all-in. I think it’s just as you get older it’s kinda hard to figure out when and how. But the time came when it was just like, ‘yo, the time is now!’ We’re just gonna figure out as we go on, so let’s just do it. Because I think as time goes on you just understand you are put here for a reason. We figured we were meant to get it poppin’ so let’s just take a shot at it.
Let’s rewind a lil’ to your older albums – Lone Sharks – devoid of any features. Was this a case of no-one knew who you were to jump on board or you wanted a solid project to show you two could stand alone?
EP: Still nobody knows who we are. That’s pretty much the case.
MOF: Still the same, nuttin’ has changed. Starting out we didn’t know anybody in the music industry whatsoever. So anybody we met was just us goin’ out and literally runnin’ into people and buildin’ relationships. But, we didn’t know anyone in the game at all. Especially at that time period, so it was just us two making stuff, you know? If we knew some heavy-hitters they’d be some on there, that’s definitely for sure.
Well that DIY throughout has been a noticeable staple through your catalogue. I was going to ask if that was by design, but you’ve answered that. So, if Alchemist or Ski Beats rocks up are you giving up the boards to these beatheads?
EP: Yo, if somebody better comes along we droppin’ everything. Someone dope comes along they producing for us, if a writer comes along, they writin’ for us. If a performer comes along then we’ll just do like the music video aspects, we’ll let them lay down the vocals.
MOF: They just put the cloak on, with the same build – one white guy, one black guy.
Get the fuck outta here, now I know you’re talking shit!
MOF: We just started out doing everything by necessity, we didn’t know anybody. But to answer your question, we’re definitely down. We love Alchemist so we’re definitely down to work with other people, you know? It’s just that, thus far, we haven’t really come into contact with too many other people. But DIY-wise, I definitely think it helps to be self-sufficient in this game because anything can happen. People who you mess with cannot mess with you, label situation could fall through, so it’s always good to know how to put two and two together by ya damn self just in case.
EP: You never wanna get in a situation where you need such-and-such in order to do such-and-such.
Now on Beats For Brothels Vol 3 & 3.5 the guests start jumpin’ off with the likes of Thonio / PartyManThanks / Scooby. What brought this about and what was it like sharing the booth with some outsiders?
EP: These are our friends, these are people that we’ve known for years. Scoob, he manages us and he was just there. Thonio we’ve known for about ten-plus years now and we just think he’s a talented individual. He can rap, sing – he’s just really talented. The time was right that we had some stuff that we would fit on, so he was all over that album – he can sing better than us. So it’s a case of, like you said, falling back on somebody who’s got the skills to do it. ANd, PartyMan is just another talented producer and he’s our friend too, so it just makes sense for those situations.
On the latest album, production is tight like prom night though!
Hahahaha – Heeey!
Them samples you let ride out on Nexium – they’re on some next level shit! [You’ve Got to Learn (Il Faut Savior) by Charles Aznavour (1974)]
Beautiful, man! Glad you like it!
My question is, who does that anymore? Seems like new kids haven’t got the patience to appreciate a nice vinyl tune.
MOF: For us, we just like cool shit. We come across it and if it sounds good. We come across a lot of stuff that does nothin’ for us and we don’t see anything in, so when we come across some cool shit, we just try to manipulate it, fuck with it and use it to our advantage, you know? So, but a lot of it is luck of the draw and unplanned. It’s almost like the cards falling in our favour at times because you just happen to find some cool shit in a dollar bin or somebody’s grandma is gettin’ rid of some shit or whatever you never know man, so we just try to keep our ears and eyes open and always listenin’ to shit and seein’ what tickles the fancy and we see how we could fuck with it, you know?
EP: A lot of it is just luck man, we could have easily not come across some of this shit, so I’m just glad we did.
I imagine that’s half the sweat put into a record?
EP: Yeah, luckily for us, if we didn’t get another record tomorrow, we’d still be making music, you know? But that’s something that we enjoy and I think that when it comes to production we like to attack from all angles whether sampling or playing some shit out or thinking of some shit so we like to combine all aspects and we have so many ways of arriving at the final product but sometimes something just sticks out and we’re like, ‘yo, we gotta use this!’
Speaking of that process and the final product – most artists go into a full-length LP with a more careful approach to work than say a mixtape where they fuck around over any given beat they see fit and experiment, you know freestyle, ad-lib. What do you guys do for your Brothel series that you wouldn’t attempt on a studio LP like Peace Kehd or HARK! Where is the major difference in how you construct each?
EP: The series, initially, was so we could showcase other beats. Because we wanted to make sure that people knew that we were producing, we’re not just rappers, we handle our production as well. So, at first it was kinda like a means to showcase that and also be like a talking point to mention it and just have another opportunity to work with other artists or get placements or you know,and advertise in film whatever. So that’s what it initially started out as. Then it kind of became an outlet for anything creative that we wanted to do in the moment and maybe it’s more a spur of the moment feels. Like, sometimes on the album you make a real concentrated effort to keep to a theme or a sound and the Series just kinda gave us a chance to just do what we wanted. So, it’s just another good outlet for us. I dunno if we do anything necessarily different but sometimes our approach is a little more loose but it’s kinda hard for us to make music any other way than how we typically make it, so I don’t think it’s too much difference but it’s just another good outlet for us to be creative.
Can you guys do me a favour and say the name of your album, Peace Kehd?
Haha oh yea, Peace Keehd, but you can say ‘kid’, it’s all good.
I wasn’t sure whether it’s some New York shit I didn’t have the accent for, you know?
Haha course you do. It’s like, when you talk to someone around here they’re like, ‘what up keehd’
OK, what up keehd, haha. So speaking of Peace Kehd, I’ve got a question for you guys and I want you to put your hand on the bible on this shit. Have you motherfuckers ever actually robbed a Hess gas station?
Get the fuck outta here.
Not at gun point but we took some candy haha.
Oh shit, then we’re all some criminals in here then! It just popped out to me in the lyrics to Holla x2 – apart from where your homeboy describes the female.
And we got your local Hess robbed /
Cashier looking like she work a desk job.
Natural looking like she got a breast job /
Shorty had the shaved nape with the fresh bob.
Brilliant. Fucking brilliant.
EP: It sounds beautiful hearing it back.
So, off topic now, I checked out the BET Hip Hop Awards couple weeks back… Do you guys watch it?
EP: Yeah we try to catch it online or wherever.
I mainly do it for the cyphers, but even they’re fabricated as fuck. My point being, seeing the acts they had perform, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Dae Dae, Desiigner… Desiigner, man what the fuck is he saying? Can you understand him?
EP: We’re just fans of music, man. We just love music. But yea, we feel like music is back to being diverse again. Everybody’s doing their own thing and where you’re from doesn’t necessarily dictate your sound anymore and it’s just cool to see where it goes every year. Every year something new’s coming out and somebody’s doing something that’s breakthrough and someone else is doing somethin’ different and you hear somebody you think you know exactly where they’re from and you find out their story and it’s totally different. So it’s in a cool and interesting place.
MOF: I’m waitin’ for that big, Australian act to infiltrate the US market, to take over. Anything’s possible, man..
That’s the life of the internet, though. It’s like you said, you can listen to someone and not know where they’re from because so many styles are influenced from the internet it gets harder to pinpoint a geographical sound to hip-hop.
EP: I guess it’s what you gravitate towards, naturally.
If you two had to make new rap names starting with ‘Lil’, what are you going with?
MOF: I might keep it basic and go with Lil Matty, you know? M-A-T-T-Y. E is easy ‘cause he is little in real life. It works perfectly.
EP: Yeah, I just go with Lil’ E
Four shows starting early November from Sydney to Perth. What’s the plan? Before you pack a suitcase, what is the must-do when you come down here?
MOF: Our time is very limited, we got a lot of back-to-back shows. So, our goal is to cram… You know, we’re not trying to sleep at all. Our goal is to just cram as much we can in the short period of time that we’re there. That’s the goal. No sleep, I wanna see as much as we can, I wanna eat as much as we can and cram as many women as we can. We wanna come back, absolutely shot! Then sleep for like, two weeks straight.
Well if you cram women the way you say you’re gonna do you’re gonna need that much sleep, right?
So Matty Van Rooy hasn’t got anything planned on an itinerary, hold a koala, kiss a kangaroo?
EP: We’d love to, I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.
MOF: This is our first time down so next time maybe, we can come down and experience a lot more of every city. We’ve made moves in the past where it’s short. We landed in, um, Greece for a show in Athens and we had no time to do anything. We just crammed as much as we could and saw as much as we could. So we’re not strangers to it so I think we’ll be able to make it happen.
Just cram less woman, you’ll be fine.
EP: Yeeah, that’s hard to give up though! They attack us! We be mindin’ our own business.
Oh it ain’t your fault, huh?
Long fucking flight to get here. What do you do for 20 plus hours in the clouds?
MOF: We just hope that they got a good movie list.
MOF: Good movie list and some beautiful flight attendants.
You’re going to cram some fucking flight attendants now? Geez.
EP: You know what’s funny man. I was watching, like, a murder doco and they were talking about a couple who died while hittin’ turbulence while they were taking part in the act to be a part of the Mile High club. The stewardess they had on the show said it’s not, like, illegal to have sex in the air. If they see two people go in the bathroom it’s like, no problem I didn’t realise that. I thought it was legal
I woulda thought you’d hit max occupancy in a toilet or something.
EP: For some reason, the way she broke it down, she said they can’t stop it. There’s no consequence for it. So I’m definitely gonna be up in that.
Well boys, I hope you get some.
EP: We hope so, too!
I appreciate your time, have a safe trip. All the best for your shows when you get down here.
EP:Nah we appreciate it, man!
MOF: Thank you!
Catch The Doppelgangaz live this week on their Australian tour.
Tickets available now at www.mattvanrooy.com