Today we are chilling with a rapper who has been on the underground music scene for over half a decade now. HipHop Lead meet joe DOE.
HipHopLEAD: For starts where did the name come from?
Joe DOE: I’ve had the nickname Doeboy since I was a kid, because I’m fat and got mad money. Nah… I mix up different styles in my music, so it’s like John Doe, I don’t identify with a certain identity.
HipHopLEAD: Where are you reppin?
Joe DOE: The mental. The Hudson Valley area is my home. I give it a shout out once in a while, but there’s not much to rep about it.
HipHopLEAD: Being the majority of music from New York takes place in the 5 boroughs, do you feel living upstate isolates you?
Joe DOE: There are a lot of hip hop fans in the area but really no scene. That’s why I collaborate over the internet and I’ve traveled a lot. Most of my shows have been in Cali and the midwest. I’d probably be better off living in the city, but have you seen what they charge for rent there?
HipHopLEAD: (Laughs) ..Very true. What made you pick up a mic and get busy?
Joe DOE: I’ve been making music since I was a kid, all different kinds. Right after high school, my friends and I partied a lot, and we would get into a cypher, you know? Once I discovered the liberation of freestyling, getting everything off your chest with rhythm and style – I pretty much been a lyricist ever since.
HipHopLEAD: Are you doing anything else other then rapping? Producing? Mixing? etc?
Joe DOE: Well I produce all my own beats and play most of the instruments myself. I’m not producing for anyone else at the moment. But any group or side project I’ve ever had, I’m always the producer and engineer. Now I’m also making instrumental music for indie films and media placement.
HipHopLEAD: For those that don’t know what made you create sykophunk.com?
Joe DOE: Basically I just needed an outlet to showcase what I do. Rather than trying to get a label’s interest and go the whole ass kissing route, I decided to set up shop myself. So I made Sykophunk Productions, which is now my label/publishing company/web site all run by me. Make sure I cut out as many middle men as possible and own all the rights to my art, you know?
HipHopLEAD: Yea man .. that’s smart! What is your long term goal for the site?
My ultimate goal for Sykophunk Productions is to be a self-sufficient record label, first to release my own shit and eventually to sign other artists.
HipHopLEAD: How did it feel for an underground artist to get his music placed on the popular, “Colbert Report”?
Joe DOE: Man, that awesome! And the funny thing is, I didn’t know my song was on the show until I watched the episode on my DVR. Colbert was interviewing the co-founder of Indaba.com, and I had submitted a song to one of their sessions, which used clips of Colbert’s voice. Out of 140 or so submissions, they picked mine to play on the show as an example. I got the Colbert Bump that night!
HipHopLEAD: Who were your influences to get into music?
Joe DOE: A lot of music in the early 90’s made me want to imitate it, something about that time. I was into a lot of metal and just getting into techno, but then groups like Wu Tang, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Onyx – those were the dudes that made me wanna rap. And Faith No More set the example for me of how to mix genres.
HipHopLEAD: Is it harder to be respected in hiphop as a “white rapper” ?
Well I did have a dude from Def Jam tell me that if I wanna get signed I should dye my skin. But that’s the industry for you, always looking for something that fits their mold. I think fans of real hip hop generally judge MCs on talent and style, not color. Rappers of any color or race earn respect by spitting what they live and not fronting.
HipHopLEAD: A lot of fusion genres and blended music aren’t too sucessful. Do you feel that might isolate you?
Joe DOE: It works both ways. My shit’s too crazy for some hip hop heads, but there’s also the people that don’t really like hip hop but dig my music. Yeah, it’s hard to market sometimes, but I gotta do me. And to me, 5 people truly feeling my shit makes up for 50 people that don’t get it.
HipHopLEAD: Any new projects coming out? Any features?
Joe DOE: My new album Democalypse just dropped on March 30, so I’m still promoting that. But I already started getting material together for a new mixtape/compilation for the summer. The album’s real epic and all over the spectrum, the mixtape’s gonna be more straight hip hop.
HipHopLEAD: If by some chance music doesn’t pan out for you what will you be doing 5 years from now?
Joe DOE: I’ve already committed myself to building Sykophunk Productions as a legit business. So if I’m not making music in 5 years, I’ll still be working in music behind the scenes. Music really is my life’s passion, and as long as there is a demand for it then it can be my job too.
HipHopLEAD: Are you impressed with the response you have received from your presence on Digital Dynasty?
Joe DOE: Yeah, I’ve had a few people hit me up – they’re the ones really impressed. Definitely a good thing to have on the resume, being on a mixtape along side some established MCs, even some that inspire what I do.
HipHopLEAD: Here at HipHopLead.com we like to ask our features some questions that really are out of the norm. We do this because it gives the fans a broader outlook on you. So lets get it cracking ….
HipHopLEAD: Are you happy with Obama as a President and the new health care reform?
Joe DOE: I’m not a fan of the government in general, but Obama fights a little for equality between social classes, and that’s important. I’m all about health care reform because the way it has been with the insurance companies ruling with an iron fist, it’s just fucked up. And it’s mind boggling to me how the Republicans are so against paying a little extra to help out their less fortunate fellow Americans. They don’t make this big a deal when our tax dollars go to invading other countries and killing soldiers for no good reason, but now that we’re finally doing something to help people and save lives they act like it’s the end of the world. I can’t understand it.
HipHopLEAD: Being from a smaller city in New York … do the surrounding people support more or hate more?
Joe DOE: Like I said, sykophunk isn’t for everybody, but I definitely get more love than hate in the area. It’s just that there are less people and less avenues to showcase it than in New York City. My choice to go the independent route was partly out of necessity.
HipHopLEAD: Slim Shady Lp or Relapse?
Joe DOE: Slim Shady LP, hands down. At one time, Eminem was one of my favorite MCs, but he got lazy and fell off big time. Now he just recycles the same old shit. I think Relapse is garbage.
HipHopLEAD: Are you concerned about 2012?
Joe DOE: I’m very fascinated by all the 2012 theories – I got a song called “2012” on my new album, and a lot of the other songs are about different end of the world scenarios. I almost wish something huge would happen, not the end of the world but something to wake us up from our medicated, media-brainwashed, fast food existence. But most likely it’s all hype and unfounded conspiracy theories, like Y2K. The solar flares might fuck us up a bit though.
HipHopLEAD: Back To The Norm…. Name 1 song you’ve done that will have the HipHopLead.com viewers hooked!?
Joe DOE: I’m thinking “Sick Shit” which is on the Mic Check Vol. 10 mixtape, and the remix is on my new album. Both versions of that track, the beats are dope and I’m beasting on the lyrics, plus it captures the crazy yet catchy mood of sykophunk.
HipHopLEAD: Thanks for hollering at us and in closing give any shoutouts….links to your sites….F.U.’S or whatever’s clever.
Joe DOE: No doubt, thanks for putting me on. Shout out to the supporters of the rEvolution Underground already bumping Democalypse. If you ain’t got it yet, hit up sykophunk.com to get it on CD or MP3. Keep your third eye open for the new mixtape, probably a free download. And fuck lettuce.