EXCLUSIVE: Doodlebug interview by Flatline!

HHG: With such a distinct style as an emcee with Digable Planets and on your solo work, I'm curious to know who influenced you early on in your career? Doodlebug: I was influenced by a lot of the pioneers of hip hop. In fact, my first experience in hip hop was as a deejay so I was caught up in everything - GrandMaster Flash, GrandMixer D.S.T, Marley Marl, Red Alert and of course DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Cash Money and DJ Kosmik Kev….I later became interested in the emcee when I first heard Rakim, Jungle Brothers, Treacherous Three, Run-DMC and KRS-One. HHG: Reachin' was released in 1993 and Blowout Comb in 94. What was the recording process like when creating those albums? It must have been a whirlwind for you as an artist to have everything take off so quickly when Rebirth Of Slick took off the way it did. Doodlebug: The REACHIN album was produced by Butterfly and was recorded by Shane Faber and Mike Mangini in North Bergen New Jersey. BLOWOUT COMB was recorded at a major studio in Manhattan and was more of a collaborative effort between the three of us and also we used a lot more live instruments on that album, whereas the first album was all samples and drum machines. The success of the first album was definitely not normal because of how we went from no names to household names in a matter of months and it took a lot of getting used to!! HHG: I talk with many people, who love both Digable albums equally, but who always agree that Blowout Comb is an underrated gem. How do you feel about that album looking back on it? Doodlebug: I love both albums but I do feel like BLOWOUT COMB didn't have the same chance at success as the first album because of the record company politics that we went through in the transition between albums. REACHIN was done while we were signed to Pendulum/Elektra but after the first album, the executives at Pendulum didn't like the profit splits they were getting from Elektra, so they left and signed a distribution deal with EMI records…BLOWOUT COMB was caught in the transitional mess and never got the promotion behind it that it needed to successfully follow up the platinum success of REACHIN. HHG: I have to ask, what was it like getting in the studio with the late, great GURU on Borough Check? Certainly there must have been a mutual respect there for what each of you was bringing to the table at the time. Doodlebug: Working with the late, great GURU was amazing!!! I was a big fan of his and he told us he was a big fan of what we were doing!!!! At the time Guru was also a neighbor of mine in Brooklyn NY so we hung out a lot outside of the studio and in fact we toured together throughout South America when he released his Jazzmatazz project and I had the honor of doing a collabo with him a few years back before he died...I still miss that dude!!! HHG: Let's talk about your latest solo album, "Futuristic Sci-Fi" which was released via Fat Beats in September. There's such a great vibe and flow to the album, I think long time fans of yours couldn't be more pleased. How was it working with DJ Alex J, who is also your tour DJ, when putting together this project? Doodlebug: It was great working with DJ Alex J because he is so laid back and humble as well as talented and he has a good ear for music!!! He would email me tracks and I would tell him which one I was feeling, then I would go in the studio and lay my verses and then email the WAV files back to him so he could do the mix...We have a great chemistry and in fact we are starting to put together tracks for the next album we are going to do together! HHG: As you've gotten older and matured as an artist, do you feel a lot more free to focus on the artistic side of your craft, rather than worrying about what the record label or whoever is trying to push? Doodlebug: Even when I was a young buck, I didn't care much about what the record labels wanted. After listening to our first two albums with Digable you can tell that we were on another level and were not concerned with what was popular but with what felt and sounded good. In the early 90's, Digable Planets music was way different than anything else that was out at the time. The older I get the more convinced I am that it's imperative for me to stay true to my original style and flow. HHG: You've just released a new single, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Can you speak a little bit on that? Was this a track that almost wrote itself after you witnessed first hand what was going on? Doodlebug: Actually, the new single "FIGHT FOR YA RIGHT" was written and produced in the spring of 2011 way before the rise of the OCCUPY movement. But then in October, the producers of the track, XING n FOX, hit me up and thought that the budding movement known as Occupy Wall Street would be a great back drop to the song we did together and I agreed. So we all met up in NYC on October 17th and filmed what turned out to be the "FIGHT FOR YA RIGHT" video. HHG: As I understand it, you and Butterfly are going to be working with Ladybug once again. That is such great news for hip hop. Can we expect new material from the three of you and touring behind the new material as well? Doodlebug: There are no set plans for the three original members of Digable Planets to tour or even record a new album…but it is true that after years of not talking we have finally broke the ice and began to repair our friendship. That is actually more important to me than any music or tours but there is a strong possibility we may share the stage again sometime in 2012 if the right opportunity comes along!! HHG: Thanks so much for taking the time and for the many great years of classics! Doodlebug: PEACE!! - Flatline for HIPHOPGODS/RAPstation.com Check out the new album from Doodlebug right here, right now: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/digable-planets-presents-futuristic/id452857676