Digital Underground Presents: The Doppelgangaz

Orange County, NY rap duo The Doppelgangaz have been, as the cliché goes, “putting in work for years”. Starting with their stunning, off-kilter debut “2012: The New Beginning” released in 2009, their devoted fans, affectionately known as “Sharks” have come to expect nothing but the highest quality in underground hip hop from this immensely talented pair of rapper/producers.

Their eclectic blend of clever – tongue in cheek bar work combined with a fresh and nuanced take on 90’s boom bap production has produced a series of works that border on brilliance. Dopp standouts such as Lone Sharks, Peace Kehd, Dopp Hopp, Dumpster Dive, and their instrumental series Beats For Brothels  have garnered them an impressive cult following that stretches from the dingy sidewalks of the Big Apple to the majestic mountains in Nepal. 

Combine that with a live performance and visual aesthetic that competes with some of the legends in the game, it’s clear that The Doppelgangaz have quietly produced some of the most consistent and entertaining music over the past decade +. In the jumbled and jaded world of underground Hip Hop this is no small feat and frankly,  an outlier for the genre. Even a cursory listen to their catalog will bring smiles to listeners’ ears and a deeper appreciation for the Groggy Pack generals.

Following up on the success of the aforementioned Dumpster Dive, The Doppelgangaz recently dropped another sonic opus on us in the form of Beats For Brothels V. This long play showcases the oft overshadowed production aspect of the Doppelgangaz’ group dynamic.

While EP and Matter Ov Fact get highly praised for their work behind the microphone, their production stands up against anyone else’s and BFBV is a cold reminder of that fact. There are beats on here to smoke to, fornicate to, fight to, and cut a two step to. They cover all angles on this pack in their usual professional and funky fashion and no doubt will leave a nation of Sharks well fed.

Recently, I had a chance to get together with The Doppelgangaz to talk BFBV, adjustments made in this new COVID-19 world, and what they have in store for fans in 2021. Sit back and enjoy…

So why BFBV5 now? What was the impetus for dropping this? Tell us about the series.

EP: It’s imperative we drop a BFB installment every year. Otherwise, our OCD kicks in and we begin to spiral out of control. Jokes aside – the real reason for dropping it now is the same as in the first place; to showcase our production prowess. We don’t scream it in people’s faces that we handle all our production, but with the countless comments pertaining to “who produced this?” We feel it’s necessary to let people know this is the reason we have a “sound” because we, along with everything else that needs to be done to run this company, handle all of it. 

We’re proud of being a DIY-centric team and it’s an important ethos to promote especially in 2020 (and beyond) where many havOe found themselves isolated at home, adjusting to life outside of the work norm. We hope our ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, learn/hone new skills, etc. is helpful in inspiring others to do the same.

You guys are in a unique situation – having such a loyal cult following – how has the pandemic affected your brand and sales?

MOF: We pride ourselves in being able to adapt so we can feed the sharks in as many ways as possible. While the pandemic closed the door on touring, it also opened the door for other ways to connect with Shark Nation. 

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You guys really owe a lot of your success to the internet. What made you realize that this was going to be your primary promotional tool?

EP: We probably owe all our little success to the internet. Being able to upload your content for the world to possibly discover is a beautiful tool. We knew we would not be able to go the traditional route and to be honest, we weren’t too comfortable with the idea of that route anyway. We’re definitely control freaks who enjoy the ups and downs of manifesting one’s destiny and having the ownership of our works. 

However, simply uploading doesn’t mean people automatically start finding you. By the grace of the rap lords and possibly YouTube algorithms being on our side, people from all over started to find out about us. It’s truly a blessing. We’re not sure, with the lack of resources we had, that we would be able to gain any traction in a previous era. We owe all our success, if you want to define it as that, to the internet and how small it made the world.

Y’all are known for your crazy performances and huge following overseas. How did you adjust this past year (2020)?

MOF: We’re just making sure we’re ready to go when the world opens back up. Between now and then we’re going crazy kehd. More Shark chum for the setlist baby!

How do you see life as a musical entity/performance-based group in a post-pandemic world?

EP: Well, health is wealth off rip. With a pandemic or anything of that nature striking out of the blue, the number one thing is everyone’s safety, etc. Us being able to perform is a luxury and that doesn’t come before the wellbeing of the world. Is it sad to have a beautifully mapped out European summer tour canceled? Absolutely, but once the pandemic hit, it wasn’t like we could still do the tour if we wanted. It was officially a wrap so we just must go with the flow. We’ve never been set in our ways. We’re always up for the challenge of adapting. This virus will not be the end of performance-based entertainment, but it has put things on pause. That’s fine. There are social media-based performances that can be done. There’s way more music to be made and there’s the ability to always be in contact with the sharks so we don’t feel deterred. We actually feel  inspired to do more. When it’s time to return to touring, which we can’t wait for, it’ll be time and we’ll all bask in the beauty of being in one another’s presence.

What’s next on the menu? Do you guys have another LP in the works? If so, please describe.

MOF: We’re currently working on G Pack Volume 3, the final installation in the G Pack ep series. What can I say? It’s gonna be next level kehd. Can’t wait for Shark Nation to sink their teeth into it.  

Any last words you want to share with your fans & those who may not be as familiar with your catalog?

EP: Shark Nation, you guys know how much we gush over you! We can’t wait to hit your city when the time is right under the proper safety guidelines, etc. Until then expect a shit ton of music to come your way because we’re in the middle of a Doppelgangaz renaissance. The creativity is at an all-time high! For those not familiar, give our extensive discography a gander. We have a lot that might tickle your fancy! No pressure! 

Check out the official Doppelgangaz site.

WORDS: Greg Cee aka Slick Flair

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