Doseone “I explore, reference, recreate, and abandon it all as often as my clarity can afford me”

Doseone, a.k.a. Adam Drucker, is one of hip-hop’s most unique and entertaining rappers. He’s also one of its busiest. Known for his intensely idiosyncratic rhyming style and signature vocals, Doseone has been involved with a vast array of musical projects, including Subtle, cLOUDDEAD, themselves, and 13 & God, as well as the oft-mentioned but scarcely heard supergroup The Nevermen, which features Mike Patton and TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. However, next up for Dose on his “My Upcoming Releases” list is a rare slab of isolation served with a side of solo-project: G Is For Deep.

G Is For Deep, released late last month on Anticon (the label he helped found), will be the first solo album Dose has released on the label. In addition to the new record, many collaborations, record-label managing, and his dedication to cat ownership, Doseone is also working on an animated venture: a new cartoon for Adult Swim, Mars Safari.

Tiny Mix Tapes spoke to Doseone about time-management and many other things, both physical and philosophical, below.

The music on G Is For Deep has a softer and more electronic feel, as opposed to the hip-hop you’re known for. What inspired the change in sound? Did it have anything to do with your collaborations with The Notwist for 13 & God?

You know, I try not to argue with the one-gallon-well inside of me that needs to make songs on a daily basis as of late. I have dedicated myself to stepping out of its way and letting it have at my body and free time, as best I can…

And lately my song center is making music like [G Is For Deep] and I can see where it’s going, so each song remains a building block or next adventure in the end. In my Sole-ness, I rely on primal melodic or beat intuitions and then try and give them some girth and clarity till they feel like song-bones. The whole R&B energy came from nowhere, but I am quite certain about it, again with respect to my Solo-ness.

[And yes], working alongside, a.k.a. studying, The Notwist, Jel (Jeffrey Logan), [Mike] Patton, Tunde [Adebimpe], Dax [Pierson], Jordan [Dalrymple], Andrew Broder, Yoni Wolf, etc. has given me what I got, and I explore, reference, recreate, and abandon it all as often as my clarity can afford me

“Last Life” is missing your signature frenetic vocal delivery. What prompted the change to the slower, more lyrical vocals?

That’s what I said to me.

There are quite a few “chop” flashes throughout G is for Deep, but they are there when the song needs “a monkey in the rafters,” so to speak, or a human hi-hat, and that is the thumbprint for all this “G is for ME” music; I make a thing and obey its quirky banging growth to beat, then I sing what I feel on it in a similar “intuit-heavy” fashion, then let [it] steep in Ableton for 88 editing sessions.

It’s the same dark goodness touching the ear in a different manner; imagine a cheek touch vs. the stomach punch: same earnest, different velocity.

One has to be where they are to speak freely and from the deeps, and “sing” is where that happens to be for me right now.

For me to rap, and obey that truly, I need some righteous in my tank, and at present I feel closer to other coils and concepts. That said, I will rap again, and still do every week on streets, but for now, the bullets that will ammo that assault, lay powdering in the rap chamber. I have a few more melodic adventures to finish that I am really enjoying at the moment; then it’s back to some rap in the raw for sure.

Is there anything in particular that led you to return to creating solo albums?

In many ways, this is the first solo thing I have ever become. Ha and Skeleton Repellent are a collection of things “I could not help making” while making other albums. G is for Deep is not that at all. In some ways, finally, the music I began producing “drew my attention” enough to focus on it and obsess over it. In other ways, the music making I have done on Nevermen, Crook & Flail, themselves, Subtle, and 13 & God brought me to this point in a “ripe and willing way.”

So, yes, everything has led to these albums.

If there is one thing I hope of the “Next,” it’s that they outdo us big and bold before my death. I would rather die served and inspired than bored and beholden.

Can you tell me anything about what you have planned for a tour in support of G Is For Deep?

Fucking dancing bears and laptop-rocking on a tightrope in a speedo and peacoat.

In all seriousness, I will be doing quite a few shows. If all goes as planned, I will tour the East Coast with WHY? and West Coast with a friend to be named later; and of course, some European hi-jinx are in the works as well. As far as performance goes, it’s all me: I trigger, and dance, and sing, and tell jokes, and wax poetic all in one fell swoop. I also fuck up. Mistakes are the new purpose.

Do you have anything you’re working on in regards to your multiple collaborations?

You make me sound like a lady of the night…

… Or are we going to be seeing more solo Doseone work?

“Or?” How about both, at some interval to be determined later. I am hard at work on the next G record now, as well as some groups with no names, Alan Moore movies, cartoons, and quite a few video game’s music.

How is The Nevermen coming along?

Awesome, and what a modern teenager may call slow or lichen would call lightning. The only rule in Nevermen is “Never rush Nevermen.” I sometimes get impatient, and then I listen again to what we have made so far, and it all washes away into a grin. I am currently refurbishing a song right now. The good news is, I can’t really even begin to describe “how” it sounds, and for a word-monger like myself, that says a certain something.

What do you find more rewarding: a successful collaboration or a successful solo project?

They are equal parts rewarding. For me, collaboration is an utter must, lest you forget, I am a rapper from New Jersey; no music classes in his tank, and largely rap records memorized until 23 years of age. So for me in my “genesis,” there was no music-making without a collaborator, a.k.a. beat maker. I went 2,354 cyphers without meeting a beat maker.

I am just lucky enough to have met many musicians since then, and most of them are either self-taught or self-inspired so their achievements always seemed accessible to me, and in that same respect, I always tried to keep my talents “transparent” — no secrets, as to relay them as freely as I acquired them. If you want it, you can have it; while this frame of mind is very “project-blowed,” it is also very “da da” and related to the reflexive nature of inspiration.

However, something solo is just as marvelous in other manners; it’s like “having a basement,” whether you do or not, where you build a gizmo beyond your dream spec’s blurred edge. I myself don’t actually have a basement, but these solo songs are my secret thing, the thing I need… the things I keep… my dope diary, as it were. I have never been big on secrets, but this sort of “songs I keep and concoct till they are shared” thing truly does work for me.

I’ve always been interested in the differences between a creative process in a band setting, like you had with Subtle, and the creative process when making music in a solitary setting. What can you tell me about how you approach each scenario?

For me, the biggest difference is the “prism” of men or women that make good music is a complicated thing: sometimes it asks for simplicity and other times the complex. So when you are in a group, there is more of everything to go around, 13 & God being the perfect example of this. For me, there is a capable and talented human head for every idea we can come across, so nothing gets “un-executed.” This is collaboration at its best: “Those that have ideas speak them, and those that feel them double their sentiment or take them to fruition.” Then when you really have it good, someone will “disagree with perfection” and suggest an utter left turn, and after a bitchy thought or three, you know they are right, and you oblige them.

So when you rock it solo, this is all on you. And sometimes the joy of solo is [that] there is never any communication necessary; your new ideas become your new directions instantly. That being said, you must also be your own worst nightmare and edit double-time, at least in my case…

So when solo-flying, you must be the stringent-sound-recording fellow in the band, the drunk, dirty bastard who makes every ride-out “ride,” the kitten-voiced boy-toy, the genuine dude in the middle who shows you nothing but pearl, and the fella who is stuck sliding hi-hats around on a laptop until things feel human and slamming at the same time.

Can you give us any updates on Mars Safari?

Yes, so it is now in the process of being animated, the final green-lit-storyboard-animatic with voice was approved by lawyers, and execs, and friends, and family, and Walt Disney’s severed and preserved head. So nowwww, we wait; eventually, I will receive a nearly done version of the “short,” a.k.a. “pilot,” and I will do the final music and SFX; there will be some lines redone, and then…

We wait some more. As they show it to corporate types and kids… wooo… Then I imagine it like Zardoz: they approach a big floating stone head and are like, “Are we going to let GHOSTSHRIMP and Dose get money to make cartoons that enrich and crooked the minds and lives of the young?” And then the big stone head will spit out M16s and bread loaves…

That being typed, the final cast is me as The Narrator, Master-Shake as Emilio, Stevie (from East-Bound and Down) as Bull Goose, and Carl (Black Dynamite) as Mr. Nuggets.

As far as performance goes, it’s all me: I trigger, and dance, and sing, and tell jokes, and wax poetic all in one fell swoop. I also fuck up. Mistakes are the new purpose.

How involved were you in the overall look and design of Mars Safari?

My dear friend GHOSTSHRIMP is the creator proper, and it all leapt from his head. However, we are peas in a retarded pod and have written several cartoons together, a few got through a couple hoops at Adult Swim. So, if this thing goes Green Light all the way to series, I will help write and enrich the Mars Safari world as much as humanly/humorously possible.

Are you still doing the freestyle class for kids in Oakland?

No, unfortunately, it was shut down, due to lack of funding. I know it sounds like an after-school special plot twist, because IT IS; shit is ever real in Oakland, and across the states as far as I know. Of all the “things” a government could tighten purse-strings on perpetually, or take away consistently, it’s “things” from the young… Never ceases to heavy my heart.

Lighter side: me and the young homies still cypher on the streets of SF and Oakland with my LASONIC TRC-931 as often as possible; we will be rapping this weekend in fact, and truth be told they need no further instruction. Oddly enough, today as I exited the liquor store by my house, I saw my favorite female pupil sitting atop a trash can rapping to herself… such a sight is roses to me…

How’s it feel to reach a point in life where you can be a creative mentor to a younger generation and not just the “new artist on the rise?”

Without being corny, teaching those kids, or rather “just sharing my light” with them, is the coolest thing I have ever done. The votes are not yet in on who is dope and who is working at UPS five years from now, but what happened was a direct transference, of the skill and sensibilities the early 1990s “perfect rap” gave me, unto these kids who had barely heard of any two artists I called genius or groundbreaking.

… It was very impressive, so while they had been reared to “love” rap on slow-flow Lil Wayne-thin and all his comp, they instantly coveted and covered the more complicated rap I came to know and love in the mid-1990s.

What I like more is the notion of “who” these young awesome people will “be” when I meet them again. When I first met Andrew Broder, he was DJ Andrew; when I first met WHY?, he was a kid in a cocoon of college. I cannot wait to see them again in the scaffold of all their lives.

If there is one thing I hope of the “Next,” it’s that they outdo us big and bold before my death. I would rather die served and inspired than bored and beholden.

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