2014 is sure to be filled with many emcees vying for titles like “Rookie of the Year”, “Best New Artist” and “Sleeper of the Year”. But if upstart emcee DUBB has anything to say about it, many of them will have a lot of catching up to do with what he’s already accomplished. The Los Angeles lyricist has been independently making gritty, poignant Hip Hop ever since he was a teenager, releasing his first mix tape, South Centralz Own, in 2007. And his grind payed off in a major way last year being featured on one of the most attention-grabbing releases in 2013: Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw, the centerpiece of Hussle’s “Proud 2 Pay” campaign. And with DUBB’s latest project, Never Content, having already dropped, 2014 is shaping up to be a year where the West Coast native takes more steps towards Hip Hop industry prominence. He recently sat down and talked with Sosoactive.com about his music, career and aspirations.
Many readers may not know it, but you’ve had a very successful career thus far as an independent artist. What specific things do you attribute your success to and what are some of the things you and your team have done to make it happen?
First and foremost, I have a strong faith in God and I love my family. Secondly I have been blessed with the gift of being able to write and record music that people have grown to love. The success that I’ve had thus far on an indie level is really a reflection of my constant growth and work ethic.
Many people don’t know that I have been making music since I was 17. I’m definitely not an overnight success. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of things in order to become the artist that I am today. My AV8ERS team is just as important not only during the musical process but they are behind the business that drives me. They work very hard and we truly don’t believe in taking days off there’s always an opportunity for you to develop your craft.
You also have a pretty substantial discography going back to 2007 with South Centralz Own and more recently with 2013’s Black Box. Do you consider yourself a veteran in the game at this point, or still an artist on the rise?
I still feel that I am an artist on the rise. I haven’t had my shot yet so I don’t want to use the term “Veteran in the game” loosely. Since 2007 I have undergone artist development and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because it has made me become a more complete artist.
Much of your music is very personal and introspective, as evidence by one of your latest tracks “Silver Lining”. What are some of the things you want fans and potential fans to take away from your music?
I want fans to recognize me as a very genuine and honest artist. I understand that this is a business and you still have to paint pictures and create excitement for everyone, but my overall goal is to bring back that realism to the Hip Hop industry.
As an independent artist with such a dedicated and passionate following, how important is it for you to both maintain your current fans and gain new ones in an age where Hip Hop seems to have become so disposable?
Very. And I have to do so by remaining humble. I feel like humility is a major part of growth. A lot of artists hit a glass ceiling in their careers because they can’t accept nor do they impose criticisms upon themselves. This not only helps you to maintain an audience but it also helps you to gain new fans as well.
What are some of the things you’ve learned as an artist, having worked with some of the biggest current names in the game, including Game, Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Nipsey Hussle, Emilio Rojas and many more?
Shout out to all of my peers in the music industry. Working with some of those artist’s that you mentioned was truly a blessing. Competing is a great thing for everyone I don’t want it to be easy for me because my goal is to be better than all of them, but at the same I want them to feel the same way. I respect my competitors a lot and sometimes it’s not even always about that direct competition because all of us work together and make great music with one another. At day’s end it’s about elevating the culture for the next generation that comes in.
Having been inspired by the likes of Eminem, Nas and Jadakiss, are these artists that you’d want to work with in the future? And who are some other artists that you would like to get in the studio with?
Man, (Laughs), Jadakiss would be a dream come true feature for me! He is definitely my favorite rapper alive!! And of course Nas, Eminem, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and T.I. and Snoop Dogg. They are all living legends so when that day comes I will be ready.
You were recently shouted out by Nipsey Hussle on Elliot Wilson’s “The Truth” for contributing to the song “Don’t Take Days Off” from the Crenshaw mix tape. What are your feelings on his success with the “Proud 2 Pay” campaign, and would you ever be inclined to do something along the same lines with your music?
Shout out to the big bro Nipsey Hussle! I am extremely happy for him and proud of him and I’m not only saying that because I was on Crenshaw. What Nipsey did was show the world that the power can be in the hands of the artists. Personally, I want to do something innovative that no one has done before. I don’t want to do what Nipsey did per say. But I definitely learned a lot from his campaign and saw things that I can apply to my own.
The anticipation for your new mix tape Never Content hosted by DJ Carisma has really been building powerfully. Tell us more about it and what fans can expect from the music on this project.
Never Content is going to be the best mixtape that you have ever heard in your life. DJ Carisma and I teamed up for what I know is a masterpiece. Anyone who appreciates great music and grind will know exactly what I am talking about once they hear it. I really pushed the line creatively but at the same time I stayed true to my musical roots of concepts, lyricism and over all substance based music. Typically I don’t like to do a lot of features for my projects but this time around I reached out to some of my friends in the music industry such as Eric Bellinger, Skeme, Iamsu! and Lamar Jay to perfect this mixtape.
With it now being a whole new year, what are some of the things you hope to accomplish with your music in 2014 and beyond? Any plans to go out on tour any time soon?
I have a list of goals that I will accomplish in 2014 but I will not discuss them, my actions will do the talking so y’all just got to keep up with me. In terms of tours I actually have my own tour kicking off in April called the “Fly High Tour” with my homie from PA Devin Miles. I’m also performing Feb 21st at the Los Globas in Hollywood, California for Never Content. Anyone in the area can get tickets on Ticketweb.com.
Is there anything else you want potential fans to know about DUBB?
I want all my fans to know that I do this for y’all. Without you, there is no me. I appreciate each and every last one of you. To any new fans that may be reading this interview I say this: take a minute out of your day and listen to my music in its totality. Make sure you keep up with me on Twitter at @itzDUBB, online at ItzDUBB.com and all my other social sites for new updates. I want give a big shout out to all of the writers and staff up at Sosoactive.com. I appreciate the love 100!