Doitall (Lords of the Underground) Hip-Hop legends Doitall and Funkman make up the one of the most recognizable groups in hip-hop history, Lords of the Underground. From hits like “Funky Child” to “Here Come the Lords” to “Tic Toc”, the Lords are back with a brand new album, brand new ventures, and things every real hip-hop head need to know!
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk about the new album “House of Lords”? FUNKMAN: It’s our official fourth album. We’ve been recording a lot in the past couple of years in between touring or anywhere we go. We always get in the studio, no matter if we’re in Japan, Amsterdam, Paris, or Germany. No matter where, we get in the studio somehow someway. We had all these songs that we’ve been recording over the years. Our fans have been basically asking when are we going to put out something new, so it was about time, man. “House of Lords” is like fifteen joints on the album and it’s real hip hop music; no bullsh*t. This record is basically for the Lords of the Underground fans that haven’t heard from us in a while.
DOITALL: Like Funk said, we recorded different places when we were overseas and got a chance to work with some new producers that was always around us, just to give it a different edge. Of course we still worked with Marley Marl, but over all, House of Lords is just it’s a whole of the Lords of the Underground and that’s where hip hop lives. Hip Hop to us was about having fun, not being scared to say who you are what you are in hip hop on record. That’s what this House of Lords album is.
WHO?MAG: How did you guys get with the label Affluent records? DOITALL: Oscar and I had some other business dealings that we were doing. We were throwing ideas in the air or whatever. We got together and said let’s put out this Lords of the Underground album for our fans and that’s what happened.
WHO?MAG: DJ Lord Jazz told me you guys are working on a collaboration album with DAS EFX? DOITALL: We haven’t done it yet. DAS [EFX] is doing a new album. Once their album is done, since we’re on the road a lot with DAS EFX, what we’re going to try to do is get the people used to seeing us together. Then we’re going to do the album which is going to be crazy!
WHO?MAG: Who is on the album as far as producers and cameo appearances? DOITALL: We kind of wanted to keep it more Lords of the Underground, since nobody has heard from us in while. On the producer’s side, we got my Chicago Rob from Chicago, a crazy up and coming producer, we got Wyclef’s brother, Sedic Jean on the album. Of course you got DJ Lord Jazz, Epik, Josh Beats, and The R out of Texas. He worked with Masta Ace. FUNKMAN: Don’t forget about Marley Marl. We’ve never done anything without Marley Marl.
WHO?MAG: The last album was Resurrection back in 1999. Why 8 years to put out another album? FUNKMAN: Fans may love you, but they’re very unforgiving. It’s a conditional love. Conditional upon keeping feeding them. Us as a crew, you got to understand we were children when we came into this business. I was like 17, 18 years old. As time went on, we grew into men. When you grow into men, you know how it is. You start developing your own sense of self, priorities, and goals. As a crew and hip hop artists, we’ve never separated as artists, but as men and individuals, we had individual goals that we needed to accomplish. We always knew one day we would always come back together. Just because we weren’t making records together didn’t mean we weren’t touring. Years after the Resurrection Album, Lords of the Underground still go on tours. We just came back from Africa and Europe. I’ve just been home for five days. (laughs) Doitall will tell you we stay on the road. We’re more of a touring hip hop group now and I don’t think we’re ever going to stop doing that. As long as the fans keep wanting us, then we’re going to continue to do that. As a group and having grown up in this business, once you grow you have individual goals you want to accomplish, like going back to school and getting my degree. DJ Lord Jazz went to Paris and he’s a radio personality over there, producing other artists. He just started a record label not too long ago. He’s doing his thing. Doitall is into acting and marketing. We need each other as Lords of the Underground, but we don’t need each other to accomplish our individual goals as men.
WHO?MAG: Speaking of Resurrection, how did you guys get the deal with Queen Latifah’s label Jersey Kids? DOITALL: That was a deal between Shakim. Latifah, and ourselves. They’re from [New] Jersey and we’re from [New] Jersey. We tried to do something with some hometown brethrens and make something happen.
WHO?MAG: What exactly happened? There was never a video or anything? DOITALL: I’m going to tell you. What happened was it was supposed to be our fourth album. We did an album with Island Music with Hiriam Hicks over there. Hiriam lost the deal with Def Jam, so we never put the album out. The album was called “When the Smoke Clears”. It was produced by Marley Marl. It never really happened so we did another album which was Resurrection and that was supposed to come out through Island, but they were going through their problems. They said we could wait and see what happens or we can go. Shakim and Latifah said let us see what we can do with them and that’s what happened.
WHO?MAG: Is there a possibility you might put out the third one out one day? DOITALL: It’s a classic called “When the Smoke Clears”. I think I still got it on DAT. When we put out the Greatest Hits we might make it a double disc and throw the lost album as well.
WHO?MAG: Doitall, I know you’ve been acting for a couple of years and you were in The Sopranos. Can you talk about that? DOITALL: I really thought I was going to be actor before I became a rapper actually. Just go hard at it. I figure I should have gone harder at it earlier in my career. I remember speaking to 2pac and I was talking about the acting thing. He was like “if that’s what you want to do go hard at it.” By that time, we were already popping. It’s a field within itself, just like the music game. I wanted to take it seriously. I wanted to do every avenue and do it the right way instead of being an actor who’s a rapper from Lords of the Underground. Every role or part that I receive is me busting my ass trying to make it happen as an actor. I’m still going hard at it and it’s going well. For The Sopranos, I auditioned even though they cut my role short.
WHO?MAG: Since you guys are from Newark, why didn’t you ever do anything with Redman? DOITALL: Redman used to be my DJ. I don’t know either. You’ll have to ask Redman.
WHO?MAG: How was working with K-DEF and why wasn’t he on this album? DOITALL: K-DEF is an incredible beatmaker! I think he got to get his business in order and his people person in order. Other than that, he’s an incredible producer. The reason why K-DEF is not on this album is that K-DEF has to come talk to me before I work with him again and this is Doitall talking, not Lords of the Underground.
WHO?MAG: I read you were there when LL Cool J was working on Mama Said Knock You Out? DOITALL: When LL Cool J was recording “Mama Said Knock You Out”, that’s when we came into the picture. I’ll never forget walking through the door into the studio and seeing a white tank top and a Kangol. That was LL Cool J. I thought that we made it. You saw Heavy D, Monie Love, Tragedy, TLC, LL Cool J, we saw everybody come through.
WHO?MAG: How is Marley Marl in the studio? DOITALL: He’s not too much of talker unless he believes in something. He’ll sit back and let it happen. One thing that makes Marley who he is is that he knows how to edit and mix. I think mixing and editing makes the record. It’s just like a movie. You can shoot a bunch of footage, but if you don’t edit it right you just got a bunch of footage. That’s the same thing with Marley Marl. He can turn lyrics into his songs.
WHO?MAG: I heard that you went wild when you heard Biggie sampled Chief Rocka for the song Machine Gun Funk. DOITALL: I got an even better story than that. When they first sampled Funk’s voice I was in the club in NYC. I was chilling with some friends and Funk came and put his arm around me. He was telling me they were about to go to the studio with Biggie and they wanted me to go. They might sample your voice. Remember, I was a young dude still popping. Puff was not a half a billionaire that he is now. I was like cool let me know where ya’ll at and I might come through later. Of course later came and I went home and went to sleep. Then I hear a couple of weeks later they sampled my voice. I call that my dummy award, because if I would have been to the studio, who knows what it would have turned into. It could’ve turned into a relationship with Puff. It could’ve turned into me doing a song with Biggie. It could’ve turned into using my original voice instead of a sample on a record. It makes you look at everything in hindsight. I don’t have any regrets and I live with my setbacks, but if my choice were a little different, who knows what it would have became.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook with Spice 1 for that mix CD you and DJ Lord Jazz put out in Paris? DOITALL: Spice 1 and Goldie Loc heard a song that I did with this guy from New Zealand. It’s crazy because Spice 1 is in Cali and here this man is in New Zealand across the world telling Spice 1 and Goldie Loc want me to jump on this song.
WHO?MAG: Are you working on any solo albums? DOITALL: I’m working on an album as we speak called “Platanos and Collar Greens”. I’m doing it with Canibus and DJ Puertorock.
WHO?MAG: I read an interview with Pete Rock that you and Funkman are going to be on his new album “NY’s Finest”. How did that come about? DOITALL: The song is called “The Best Kept Secret”. It’s crazy. If you listen to that song at first, it was supposed to just be me on that album. That was supposed to be for my “Platanos and Collar Greens” album. Pete gave me the beat, so we used it for Pete’s album. Pete is like the big uncle, man. Pete can get anything from us. That’s my dude. Pete’s like a big uncle to us.