Independent and now rising major artist, promoters, A&Rs, etc are attending festivals and networking opportunities like A3C and SxSW along with other great chances to build connections and as well a fan base. This is more than familiar territory for Dough From Da Go, with his line of work catering to the indies now placing him in the same conversation with the majors. Applying the same work ethic with the know how building more than successful campaigns with notorious entities. On The Rise Magazine catches up with Dough to get his insight on these events along with the history of the Chicago hip hop scene. He honors us with an exclusive interview about where he also sees himself growing in the next five years as the next top executive.
Philly Blocks: What do you have going on?
Dough From Da Go: A lot of stuff, It’s the 10 year anniversary of Stack or Starve. So we are putting together a double mixtape. Kinda like a re-edition to all of the records that we have broke on all the artists. We are doing a tour for that. That’s for the brand. We are doing a DVD documentary. As far as what I am doing with these labels and what I am doing on that end, I have a lot of different projects coming out.
Philly Blocks: We met at AC3 last year last year, how do events like AC3 and SxSW help the artist and what are those experiences like at those kind of events?
Dough From Da Go: Those events are definitely important to me, Just being a mover and shaker myself. Because these events are for not only the independent artist and companies and structures but also those who are just getting their feet wet and want the experience. Just being a hustler in the game and trying to get knowledge on what it is to do and how to peruse everything that you are trying to do when it comes to pursuing a career in music.
Philly Blocks: How do events like this boost the artist independently and even major because now we are seeing the majors kinda crossing over into these kinds of events now just to get the show structured and show that they link with the independents.
Dough From Da Go: I feel that it’s an all around thing when it comes to just having the right structures and relationships to pursue everything that comes with these type of events. I think all in all, the best way to handle those situations is to just keep your ears open and doing the right thing when it comes down to attending these events and just making sure that you have everything down right.
Philly Blocks: What roles do you play in the music industry?
Dough From Da Go: I am definitely a person who markets and does A&R for different indie artists. I have a DJ coalition of 72+ DJ’s. I am also getting my feet wet with the major labels as well. I’m taking care of a lot of business for them being a rep and being in the position to move and shake as far as doing what I do as far as dealing with the radio personalities and the radio PD’s and breaking records. You know, just doing a lot of different things that I always wanted to do just at a higher level.
Philly Blocks: That’s dope. I am aware of the Stack or Starve brand that you have a 10 year anniversary coming up for. How far does the Stack or Starve brand reach out and what does the Stack or Starve brand mean to the independent scene as well.
Dough From Da Go: The Stack or Starve brand is a movement itself. I kinda started this brand and this movement because I wanted to channel a movement out of Chicago and for the mid-west. Just being influenced from the Gangsta Grillz and those type of brands that came out years ago. I wanted to have something that Chicago can call its own. With that being said, we have been able to break a lot of artists and DJ’s and put out some classic projects.
Philly Blocks: Even with how crazy Chicago is, Chicago shows a lot of support to its underground artists regardless of what kind of content it is: whether its drill music, hip hop, real music, artistry, R&B. What is the key to that with that city being as big as it is and all the things that you have going on with Chicago’s culture?
Dough From Da Go: Out of the drill movement, we definitely played a major role in breaking that in the streets back in 2012. The key and consistency to the new wave in Chicago, because there are a lot of different genres and elements to Chicago because you have the style of Hip Hop in Chicago that is deep rooted and has been underground for a while that comes with a lot of substance and storytelling. Then you have the real street stuff and then you have the Bop movement on the Westside. Everybody has their own style. You got the pimp style of hip hop in Chicago and of course the drill movement, so all around, it’s just a big pot of gumbo and everybody has a lane of their own. We try to represent the city as one and figure out a way to just bring it to the masses.
Philly Blocks: I’m familiar with the origins of how the whole drill movement started with Pacman and King Louie. Is that correct?
Dough From Da Go: Exactly. It all started on the Eastside of Chicago. Rest in Peace to Pacman. King Louie is definitely hands down one of the originators in the drill movement and one of the drill artists that came in the streets and took it to the next level. He definitely is doing his thing right now. We were definitely able to make a lot of history with Louie. We put out 3 or 4 mixtapes with him. We did a lot of things in the streets S/O to him because he is definitely doing his thing and he will get to where he is supposed to get in the game as well
Philly Blocks: I know everyone is really familiar with the drill movement. Like you said the pimp style, the bop style, the underground, deep Chicago rooted sound, if there was one artist you can think of to represent each of those styles, who would they be?
Dough From Da Go: From the bop, I would definitely say Lil Kemo, D-Lo. I wouldn’t put Stunt Taylor all the way into the bop movement but you know, he does have records like that. That’s all from being from the westside. Some of that game and some of that mackin rap, i’d put G.L.C., Do or Die, Twista: people like that who really can put it down from that level. The drill movement, you got Katie Got Bands, King Louie and real eastside rappers like Stash P and a lot of different rappers. You got Castro and Fatz Mack. You know, you got all of the original eastside people that’s been holding the drill down for the longest. Of course you got Lil Mouse which is another artist of mines. That’s where it all falls in line.
Philly Blocks: It’s crazy because its different styles all withing Chicago and even with the deep rooted history with Chicago like the Commons, the Twistas, the Consequences, the Rhyme fest and then you have this other side. I knew eventually, it was gonna be another side where Chicago was gonna tell what was really going on in the streets sooner or later. It just happened to take time in the decade, Why do you think that that wasn’t exposed nationally back in the 90’s and early 2000’s in comparison to now.
Dough From Da Go: It comes from access to different platforms. The internet is the biggest platform, so when you fast- forward to a bigger platform to the internet. That plays a major role into why its such exposure now vs then when we were dealing with limited resources like TV and telephone when it actually seemed to be in folks faces without actually being in their bedroom. Now you’re just a logon away from checking it out.
Philly Blocks: Can you explain the origins of the Stack or Starve brand and how it expanded into all of these different ventures that you bring for that entity?
Dough From Da Go: It started with the mixtapes series, then we took it to the DJ’s. Then I got with the DVD’s. Now we’re doing mixed shows. We dabble into a lot of different things like: management, branding, co-branding, consulting, and various things like that. Soon it will be touring and sponsorship and things like that. The brand overall is just something that we want to keep consistent and we want to make sure that the streets know what it is and respect the brand. We don’t play by the rules and we don’t do a bunch of ass kissing in the industry. We keep it raw and street. We have already been co-signed in the hood and certain cats in the industry. All in all, what we stay true to is our authenticity and we have a great presence in the streets of Chicago. That’s what we are about, just keeping that presence up and sticking to the G-code.
Philly Blocks: What other cities have you reached out to with the Stack or Starve brand?
Dough From Da Go: All the major cities. Of course, New York, Atlanta. We have Dj’s overseas in London and Canada. I got people in Denver, LA, the Carolina’s, Florida, Oklahoma obviously and Tennessee. Tennessee is actually a huge market to Stack or Starve. We have at least 8 DJ’s down there. We are definitely moving how we are supposed to be moving.
Philly Blocks: I have an interesting question. I seen on thisis50 that your favorite track is Rider music. That’s my favorite 50 cent track of all time too, what appeals you that track out of all of the songs in 50’s collection.
Dough From Da Go: Just the vibe of the record. I think that the production was done well by a very well respected Ohio producer. At the end of the day, it’s really the vibe of the record. It is mixed very well and it has a groove to it and a bassline that is crazy. All in all, it’s just one of those records that will go down as a classic.
Philly Blocks: Who is Dough From Da Go and what does he mean to Chicago?
Dough From Da Go: Definitely a hustler. Someone that wants a legacy left behind. I am a person that is all about helping the culture. I am all about I am about helping the young generation. I am also about giving to the next goal and I see myself in the next 5 years as being one of the top executives that’s for sure. You can quote me on that. I am just training right now, learning the ins and outs, and making sure that I am polished so that by the time I get there, I stay there.