In the early morning hours of June 11, 1805, a fire began that burned down Detroit: population 600. The residents chose to rebuild and the event became a symbol of a new beginning in Detroit and is where the city gets its motto: Speramus Meliora: Resurgent Cineribus which translates to, “We hope for better days, it shall arise from its ashes.”
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And since that fateful day, Detroit has been in what seems like a perpetual cycle of burning itself down and rebuilding. The recent bankruptcy filing by the state-appointed Emergency Manager made national headlines as Detroit becomes the first major municipality to make such a filing. While the city government is ridden with debt, the people of the city remain hopeful for what most believe will be a triumphant comeback.
In recent years, it has been hip-hop artists carrying the legacy of “The D,” on their backs, or more likely, on their fitted Tigers caps. From the Eminem era came D12, Royce Da 5’9″ and more. They represented the “Detroit Hip-Hop” scene immortalized in 8 Mile and known for battle prowess and lyrical dexterity.
Meanwhile, another sect of lesser-known rap artists were also making music, the Detroit street sound was embodied by the Eastside Chedda-Boyz, Big Herk, Tone-Tone, the Street Lord’z; rap crews more likely to be rapping about money, hoes, and clothes. One rapper, however, was the most well-known. A boss of bosses, born into a family of hustlers, he had an enigmatic personality and made street music for flashy Detroit players. The life and murder of Blade Icewood inspired of a generation of rappers who too liked to talk about living the flashy, hustler lifestyle that Detroit is known for. “Blade was just a real street guy, and he was living what he rapped about,” says Rikavel, owner of Seven Mile Records, “Doughboyz Cashout are basically what he was then…now.”
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Blade Icewood greatly influenced a new generation of street sound rappers, most notably Doughboyz Cashout, the newest signees to CTE World, the label owned and operated by Young Jeezy. The relationship with Jeezy and Detroit is a close one. From his loose affiliation with Big Meech, to his street hustler sound that resonates with the city, he is practically an Honorary Detroiter. He shut down the city’s Summer Jamz this year, and in fact, his name was jokingly tossed around during a recent Mayoral primary. So, when he signed the hottest group of rappers out of the city this summer, he came close to being crowned king. “The best thing about working with Jeezy,” says Kid, “is just working with him. Being around him.”
Doughboyz Cashout started out as two cliques of popular kids in two different high schools. Known for their flashy clothes, shoes, and Cartier glasses, the Doughboyz and the Cashout Rich Ni**as, were well-known in their westside neighborhoods, “We was just popular, known for dressing and taking girls, and s**t,” explains Payroll, “Then we started rapping.” The merger of the two crews into one resulted in their unique name, Doughboyz Cashout or DBCO, and their raps quickly gained popularity in high schools and barber shops. The sheer size of their crew, now 20-something’s in age, makes people question who exactly is in the group, but the four main rappers are Payroll, Kid, Big Quis, and Doughboy Dre.
On the new CTE Mixtape, Boss Your Life Up Gang (#BYLUG), dropping today (Aug. 13), the Detroit spitters are featured on several songs including, “Chris Paul,” featuring Young Jeezy, a slow almost soulful song about…ballin’, of course. The hook “I ball hard/Chris Paul bi**hes/gold neck, gold wrist/call me Cristal ni**as/Alexander McQueen/Christian Louboutin dreams/from the bottom to the top of the world with a triple beam.” The DBCO crew can be counted on to talk about ballin’, but they also have some deep songs too, they played one for us that isn’t on BYLUG called, “Panamera,” a cautionary tale about a young boy who should be dreaming big, but all he really wants is a nice car. “Young kids are going crazy in Detroit,” they explain, “robbing people, shooting people. This is for them.”
It’s too early to predict what effect the national attention of Doughboyz Cashout will be on their hometown. It seems like their influence is already spreading, they have a popular clothing line and steady promotional events. But, they seem confident, “We are the new Detroit sound.”
Boss Your Life Up Gang mixtape will be released today (Aug. 13) DatPiff at 3pm.