Duo Live: Back To The Brooklyn Basics

Maneuvering independently within the Hip-Hop game for over ten years, Duo Live has really given their all into the music. Not only the music but what they want to give back to the people of the culture. Hip-Hop culture to be exact. It shows with the basis of talented artists they've worked with in the past and continue to work with today. From touring with Method Man and Redman to airing videos featuring Fabolous, the team has put together a coupled force that has garnered respect with time. It's impressive to see two people decide to take things into their own hands and actually succeed in America.With a new album set to release this year, the group has features with Snoop, Mikal Rose and Game Rebellion to name a few. When asked about the groups upcoming album, Fre had this to say. "Our new album is a return to our roots. Meaning we're taking it back to the essence of Hip-Hop, dope beats and hot lyrics with a message. Expect the best of Duo." Music:"Inevitable" VIDEO PREMIERE

video platform

video management

video solutions

video player

AllHipHop.com: What is Duo Live about?Fre: It's me Fre and my partner Sid, we collectively make up the group Duo Live. Arguably, I think we're one of the most successful independent Hip-Hop groups ever, especially from out of the East coast. Arguably in Hip-Hop itself. What we did was, we were the first cats to pop the trunk and sell over 375,000 copies of our CD independently. We did it all the way from New York down to Miami. People were coming from all over, but our base was set up in New York and we went and set up in Miami. We made some good music over the years. We have quite a catalog actually. We have 5 albums, 12 or 14 mixtapes, 12 music videos which have made it to Vh1, BET and MTV. We've managed to tour nationally with some great artists. It's been from Angie Stone, Lil Wayne to Meth and Redman. I think we're really accomplished and we've made really good music. I think we're just true Hip-Hop in every sense of the word.AllHipHop.com: How do you think your mixtape success affected other acts during that time and since then?Sid: It's interesting because at the time when we were doing the mix CD's, there were actual physical mix CD's with the covers and what not. We had some done with DJ's hosting like Kay Slay and DJ Khaled in Miami and Absolut as well. What we were doing at the time was much different. There wasn't the whole uploading your mixtape and stuff like that. There was more pressure to sell the CDs hand to hand and getting it out that way. You actually saw money off your music. Now mixtapes are much more for exposure and promotion. We were doing it for promotion as well, but back then we could make money off it. Mixtape DJ's were able to make money as well. Now it's strictly for promotion which is good. You give the people a chance to hear what it is you have and with that they can make a decision.Fre: I think our approach has come into fruition in these times. Now that people can upload your mixtape and what not, people are more in control of their own destiny. It has a lot of pros and cons, but we always chose that route. We made that decision a long time ago when it wasn't fashionable to do so. When everyone was still running around trying to get record deals, we created our own name. We blazed our own trail. That's how we became so successful and so respected throughout the music industry. I'm happy that people are in a position where they can come and see the light and make things happen for themselves. It's always best to do things your own way if you can. The operative words are if you can. I love it.AllHipHop.com: What are some pros and cons of being independent?Sid: You get to control your own destiny. You have total creative control over your own music. You can decide what you want to put out there and choose certain singles. You can pick out how you want videos to go and how things are placed.Fre: The cons are running out of money. Whenever you're apart of your own revolution you have to be mindful of things. We were rich. We had our own houses in Miami. There were places in New York. We had cars, full stacks and stuff like that. We were really doing it, living the dream. We've also seen the flip side. The side where you're down and out again. Everything is gone. There was nothing left but me and Sid in the studio. We gotta build it back up from the ground. You have to be prepared for the roller coaster. It's a real roller coaster when you're an entrepreneur. When you choose to go independent, you're really independent. That means you are left alone whether you're on top or on the bottom. That's basically it. I love it. We learned to love it and we grew into it. There are some good times and some bad times.AllHipHop.com: With that being said, what is money to you? You do have a whole album surrounding the subject.Fre: Money is just another resource. Its value is what you give it. Its value is what you make it to be on both sides. For some people, time is the most valuable resource. For other people health is the most valuable resource. For some people money is the most valuable resource. It's what you deem it to be. I see it as a healing tool. I say that because I'm a black person. I think the greatest disease in my community is poverty. That's across the entire world for most people of African decent. Poverty has really impacted us and been thrown upon us by many different forces. For me, I see money as a tool to help change our situation. I don't see it for much else. There isn't too much else for it. If you're not using it correctly it can be very dangerous. As we see everyday. If you mismanage it, it can start wars. Look at what the United States does, they use their money for wars. If they used half that money for wars on education, we'd have a nation full of geniuses. We have poor education and two wars going on right now. They're spearheading it with a bunch of dollars. What you use it for is what you make out of it. That's how I see it.Sid: Basically. Money has dual energy. You can use it to better yourself and better your people. Other than the obvious uses like keeping the lights on and basic dynamics. You don't just use money to show off and be frivolous. It goes both ways. The whole money concept for the album, was based on the movie "The Color of Money". That movie had Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. We touched on a bunch of different topics. Some of it was based on what Fre had said earlier.Fre: At the end of the day what we were trying to show was, that for us the color of money was black not green. Where we were coming from, the focus was on the issue of money in the black community. That was the theme of it. This is a black issue. We're not just going to talk about it the same way everybody else does. Not be all about saying we got a lot of money look at me. We were like okay, yeah we got money but this is what we're doing with it. This is what our intentions are with our money. We feel like our people should be doing this with our money. That's what it was.AllHipHop.com: What has Brooklyn brought to your music?Fre: How did our music get to Brooklyn should be the question. Brooklyn is the funnel for all our sound. I think our sound is heavily influenced by the Carribean. Black music as well, such as jazz, blues and rock. All of that coming through a Brooklyn filter. What you get is Brooklyn Hip-Hop. That's what we do. That's exactly what we do. We don't know how to do anything else. We put out a record with Nipsey Hustle and B Real from Cypress Hill. It was still Brooklyn as sh*t. In my opinon anyway. It was still a Brooklyn vibe. Whenever we do a record, we bring people to Brooklyn. I think its just how it is.Sid: As far as us being from Brooklyn, and being influenced by Hip-Hop and being around it all the time, we're from Bedstuy Brooklyn so we heard of artists other people may not know of. There were a lot of artists from the neighborhood and you just hear it and see how the people react. It makes you go, okay if we're going to do the music we have to be on those levels. Then people like B.I.G. come along and Jay-Z of course and other artists like Papoose, Maino and Fab. It's a legacy. People coming up in that or growing up in that, you see it and think to yourself that you gotta be better than these dudes. They get the co-signs in the neighborhood and you gotta get it too. The bar is raised really high in Brooklyn. That's what influences the music a lot. I gotta get the people behind this.AllHipHop.com: Would you say you do crossover stuff with your sound? For instance having a heavy bassline to match a Southern type beat.Sid: We've done songs that have a Southern vibe. We travel so of course when you travel you hear a lot.Fre: We live in Miami right now.Sid: When you hear different sounds, it gives you inspiration. It transcends into your music. We love the sounds that come out of the South, L.A. and Jamaica to name a few.Fre: When we go out to Jamaica and get the vibe out there, we come back ready to do stuff. Even on this new project we're working on, it's with a black rock band. We're working on something with Game Rebellion. It's pretty hot. We love experimenting with other sounds and doing different things. At the end of the day, it's all still black music. It's still within our range. Whether the people believe it or not. Its just where you choose to shoot from. Some people shoot from the three point line, others shoot from the beginning of the paint.AllHipHop.com: Why Miami to do your recording?Fre: We record everywhere.Sid: I'm in Brooklyn right now actually.Fre: I just left yesterday from recording. We record everywhere to be honest. We actually record in Miami, L.A., we even record sometimes in Vegas or New York as well. There's numerous spots we go to. This new album we recorded mostly in Miami. We going to wrap it up in Brooklyn, New York.AllHipHop.com: Compare your team to another prodcuer/DJ and rapper team.Fre: I wanna compare us to one right now that's heavily on my mind. That would be Gangstarr. Shouts to Guru and his whole family. Guru had a massive heart attack. That's actually one of our favorite Hip-Hop groups. Coming up, without trying to, we patterned ourselves around them. DJ Premier has always been one of the best DJ's and prodcuers from the East coast. For us, there were a lot of similarities I always thought. that Guru had a unique voice. People always tell me that I have one. There's a lot of similarities between us and we love their music.Sid: We've had the pleasure of meeting both of them.Fre: Exactly, we actually got to be real cool with them. If I'm going to say one group that we're closest to in a respect, it would be Gangstarr.AllHipHop: Your most recent tour was with KRS-ONE correct?Sid: Actually that tour was cancelled. It was scheduled then it never pulled through.Fre: We have done a lot of spot dates with KRS before and speaking of Public Enemy, they were in our recent video.We had the pleasure of Professor Griff and Chuck D introducing the video. They were in it along with Kool Herc. As far as Public Enemy goes, we've known Chuck for years. Our relationship with the group has really established over the years. Its incredible to work with and to know them and stuff. They have a wealth of information and knowledge that goes way beyond music. They know everything about the Hip-Hop game and the game in general.Sid: Recently we did go on tour with Meth and Red.Fre: We were just with them and it was last year. We went to 21 or 22 cities. It was a lot of fun.AllHipHop.com: Speak to me a bit about your song "Princess." I recently saw it on Vh=H1 actually.Fre: "Princess" is actually an old record that kind of keeps coming back. We released a version that's not the better version. It's the remix. The remix is the one they play with Fabolous and Al B Sure. The original record was just featuring Fab. We thought it was a better record that way. For commercial appeal we put the remix out. It's just crazy how the record will keep coming back. It was doing really well, then it slowed down and now recently there's been a resurgence of it. Between Vh1, MTV and BET, they're playing it again. It's even on Music Choice on demand. I'm always shocked when people talk about "Princess" because that record was made 3 almost 4 years ago. Shouts to "Princess" I guess, it's a really good record.AllHipHop.com: There hasn't been a push from a PR person or anything in regards to it?Fre: No. We haven't pushed that record since 2007. We haven't touched or spoken of the record since. Look, it's 2010 and people are still talking about it.Visit Duo Live at:myspace.com/duolivetwitter.com/Hd_fretwitter.com/BrooklynSidV