The city of Atlanta has produced some of the most recognizable names in Hip-Hop like T.I., Young Jeezy and Outkast. Enter EarthGang – an Atlanta based duo comprised of group members Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus, who’s looking to add their group’s name to this list of Hip-Hop heavyweights with their soulful street sound.
AllHipHop.com recently had the chance to speak with EarthGang - read on as we discussed their latest release Shallow Graves for Toys andthe music coming out of Atlanta.
AllHipHop.com: EarthGang, how did you guys come up with the name? Is there a meaning behind it?
Doctur Dot: Yes. It is the Universe in 2D. To actually try to define EarthGang would be a waste. Back in high school Venus asked Dot and Tonio to form EarthGang. He pulled that name out his ass, literally. Put a buncha names in a bunch of fortune cookies and decided whatever he shits out first is the name. Best shit ever taken on earth. Now it’s just Dot and Venus = EarthGang and we really just never changed the name because we always thought we were just at the edge of eternal fame...sooo...there.
Being new artist, describe what the day to day grind is like for an up and coming group like yourselves.
Doctur Dot: Day to day is a kind of an obsolete term...everything has felt like one long day since we recorded our first vocals in high school. Perpetual motion baby girl. We move in complete tune with nature and that’s what the industry is recognizing and respecting.
What do you think of the current state of Hip-Hop?
Johnny Venus: I don't think about the current state of Hip-Hop. Whatever that is on the radio is inundated though. The industry is changing and shifting. Labels no longer have exclusive access to models of business and revenue streams. But power never yields without struggle and fellow artists making strides i.e. Chance The Rapper, Joey Bada$$ [#BGA], Action Bronson [#BGA], Kid Cudi understand the leverage they have.
Where do you see yourselves fitting in?
Johnny Venus: In between De Nyew Testament and the Third Testament. Spillage Village. It can't fit in if it's spilling.
As you know sometimes in music, fans tend to get tunnel vision and only support what’s being played on the radio or the artists that’s “hot” right now, making it hard for artists to break in and make an impact with their music. How do you guys plan on changing that?
Doctur Dot: Human nature is to follow what seems safest to digest. We aim not to change human nature. We aim to be so undeniable humans will risk that false sense of safety.
Alright, let’s talk about Shallow Graves for Toys, your latest project.
EarthGang: Cool man I'm so glad you asked. Thanks big fella.
What was the creative process like for the album?
Johnny Venus: It was different than our first projects. We started it out-of-state with a few tracks which we released; very intense, emotions in those two. It was at a point in time when many strong holds were being severed. We took those stories and made fables out of them; returning to Atlanta, a bit like Simba returning home. Shit was different. We rounded up with survivors we knew before our pilgrimage and got back to work. The album maybe cost under two grand to make with the bulk of the production coming from associates and other members of Spillage Village. The cover says a lot. More than I'm saying now. Illustrated by John Hairston of Charlotte, NC.
If you could only pick one song on the album to draw a listener in or one song that you want people to pay close attention to, which one would it be?
DocturDot: I really like the whole album of course but my two favorites are "DJESUS IS BLACK" and "Sweet Haste." A lot of demon expulsion on those records.
Johnny Venus: LOL, “to pay close attention to", I just pictured people crowding around the speaker like the Jack Johnson fight. Yes.
And on a side note – “The F-Bomb” is my 2014 anthem. Great song.
EarthGang: Thanks Lo
After listening to your music, it almost has a Goodie Mob feel to it. You guys are obviously a lot different with your delivery and artistic vision. But are they one of the groups from Atlanta you looked up to when you first started writing?
Johnny Venus: Yes. The Good Die Mostly Over Bullshit, their new video for "Amy" is totes hilarious...
B.O.B, a fellow rapper from Atlanta recently gave you a shout out on twitter. Is it big to have another artist respect your music after the work you put in to it?
Doctur Dot: That's great we didn't know that happened. Thanks Robert.
The music coming out of Atlanta now, do you feel it’s a true representation of your city?
Johnny Venus: Yes, but it certainly is not the only representation of our city. People think we really live like the TV portrayals on these reality shows and these dance craves. Atlanta is global city as well as a Southern Bell and folks with limited capacities or limited experiences can't seem to grasp that. That's where we come in, media imagery man. Places like the West coast, NY, Chicago are seen as artistic communities flourishing with various expressions; cultural hubs influenced by the world. But Atlanta is pigeon-holed, and blanketed with this label of only being a southern, jigging, stripping, rapping mecca for black people, which is but one shade. You wouldn't believe how many industry non-natives living in the city ask us where we're from.
What’s next up for EarthGang in 2014, any goals?
EarthGang: FBGM. Tramond and BEYOND.
I think we all are on that one. Again, thanks for speaking with us. We all appreciate it here at Allhiphop.com. Do you want to give any shout outs before we go?
EarthGang: Shout out to that man Eric Burke, Shout out to Sun Chips, Shout out to Quint Green; a real Usher middle school ass ni$$a and that man QJ. Shout out to Willy Wonka and to The Spillage Village. See you at South by n shit. Thank you for this interview man we really appreciate it. Go get SGFT.
For more information on EarthGang or to download Shallow Graves for Toys, follow the below links: