The fastest way to become a rap star these days is to (A.) blow up on SoundCloud or (B.) sign with somebody who’s already a rap star and be on their label — sometimes (C.) both. East Cleveland rapper Doe Boy has done both, using his SC page to build a base and signing with Future’s label Freebandz to take that base to another level. The two wasted no time dropping “Streetz Need Me 2” in December 2019. I gotta be honest y’all — I never even heard “Streetz Need Me 1”. He’s already got the other thing every up-and-coming rappers need though – a co-sign from WorldStar.
“N-ggaz in they feelings but I ain’t got no heart/N-ggaz never liked me, I don’t want ’em to start (fuck ’em!)” That’s the unapologetic sentiments of Doe Boy in his “Walk Down” music video. Even though he’s signed with a Georgia artist known for his syrupy singing delivery, this song is a straight up rap delivered over an Honorable C.N.O.T.E. beat that sounds like early-to-mid 1990’s Death Row, something Doe Boy references by saying “You will die young n-gga, just like Eazy/N-gga witta attitude, just like Dre … we the new N.W.A.” He’s even rocking the Raiders silver and black in the clip.
Doe Boy isn’t just connected to Atlanta though. He’s also got a Chicago connect through Lil Durk on “Mini Vans.” It’s a tough talking track about how they’re real and other people who talk hard aren’t, but the lines “N-gga said youse a shooter, whatchu run for?/You better ‘Run Forrest, run Forrest, run’/Cause them n-ggaz slide in mini vans where I’m from” made me smile.
At first I thought the Dr. Dre sound was just a casual coincidence because Doe Boy wanted to pay tribute to a childhood inspiration, but he actually has a song called “Death Row” on the album where he makes references to Suge Knight and Jerry Heller. You might have thought a Cleveland rapper would have more in common with Bone Thugs, but that’s not what Doe Boy is about. There’s no doubt his style and flair are deeply rooted in the West.
What’s the goal for Doe Boy on “Streetz Need Me 2” (or 1) and in general? Well on songs like “Bounce Back” I could say it was to bridge his West coast fandom with his Atlanta affiliates, combining both sounds into his own flavor. He goes a step further on “All Honesty” by getting straight Tuned up and crooning his way through the album’s closer. There’s little doubt he wants to be the cool dude on the block too, the anti-hero for today’s generation, the brother who is smart enough to graduate but would rather “Skip Skool” and make money with his own hustle.
Doe Boy is no doubt making dough and boy will he ever so long as he keeps making connects the way he has in his short time on the scene. I respect any rapper who can bring different influences and different people from different parts of the U.S. together, especially given how divided the country currently is in 2020. Saying that is naturally going to make you think about politics though so that leaves us with this thought — what’s Doe Boy’s platform? What does he stand for? He’s cool, yes. He’ll work with anybody, yes. He likes N.W.A and so do I. Perhaps it’s my own failing not his that I expect more, but that intangible X factor isn’t evident. His music is cool but once you consume it, you forget it. The bars don’t stick with you. He doesn’t pull any emotional heart strings. “I’m cool, watch me be cool” is fine for a minute, so when “Streets Need Me 3” comes let’s see what he’s added to it.