Doujah Raze Interview
Author: Adam Bernard
Doujah Raze. It's an interesting name and the person who chose the moniker
is, likewise, an interesting person. The MC, who was born in Washington, DC,
raised in Virginia and now lives in Brooklyn, explains its meaning as "to use
my energy to break down what's negative and raise what's positive." "I fit
Doujah, which is a slang term for weed, to mean my energy, and Raze is to fit my
spiritual side. The way it's spelled means to be destroyed but I'm using all its meanings."
Raising the positive is something only a select group of rappers can claim to
be successful at. Doujah thinks he belongs in such a category, saying that
when it comes to his self titled release "I think that in every song there is a
message. I'm not preaching at anybody, I never want to tell people what to
do, but I think I observe a lot and through my songs you can understand my
observations and come away with some kind of positive meaning. Something that
will make people feel good about themselves or make them think about what's going
on in the world. I'm definitely a storyteller and that's going to continue
throughout my career."
Being a storyteller, however, has its drawbacks. "The problem is that
Hip-Hop has now become pop music," he explains "and the commercial audience, the pop
audience, oftentimes isn't able to decipher these intricate stories, they
can't grasp the whole thing, so a lot of these artists now dumb down their lyrics
to make it catchy so people can sing the hooks and understand what they're
saying. Right now there's great Hip-Hop acts young and old that are still
telling stories and they're still doing it just as well as it was done in the
golden era." Doujah says that having this knowledge "is going to cause me to walk
a fine line to make music that's commercially accepted and make music that's
true to what I do."
After pressing his first single on vinyl and developing his buzz through both
the use of vinyl and college radio, Doujah feels that these avenues that are
open to every artist are oftentimes forgotten or ignored in lieu of the lust
of fast cash. He notes "vinyl sales have totally dropped off but it's the best
way to promote yourself and if an artist wants longevity and to build a
career the best way is to start out with vinyl and servicing college radio. If you
build a slow and steady fan base it will pay off in the future. If I ever do
blow up commercially I'll have a rack of fans saying 'I've been listening to
this guy for five, six years.'" Doujah knows it's those hardcore fans that
will stick with an artist through thick and thin.
With the release of his full length debut in late 2005 Doujah Raze finally
had the opportunity to tell the world who he is and what makes him unique as an
artist. When it comes to that list he says it's a long one. "I think it's
everything," he says candidly, "there's not one specific thing that I can say
'this makes me different.' It's my voice, the beats I'm rhyming over, my flow,
my lyrics." He continued, adding "I'm not some thug idiot trying to be hard, I
can present different sides of my personality, show different faces in
different places. Overall I think I'm a positive person, a smart person, I think
about what's going on in the big picture, I sometimes take a step back and
analyze why I do what I'm doing and why other people are doing what they're doing."
Right now Doujah's plans are long term. He explains "I'm turning 27 now, so
I'm giving myself three good years. If we keep seeing that progress there's
no reason not to keep going for it." "All my life I've kind of been building
towards this even though I may not have known it. I grew up playing piano and
guitar, writing poetry and writing lyrics. I've always been performing, I've
always wanted to be in front of crowds. The main reason I know I'm doing what
I'm supposed to be doing is when I go on tour, especially in Europe, I see
people from different cultures who speak different languages and they relate to
me through the music. That makes me know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
Essentially, Doujah's been seeing his name come to life as he continues to
witness the fruits of his energy raise something positive.
Visit Doujah Raze's label at TrilogyOnWax.com.
Originally posted: January 3, 2006