Though the poem itself is brilliant and evocative, Samuel Coleridge’s old poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” has a noticeably bizarre setup: a guy at a wedding bumps into a weathered sailor and the sailor tells him a long and engaging story involving death, loss, wonder, mystery, tragedy, redemption and dark comedy. This scenario is absurd considering the length and sheer weirdness of the sailor’s story, but the subtle lesson is that by tarrying and just taking the story on its own, strange terms, the wedding guest is infinitely enriched, the next day waking up a wiser and sadder man. Emcees and producers The Doppelgangaz offer a similar experience. The world they invoke in their music is unforgivably seedy and immediately off-putting, yet when you tarry, taking this odd world on its own terms, you realize that it’s genuinely a place where you would want to become a denizen.
Curious to learn more about this world as well as its architects, we caught up The Doppelgangaz to discuss their upcoming album Peace Kehd, the difference between the “Smang Life” and the “Black Cloak Lifestyle,” why Reason is an ideal production software, rappers’ annoying conservatism and why weird looking people are just more interesting to rap about. To immediately immerse you into The Doppelgangaz world, the first question has been omitted.
Matter ov Fact: We’re anal as hell. If somebody saw our process, they would think we a female trying to preserve her virginity. We anal as hell. [pauses to let the joke land]. We nitpick, we zoomin’ in and fixin’ shit. We’re mad anal when it comes to this stuff.
RESPECT: I noticed that a lot of your music videos are activity-based. I’ve seen you guys ice skate, go to arcades, row on a lake. Why do you guys choose to present yourselves in this active way?
EP: Initially all the stuff we did for Lone Sharks was to first of all, just to break the rap mold, definitely. That’s why we did shit in the forest and at the Renaissance fair. We just didn’t want to do the typical stuff. So that was the initial intent behind it, but I just feel like we like cool different backgrounds and activities and the idea of just relating to the song and trying to make the videos be based on the song. I like for us to just use videos as a creative outlet and whatever we want to do, we just do it. If we want to go to an arcade or a lake –
MoF: – If we’re hitting up a new area, we like to see what that area has to offer. Maybe they have something going on like a certain spot or place that’s known, so we like to hit it up and see what’s going on.
EP: There’s too much beauty –
MoF: – Especially in New York state. I think people don’t realize how beautiful the whole state is. There’s all kind of beautiful looking shit out here. There’s more to the state than just tagged up walls.
MoF: Yeah, the Black Cloak Lifestyle is using whatever tools you have to get things accomplished. That’s what that represents. And Smang Life is like this shorty right here -[points at a pedestrian] – doing whatever you want to do or like to do with whoever you want. I don’t care if it’s a dog or an adult or whatever – I’m not gonna say whoever.
EP: – It could be an object!
MoF: It’s about not feeling any type of guilt or bad about yourself or shame. Because once you’re engulfed in that lifestyle, you’re all about fulfilling your desires and you don’t really care what anyone thinks about it. So If I want to have sex with a goat, I say you know what, I like having sex with goats, I’mma just do that shit.
EP: Otherwise, you’ll be like a murderer. You gotta get it out, especially sexual –
MoF: – A lot of people suppress their sexual desire and they start raping people and killing people and all kinda wild shit.
EP: Or they start trying to put on a show and always act like they want a bad chick or the baddest looking chick. Nah, man, whatever she looks like, or whatever the thing [that attracts you] looks like, just go in.
MoF: Don’t suppress yourself! Because that shit comes out in a negative fashion. I feel like a lot of people who are locked up for sexual crimes, maybe they’re gay and they suppressed that shit because they didn’t want anybody to know. Nah man. Just get it poppin’. Do what you do and enjoy yourself out here. That’s what Smang Life is about.
You guys rap about bodies a lot, especially gross ones. What is it about the body that intrigues you?
MoF: I think it relates to us appreciating the human, especially the female body. We can appreciate it in all shapes and sizes. I know that both of us don’t have a specific taste when it comes to females. Females could be on one end of the spectrum to the other end. We’re talking 250 and up, we’re talking about twigs, gassy white to Africa black. We don’t give a fuck, really. Because everybody has something about them that’s unique to them. I don’t mean to sound like an informercial, but people have unique qualities that I can appreciate. Shorty might have like one breast that looks different than the other, but that one titty look good as motherfucker, so we can appreciate different things. We like describing everything. When it comes to ailments, how people look, all that, we notice everything.
EP: The idea of perfect is wack. When I was young and I would draw portraits and faces it was always a weird looking person. And I just think it’s more interesting. The hourglass, beautiful chick is discussed in every song, so we wanna talk about somebody else. And it’s just interesting to talk about that. And ailments, medical things and medical terminology are just a new world of words to use.
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