The first half of Doobie’s ‘Faithfully Faded tour’ had come to a gratifying end by the time I got around to speaking with him. After 6 weeks of sold-out crowds, 14 major cities, and a multitude of thrilling stage dives, Doobie’s first of many future headlining tours had finally concluded. It was time to let loose in Miami.
The tour ended in Minneapolis at the legendary First Avenue — a classic venue open since 1970 that has hosted some of the nation’s most prominent artists. Legendary performers include The Allman Brothers, Rod Stewart, U2, The Ramones — and Prince: whose pathway to fame has been largely attributed to incredible performances at First Avenue. Doobie performed a 75-minute set, 23 songs. When I read this, I was impressed. J. Cole usually does 10-17 songs and Lil Uzi Vert hovers around 10-18. But 23 songs in a little over an hour? Holy shit, this guy must have been speechless the next morning — literally.
“The energy was amazing,” Doobie asserted. He also expressed this to me about the entire adventure.
“Tour is definitely very stressful, but this tour, it was my first ever headlining tour as a solo artist. I’ve been on plenty of tours with other people, never headlining. So that was dope – we got a greater turnout than expected, so that made it super dope. But — now that it’s over — the crazy thing is at the end of August, we are actually going back on tour, second part of the tour, because it was so good.”
Doobie’s music is undeniably entering the mainstream, as his recent music videos have been attaining millions of views (notably “When The Drugs Don’t Work” at over 18M!). In November 2017, he received the annual Youtube Artist On The Rise award, along with Trippie Redd and others. So he’s doing well — very well. But he wasn’t always, and he has grown considerably as a person since his career took off. For a while — he told me — he was unhappy, and because of his preceding economic situation — creating music felt like a task rather than a pleasant endeavor.
“Is this what is meant for me?”
“I’ve got a stronger team now and I am – for the first time in my life, happy when I’m making music. Before, it was just like I’m going through a bunch of shit so I gotta make a song to get over it. You know, and now it’s like, I’m fucking finally happy while making music, you know what I’m sayin’. Before, it was just like pain – it was just releasing. For a time period, I would just ask myself: like man, I’m still depressed all the time like, is this what is meant for me? Now I’m finally happy, super excited. I’m in a good place mentally.”
Doobie grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He didn’t have money growing up and had a predilection for creating music at a young age. He grew up listening to a mix of rock and rap: namely, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Eminem, and 2Pac. Doobie told me that he is primarily inspired by heavy metal and that he began rapping when he was just 8-years-old. When he was a teenager, he taught himself how to make beats because he was too broke to pay for studio time. Not many rappers can effectively produce and rap, so this two-way skill set is undeniably advantageous: from both a business and professional standpoint.
“As I was getting older, I started getting real serious about it and my thing was I was broke, like you feel me. So, when I started getting serious with my raps, like damn I need beats, I can’t just rap on people’s beats and shit, I need a studio, I need somebody to record, like how the fuck do I do this shit? Like I would just look up producers and things, long story short I could never afford studio time, I could never afford a beat, none of that shit, so one day I just decided I’m just gonna fucking teach myself how to do it.
Growing up in Ohio, I can imagine that it was challenging trying to pursue a rap career. And because of his environmental upbringing, he is a mix of rock and rap. Columbus is known for certain things: diverse cuisine, beautiful outdoor parks, and most of all, Buckeye football. But hip-hop? Besides Doobie, the most famous Columbus hip-hop artists are Bow Wow and Blueprint, who aren’t all that relevant anymore. A significant reason Doobie has a varied and enthralling sound is that, because of his youth in Colombus and exposure to rock and punk, his music is multi-faceted. Sure — he is a rapper. Although, his guitar melodies and singing vocals meshed with hip-hop beats make him uncommon and sort of refreshing in a rap landscape that sounds rather homogenous right now.
In my interview, Doobie prided himself on his authenticity. He expressed to me, not only his uneasiness with rappers who glorify experiences they don’t actually live — but his annoyance with people who think that, because he is white, he is just another Post Malone or Mac Miller.
“Everyone thinks that I’m just this corny little white boy, everybody thinks that I want to be like Post Malone. I get it all the time, you’re just this one of these, you’re just that one of these. I think the misconception is that I’m not no pretty boy.”
One thing critical to know about Doobie, I feel, is that, while he may acknowledge certain erroneous misconceptions about him, he doesn’t give two shits about what you think. In his music, he heavily alludes to various drug-induced experiences, but also more existential ideas like love and depression. On “Talking To Spirits” he says
The devil keeps calling, I Let it ring
I needed you more than you’ll ever think
You need me more than you’ll ever know
And I love you more than I’ll ever show
Bumpin my favorite Alice In Chains song
I blow my fucking brains off
That’s those Kurt Cobain thoughts
In my home that’s yellow taped off
Sniff that gas, then I take off
Clearly, his art is a reflection of his reality. His lyrics, as shown above, are tremendously un-scripted and genuine. And they’re deep. So I asked Doobie to tell me a little bit about his creative process.
“I don’t like making songs that are specifically about 1 thing. I feel like my process is just a free realm of thinking. It’s just, like when you think in your mind and your walking down the street and you probably have so many things that come to your mind, and your tryna like grasp onto a certain thing. Well me, I just allow myself to attach to every thought. I don’t pick and choose my thoughts. I just let them all flow and just write them down”.
Take whatever you want from what he said above, but I think the most noteworthy quality about his lyrics, his tone, about the way he emphasizes autonomous thinking, is that it all comes from a natural — real — place. I feel like a lot of artists are fake today; they vocalize impersonal things, act in an inauthentic and scripted way, and put on an artificial demeanor in order to achieve higher success. Doobie is as original as it gets.
At the end of my conversation with him, I asked him to give 1 tip to new and emerging artists.
“Don’t fucking give up.”
“A tip for every artist I have is, the best advice I can give to someone who wants to make music and make revenue off of music and just be able to support their family and chase their dream is just to not give up. That’s the easiest way I can put it, I can’t tell you to go record a bunch of songs, I can’t tell you to go do this, or drop a mixtape this day, nothing, no, the best advice is to just don’t fucking give up, because when you give up you don’t know how far you could go. When you keep going, the sky’s the limit.”
Doobie will be going on the second half of his tour in the fall. While tickets have not been released yet, stay tuned to Hypefresh and be active on his website and social media for the most up-to-date information!