I had the pleasure of sitting down with a good business colleague of mines over an awesome Gchat late night a few months back in June. Frank Dolla, the frontman of Young Hustle Global, and I discussed an array of topics, most specifically his upcoming EP, CAESAR, the state of hip-hop and music itself, and the randomosities of life that come with the grind. Check out the exclusive dialogue below.
Lowe: On some gangsta shit, Ben, I just listened to this “Politics as Usual” joint; tight work, the beat is stupid. You mapped it out so easy and navigated that joint, whole track was a smooth ride; fits my mood right now. What was the inspiration behind it?
Frank Dolla: Man I wish I owned the beat… Its off an Evidence Beat tape.. Alchemist did it i think.. I was just tryna enlighten niggas, like you might rap this dope shit but I was really in the trenches.
Lowe: This a kind of track I can have on repeat in my iTunes for a couple days straight, the content is so pure dawg.
Frank Dolla: Thanks for the compliments though.. Really.. Like I appreciate it.. Lemme know all this writing aint for nothin (laughs).
Lowe: What is your concept behind this upcoming project? Why CAESAR for Frank Dolla?
Frank Dolla: I’m actually playing out scenes from the movie with different songs. The movie/play had so many ups and downs and I feel like that’s how my life (and so many others) goes… So I just wanted to capture those different emotions and put them in current day interpretations, from my point of view of course.
Lowe: I’m enthralled, very relate-able. I can jam these tracks and cats out here in Cali will vibe to them with ease. “Rideout” is tight. How’d you link up with Bizarre of D12? I fucked with them niggas and Eminem heavy growing up.
Frank Dolla: When the concept hit me I just ran with it. Glad you see the vision and I owe my sound to my main producer… Dude is SICK (Shakes head).
My producer JPalm ran the play with Bizarre. He fuck with him and he fuck with me HEAVY so when he teased the idea of getting him on the album I jumped on it. I always loved that nigga flow, so unorthodox, so random, just RAW.
Lowe: That was a good move, go for the gusto. Aside from the upcoming CAESAR release what’s next for Frank Dolla?
Frank Dolla: Monte Carlo the EP 5 songs, 70s samples all picked by me, produced by my dawg M80, then after that Underground Overlord.
Lowe: Steady, stealth moves, very strategic, I respect it. The anticipation is brewing. Do you feel the pressure? (Laughs). I’m already tryna decide which track I’ve heard thus far I dig more. That’s a good dilemma to have. I can even see “Politics As Usual” being a hidden bonus on the CAESAR joint, it jams well.
Frank Dolla: Hell yeah, I do because My nigga be HOUNDING.. But I just stay calm and drop bombs. “Swerve” is my favorite right now though. I have a track called “Ex x Woes” that I love… I’m way more open with this project, not just the info that I would consider interesting, and it was an idea to throw PAU on there so stay on the look out.
Lowe: Keep one eye open like CBS.
Frank Dolla: YOU SEE ME STRESSED RIGGHT?
Frank Dolla: That’s my all time favorite song… (Laughs) my bad. (Laughs).
Lowe: S’aul good. I’m on a brain wave that I gotta ride til I’m ashore. That’s why I got all these questions for you, my brain is buzzin’. (Laughs). What do you think of the current state of music right now? Hip-hop, rap, rock, everything?
Frank Dolla: As far as hip/hop/rap, the underground is THRIVING and the mainstream is slowly being handed over to the streets like it usually is, every lets say…. 5 years. Rock? Sigh, Rock is pop now. I only really listen to System of A Downs Toxicity album and early Rage Against the Machine. So I can’t really sit and act like I listen to mad underground rock. I really love alt though. I love Coldplay, I love MGMT, I love Grizzly Bear. Eventually I’ll write/record/perform exclusively with a band.
Lowe: Why did you just explain half of my brain right now yo. I’m so stuck underground, I don’t want to come up for air anymore. I like partying with the Ninja Turtles, smoking pot and listening to gems, from niggas like you, and Fernandough, and my nigga Muzik Jones Drew. I thrive off that shit. I ain’t been down for the mainstream since I figured out how to download music in grammar school my nigga. Game over.
Frank Dolla: Maaaaaaaan. That’s what I’m sayin’! And underground niggas EATIN now, thanks to the internet. Why conform a song to 3-16 bar verses and 2-8 bar hooks when you can make a dope ass 36 bar verse with a 12 bar hook? Why talk about a life you can’t maintain when somebody will very well be entertained by your actual life/pain/struggle? When I get my hands on some digits I guarantee you’ll be like “My nigga did it!!” Whereas when one of these mainstream niggas go broke its like “Oh I thought you was a baller.”
Lowe: Yeah man, it’s the way of the world. I halfway wanted to stop doing what I’m doing now so many times because I would be like “what’s the point???” Then I realized, somebody still has to be a voice; do ya own fuckin thing, the real nigga way and you skrate. I’m just living out here to be a success on my own terms, nobody else’s.
Frank Dolla: YO… I went through a low point with this shit too and I came to the same realization. You gotta be comfortable with yourself out here… In any avenue or you’ll never be happy. Now that I know what I wanna accomplish its like my shit is way more laid out
Lowe: (Mockingly blows cigar smoke). Spoken like a true player.
Frank Dolla: (Laughs) real shit, we’re kindred spirits out here that’s why I (always) fucked with you. You got a crazy ear for music and you show love. That’s rare.
Lowe: We are rarities. We are gems. I knew you were good money if Mack fucked with you so heavy from Elusion [Clothing]. The tracks you were sending me then, I saw it. You’re gonna be straight.
Frank Dolla: Word up! That’s why we scattered across the land. I’m still sick on that Elusion shit yo. I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to grow into it. I think THIS project is what I wanted to be then.
Lowe: Yeah, I’m all the way in Cali myself, doing what I did back in Buffalo, and even more to a certain degree, you know. Steady strides.
Frank Dolla: hell yea… I hear that. I’m trying to expand out of my city. I’ve done as much as I wanna do locally, which is why I only really deal with entities such as yourself.
Lowe: The broader your horizons the more ground you can cover. Kenzo wanted to know what was/is the hardest part of getting support in your hometown?
Frank Dolla: I would say the hardest part would be them not seeing you as the nigga they always (thought they) knew. For example, I was always known as the smart nigga in the band who stayed to himself. So people have to TRY to see me as a musician, but if I was in the cool crowd I’d get that attention on GP but no support. Overall it would be consistency as well as something to show for it
Lowe: I can dig it. Scenario heard round the world.
Frank Dolla drops CAESAR exclusively on Flagrantcity.com on November 12th.
Rhonda J. Lowe ©