Dago Braves
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Dago Braves

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Local rappers The Dago Braves are playing their biggest show tonight/Tuesday, at Cox Arena, with Lil Wayne and Gym Class Heroes.

Their topical lyrics address subjects like the changing political climate, biracial and multiracial culture, life on the Rez, life outside of the Rez, and music and life in general.

Being both African American and Native American, the duo express the struggles and advantages of being born between races. Their music reflects their local life experiences by fusing the original native rhythms of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation with the distinct hip hop beats of the San Diego rap scene.
[January 27, 2009]
The Dago Braves are fronted by cousins Terrence "Poodeezy" Brown and Mike "Odoe" Allen. "We are both three-quarters black and a quarter Native American," says Brown. "Our grandma is full-blooded [Native American]."

“Everyone has their hustle,” says Brown, “[and] the casino is our hustle. It’s what’s bringing the tribal family back together. Until we had the casino the tribal family was spread in every direction just trying to get by. Now we’re together and we’re doing alright.”
Last Fall, the Dago Braves won a Native American Music Award for Best Rap Hip Hop Recording, for their debut CD Native American Hustle. They also played the award show afterparty, and were seen walking the red carpet at the Do Something Awards (which is the official pre-party to the Teen Choice Awards).

Brown says the lyrics on Dago Braves’ first album are positive, not gangster. "Our lyrics come from our firsthand experiences; we try and keep it real. If we say we're driving in a Benz, we're really driving in a Benz. There's no lyin'."

Native American Hustle features local producers including Da Batkave, Grimmie Recs, Steve Vicious and Dave Moss.
Their recently released sophomore album Kumeyaay Cool Guyz includes locals Da Batkave, DJ Rek, J. Elliot Ness (our vote for Best Rapper name of the Month), and Haze Banger.

“Having the respect of our community means more to us than anything,” says Mike "Odoe" Allen. “It is a huge honor for us and we’re so thankful for the acknowledgement.”

“With their successes,” says Sycuan’s Paula Gould, “they're beginning to put the San Diego rap scene on the national platform. The goal; to make San Diego, and all its talent, a music force to be reckoned with, in much the same way the East Bay was in the ‘90s and the way Atlanta is now.”

Lil Wayne's Cox Arena set will stream live online tonight. His new rock single "Prom Queen" is debuting during the concert, and it will also appear on his MySpace page - the song is from his upcoming rock album Rebirth. more

Da Batkave, Tonex, Grimmie Recs, Steve Vicious, Dave Moss, DJ Rek, J. Elliot Ness, Haze Banger, Baby Bash, Lil' Wayne, N.E.R.D., Pitbull, Tech N9ne, Young Jeezy - San Diego Reader

Hip-hop straight outta the res

By Kyle Proehl
January 17, 2008

Dago Braves – cousins Terence “Poodeezee” Brown (19) and Mike “Odoe” Allen (18) – is a hip-hop duo straight outta Sycuan. They live and work on the reservation, have one album (“Native American Hustle”) under their belts, a second due out this spring, and recently grabbed two lucrative slots as the opening act for Young Jeezy (Dec. 29) and for Lil' Wayne (Monday).

“Poodeezee” chats about the Dago Braves:

Question: When did you start making music?

Answer: It's something we been doin' all our lives pretty much, just messin' around rhyming and stuff. But we really started gettin' serious with it around like 2004-2005. We just started recordin' on ProTraks, took it up to ProTools.

At first, we were just rappin off mixtapes, just other people's beats we'd grab off the Internet or whatever.

Q: Who does your production now?

A: We work with local San Diego producers such as Batkave Productions, Music Money Entertainment, my guy Jay Elliot Nes, just a couple local producers out of Dago.

Q: What do you think of San Diego hip-hopl?

A: I think it's cool, I think it could be a lot better. If there wasn't a lot of hate. A lot of jealousy. I think it's cool, I like the music comin' out of San Diego.

[For the complete Q&A with the Dago Braves, and videos and sound clips, log on to UTStreet.com.] - Union Tribune

DAGO BRAVES: Big things poppin' in Sycuan

Take a look at the lineup for two of the biggest recent hip-hop shows to come through San Diego -- Young Jeezy and Lil' Wayne -- and you'll notice the same opening act, locals (and relatively unknowns) Dago Braves. Take a listen to the Sycuan duo's debut album, "Native American Hustle," and you'll notice how it manages to sound well-constructed and amateurish at the same time, and how the features (guest verses) manage to often overshadow the young duo without trying very hard. (You may also hear the sound of potential.)

To see what was goin' down, I took a drive out to the Sycuan Music Department, home of the Braves' record label Shulaced Entertainment, and found a ranch home with two studios (the larger a converted garage fitted with ProTools HD, a Control 24 mixing board and other high-end equipment -- engineer J Elliott Ness played with beats on one of a couple of MPC 4000's), a cozy office, and a pool in the back sporting the lagoon look, rocks and slides and palms -- everything but the video girls.

The Braves are cousins Terence "Poodeezy" Brown and Mike "Odoe" Allen, 19 and 18 years old, respectively. They both grew up in Bakersfield until about 10 years ago, when they moved to Sycuan; they're both three-fourths black and one-fourth Kumeyaay. Wednesday, they arrived at the Shulaced house after I did, Odoe on crutches with a broken foot from a recent fall off a quad (he expressed an interest in a motorized wheelchair for the upcoming show), Poodeezy driving his own 2007 Mercedes S550.

(When I asked how he bought the car, Pooder insisted it had nothing to do with rap, that he saved from working at the casino. Doing what? "Basically like the same stuff I'm doin' now, tutoring and goin' back and forth from the studio," he said.)

In the studio, the Braves were kind enough to play us a track from one of two albums set to come out this year, which we caught on vid:

I sat down with Poodeezy, Odoe and the founder of Shulaced Entertainment, their Uncle Shu, and talked Shulaced and San Diego. Shu and Pooder did most of the talking, while Odoe smiled and laughed a lot.

How did Shulaced get started?
(Shu) My nephews presented me the little demo thing that they done and told me that they needed help ...
(Poodeezy/Odoe) A mixtape.
(S) ... a mixtape they needed help on, trying to figure out how can we start a label, with someone they could trust.

When was this?
(S) Roughly three years ago. So they just made the music and I went and did the research on how to start and create a label, and here we are now.

What made you guys (Poodeezy and Odoe) go to Shu?
(P) He's our uncle.
(O) Yep.
(P) That's enough. Family.

How'd you get here?
(S) So, we started making our own music and workin' with different producers around the city, and they were real interested in it and I thought it was a real positive thing for them. And we hooked up with a cousin of ours, OJ, who had a ProTools and a G5 in a room in his house, so he wanted to learn how to be an engineer. We all knew little to nothing about engineering but we knew people who did, so we hooked them up with a couple producer cats and it became a positive thing for the kids.

So what happened was I took the ideas to the tribe and told them the boys are rappin', they got their music goin', they started their label, they banked their own project, they got a little distribution thing goin', OJ's over there trying to learn how to engineer, so I think we should set up a music department.

What we did was we took the idea from the casino -- they already had a music department set up. But with the genre of music we were doing I thought it would be better if we could find a different place we could do hip-hop. And bring different hip-hop acts. So we all sat down and took it to the chairman and he approved it, and that's how we got here now.

What other type of music was going on there?
(S) They do different things to bring in crowds to the casino, but we wanted to do something where we could learn the business and teach each other, get the proper staff to show us what we need to do, to create it, just help us take it to the next level.

Shulaced has a roster of artists?
(S) We actually just work with people we knew. We don't go out and look for anyone. There's only two Shulaced artists: the Braves. Everyone else, they just come hang out, make music, and hopefully something will happen from it.

Is this where you guys recorded "Native American Hustle"?
(P) Nah. We recorded it through local producers, like whoever we bought the beats from, we'd go there and record. Batkave, Grimmie Recs, Steve Vicious, Dave Moss.

When did you wrap that up?
(S) That album's been done since late '05. It actually took longer to get it in stores than it did to make.

Had you guys done many mixtapes before that?
(P) Like two or three.

You still have those?
(P&O laugh) Nah.
(P) Most of 'em crashed. They were on old computers or somethin'.

You were saying you're done recording the new one?
(P)Yeah. And then we're working on another one after that, but the one we just finished up, we collaborated with a local artist named Dollar Bill Gates.

What's that called?
(P laughs and slowly explains) We were gonna acronym it, I guess. M ... dot ... F ... dot ... M. [Ed.: You won't read the full title here.]

How would you describe what you do?
(P) Style-based? It's cool, man, you nahmean, it's just us. We try to separate ourselves from the Northern Cali scene, the Hyphy stuff. Not that we don't like it, it's just that we're from Southern California. But we also try to separate ourselves from the whole, "gangsta, you gotta bang to come outta Southern Cali," you nahmean, like all that crap. We just keep it us. We do some of the Hyphy stuff cause we young and we got the energy, but mostly all our stuff is just cool, kinda laid-back.
(S) I would just describe it as everyday living for them. The music, the topics, the things that they talk about.
(P) We just try to rap off our firsthand experiences, keep it everything we know.

What is it you guys do around here, besides ... (points to Odoe's broken foot)?
(O laughs)
(P) There's a learning center up here for the kids, and I tutor two hours a day, math tutor and stuff. If I'm not up here rappin', makin' a beat, I'm just chillin', with my relatives.

How'd you guys get that show for Jeezy?
(Here their publicist, Paula, interjects) That's probably a question for you, Shu.
(S) Well, what we did is we got a partnership with Live Nation, a two-year partnership, and what the tribe is doing is sponsoring Live Nation and we're bringing our own acts to their venue. And we headline the venue.
(Paula, clarifying) Like the night is "Presented by Sycuan," and then they bring the artist in, and with the partnership they can bring their own artists on.
(S, laughs) Interviews are, like, super new to us. I'm kinda nervous. Like, yea, what Paula said.

How'd that show go?
(O smiles wide) It was great.
(P) It was nice, man. Had a smile on my face the whole time. Had fun, man.

Did you hang out with Jeezy at all?
(P) Nah, we never crossed paths. There was a backstage rule or something.

How many shows had you played before then?
(P) Roughly, like, no exaggeration, about 10, 10 or 15.

Who do you guys listen to?
(P&O, laughing, in unison) Lil Wayne, Jeezy ...
(P) A lot of West Coast stuff, from Northern Cali, back down.

How'd you guys get those features on your first album?
(P) Friend of a friend, you nahmean, pretty much. Like, I Rocc, he passed us a good number of plugs, big up to him. 12 Gauge, he passed us a couple plugs, big up to him. Just networking.

(To Pooder) I asked you on the phone earlier if you could say something about growing up on a reservation that most people wouldn't know?
(P) Yea, I thought about it. It's pretty much the same, you nahmean, just it's just mostly family. And, uh, everything's like kinda far. Like, town ... you say you're "going into town," it's really like goin' into town. You know, like Jack in the Box and stuff.
(O) Gas mileage.
(P) I don't know, it's cool though, it's just like every place else. It's just mostly all family. All in one neighborhood.

Could you tell me about your song "Don't Think It's All Good"?
(P) Well ... I dunno, Unc, you could help us out with this one.
(S) Well "Don't Think It's All Good" is a political song about some of the stuff that we go through with the governor on a daily. Like, they'll tax us more than any company out there. We do so much for the city of San Diego, we do so much for other tribes that goes unrecognized and we feel that at times the governor hasn't really supported us unless it's about money and it's just a frustration that a lot of us have towards him for the way we're being treated.

The way we see things is, yea he'll do what he can do for us as long as we give up our sovereignty, but that's one thing that we stand firm on; we'll never give up our sovereignty. If things would have to return to the old days, then we'll be happy with that, if we didn't have any electricity, any power, that's great, but we're not gonna compromise our sovereignty for anything. And I think that song was a little bit of frustration, from us, maybe from me. I could go deeper but I think I should just stop there ... this is not really a political conversation that we're having.

(To Poodeezy and Odoe) You guys write your own stuff?
(P and O, nodding) Yea.

How do you go about that, the writing?
(P) We get a beat. Gotta get a beat. And then whatever we feel off the beat, we come up with a cool subject, collaborate, you nahmean, brainstorm. Then we'll each do our own thing, for like a half hour, come out with some hot.

You also mentioned the other day on the phone that you think there's a lot of hate in San Diego hip-hop?
(P) I think there's hate everywhere, you nahmean, but, yea. ... You probably wouldn't see it, a lot of people try to keep it under wraps, but yea, I think it's some jealousy.

Like, among artists, or ...
(P) I mean both, really, at times. Not with us, though. We try to keep ourselves neutral with everything, you nahmean, out of the politics. That ain't got nuthin' to do with us.

Like the Dago scene is cool, though, I just think it could be better.

It's just the doors. It just needs to be more doors opened. Cause there's a lot of talent, just not really a ways to get it out there. Just need more support from radio stations and whatnot.

(Points to 98.9 poster on wall) You guys get much support from radio stations?
(P) Yea.
(S) We got a little. It was appreciated, the help we could get from 98.9.

I think what Poo's trying to say is that the San Diego scene is overlooked. We have no musical outlets here, we don't have the support, we don't have anything it takes to start a hip-hop scene. We're just trying to make it.

We have other genres of music that's doin' good, like what is it, the alternative music? I don't really listen to it, but, you know, P.O.D. is out of San Diego, you got those type of bands ...

But we just need something for hip-hop out here. ... It's just really hard for us to get that break that we need, so we're just trying to create that outlet.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/entertainment/street/2008/01/dago_braves_big_things_poppin_1.html - Union Tribune


Native American Hustle -- June 2007
Single "Something Special"

Kumeyaay Cool Guyz -- October 21, 2008
Upcoming single "Casino"



San Diego’s hottest rap twosome, Dago Braves, bring rhymes straight from the Rez to the world on their second album KUMEYAAY COOL GUYZ. Their songs hit every topic of the American life from every aspect. Being both African American and Native American, the group expresses the struggles and advantages of being born between races. The music of Dago Braves reflects their heritage by fusing the original native rhythms of the Kumeyaay Band of Sycuan Indians with the distinct hip-hop beats of the San Diego rap scene.

Cousins Terence “Poodeezy” Brown and Mike “Odoe” Allen make up Dago Braves. This tight knit and enterprising duo are creating their music family and record label with Shulaced Entertainment. Shulaced Entertainment is developing several artists from within and around the Sycuan Reservation and the San Diego area bringing life to their unique perspectives.

Dago Braves have collaborated with talent from around San Diego while putting together their award-winning debut album NATIVE AMERICAN HUSTLE released in 2007. Local producers working with Dago Braves to make NATIVE AMERICAN HUSTLE included The Batkave, Grimmie Recs, Steve Vicious and Dave Moss. Podeezy and Odoe want to continue to create music to represent San Diego and the Syucan proudly, which is why they again harnessed the top talent in San Diego for their newest release KUMEYAAY COOL GUYZ.

KUMEYAAY COOL GUYZ streets October 21, 2008. The songs on KUMEYAAY COOL GUYZ hit on every part of cousins Terence “Poodeezy” Brown and Mike “Odoe” Allen lives. Tracks like CASINO and I’M A BRAVE give perspective about the pride of the Tribe’s success and the celebrity of Casino life amidst the San Diego community. “Everyone has their hustle,” says Terence “Poodeezy” Brown, one half of Dago Braves, “the casino is our hustle. It’s what’s bringing the tribal family back together. Until we had the casino the tribal family was spread in every direction just trying to get by. Now we’re together and we’re doing alright.” Then, songs like TOO SOON get more personal, talking about the trials and tribulations of new relationships and the need to take a step back.