Do D.A.T.
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Do D.A.T.

Oakland, California, United States

Oakland, California, United States
Band Hip Hop Jazz

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"Data Man: an innerview of rapper Do D.A.T"

Do D.A.T. is one of those artist that have been bending the sound of what hip hop is in the Bay Area kind of like how Digital Underground, Hieroglyphics and Living Legends did in the ‘80s and ‘90s. D.A.T. is currently one of the most well liked performers and he hosts some of the dopest hip hop/live band parties where people are sure to be dancing, sweating and happy. He is now in the process of experimenting with a swing hip hop album – need I say more. Check the man out in his own words …

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us about your history making music? When and how did you get started?

Do D.A.T.: I started writing rap lyrics when I was 10. Before that I wrote short stories as well as poetry and performed them for my classmates in elementary. I think back: Even in my early youth I’ve always liked to perform and entertain people; that’s a different kind of connection. It wasn’t ‘til I seen the Kid n’ Play battle scene on the first “House Party” that I really wanted to sharpen my skills as a emcee. I appreciated how musical Kid n’ Play’s delivery was and how slick they were with word play; I though to myself, “I could do that,” and so I did.

M.O.I. JR: What happened to the rap group that you were a part called The Attik? Is it still a group?

Do D.A.T.: Though we still collaborate on music, The Attik is no longer a group. We were kids when The Attik started, young dudes in high school who loved hip hop culture and just happened to rap; and now we are in the process of finding ourselves as men. It was time to do our own thing and stretch out creatively as individuals.

The music I make as Do D.A.T. is different than the music I made with The Attik and that’s fresh! If anything, that just attributes to the value of the music we make together. It used to really make me sad but I see how us becoming stronger as individuals is going to make for a better Attik crew – watch! Just for the record, “Jungle Electric” is a classic! Don’t sleep!
M.O.I. JR: You have been hosting a number of shows in the Bay? Why? What are you up to?

Do D.A.T.: I am a Master of Ceremony. I’m much more than a rapper; I’m a representative of hip hop culture. Hosting allows me to get “intimate” with the crowd, it allows me have a lil’ spot light without being the center of attention, and in saying that it allows me to network with other artists.

Not only do I host concerts, fundraisers, award ceremonies etc., I facilitate writing/freestyle/social justice workshops in a few of the high schools here in the Bay and at B.U.M.P Records. For the past six years, I’ve been working with young artists in attempts to hone their skills but also to be musicians accountable to the culture. I’m exercising the fifth element of hip hop, which is knowledge – knowledge of self as an artist, knowledge of our cultural heritage and awareness of our current situation as human beings.

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us about the new music that you are working on? What made you remix beats from that era?

Do D.A.T.: I am currently working on an album called “Oakland in Blue.” “Oakland in Blue” is a hip hop/jazz fusion album in which I asked quite a few of my producer friends to sample and remix some of Duke Ellington swing. I choose Duke Ellington because I’d like to emulate the impact and longevity Ellington had on jazz and in hip hop on an international scale. Besides, I never heard of anyone flipping jazz swing into hip hop before, not saying it hasn’t been done. But I haven’t heard it.

I’m very pleased with what my producers have come up with. I got beats from hella cats – I.D., Amani Anansi, Maad Tahh, Sean Bo, who produced “Rollas” (my ode to the police), 1O.A.K of the Honor Roll, who produced “Dat Dat Dat” (“King of the Night”) and “The Work Song,” produced by Young Knowit of the League 510. One beat smith in particular, Will Bracy, who produced “The Band Played On” off my ep/demo “The Skinny” gave me 28 beats; I could do a separate project with his music alone. “Oakland in Blue” represents the different flavors of Oakland, an under-represented side of the town.

M.O.I. JR: Artist wise, who have you been working with recently?

Do D.A.T.: I got the homie Mic G on “Oakland in Blue” as well as I.D. and my sisters Isis G and Krystal Azul. I’d really like to get Mistah F.A.B on a cut and Zumbi from Zion I . My dream collaboration would be with Mr. Raphael Saadiq. Other than that, I’m working on a ep entitled “Cadiliac Rebellion” with Bambu (Native Guns). Me and Bam mesh really well together; our styles just sound good, ya know? We’re pretty much done with that joint; we just got to put some finishing touches on it.

Also I got another project in the works with my boy from Boston, Dj Malicouslee. We don’t have a title for that just yet but the name of our crew is Golden Age. I’m really excited about that; it’s going to be some 110 percent hip hop shit! I think folks could use that right about now.

M.O.I. JR: At times are you afraid of being creative because you may lose your fan base?

Do D.A.T.: I make music for people who like creativity, so no, that is not a fear of mine. I would hope my audience would encourage me to be more creative and more expressive because that’s what hip hop needs and I want what is best for hip hop.

M.O.I. JR: How can people hear your music online and stay up on your performances?

Do D.A.T.: You can buy “The Skinny Ep” on iTunes and Cdbaby.com/cd/dodat. You can follow me on twitter, http://twitter.com/DoDATamen, and of course myspace.com/datamen.

- MOI J.R. The BayView


"Cool Like D.A.T."



May 19, 2010 Music » Music
Cool like Do D.A.T.
Oakland rapper invokes Duke Ellington for his debut, Oakland in Blue.
By Zoneil Maharaj
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Show Details
Oakland in Blue album release party happens at Club Anton (428 3rd St., Oakland) on Thursday, May 20. 10 p.m., $10. Featuring Do D.A.T., The Park, Melina Jones, Iamani I. Ameni, Isis Gensis, The Sand'man, Knowitall, Krystle Azul, and Trick N Treat DJs.

There's always that single defining moment when a kid sets his sights on a dream. And it's usually something far less profound than what he's willing to divulge in an interview years later. For Davin Anthony Thompson, known to his followers as Oakland rapper Do D.A.T., it wasn't 2Pac's death or a powerful Public Enemy line that made him want to rap and perform in front of an audience — it was the 1992 hip-hop comedy House Party.

The scene where Kid 'N Play fired insult-laced rhymes at one another inspired Thompson to write some of his own. "The punch lines clicked with me," said Thompson, whose rap alias incorporates his initials and serves as a nod to A Tribe Called Quest.

But Thompson is far from a battle rapper, nor is he one for the goofball antics of the aforementioned rapper-actor duo. A veteran of Oakland's underground, the 29-year-old emcee has rocked rallies and festivals alike with his former group, The Attik, and its socially aware raps. As an artist development instructor at the Bay Unity Music Project in Oakland, he mentors aspiring young musicians, pushing their creative boundaries in the studio and prepping them for the stage. He's a leader with a keen vision. If you only know The Town for its turf tales, Thompson is about to open your ears to a city and sound that embodies so much more.

In today's mixtape and iTunes era where hip-hop albums are not so much albums as compilations of stray $0.99 downloads, Thompson's debut solo LP, Oakland in Blue, is a cohesive work that pairs hip-hop with the sounds of jazz legend Duke Ellington. Just as critically acclaimed artists Raphael Saadiq and Mayer Hawthorne recently rejuvenated soul, Thompson and a team of local producers are making jazz resonate with a younger audience. Thompson and his contemporaries, such as the Honor Roll, League510, and Nu Dekades, are part of a creative and collaborative network, helping to break Oakland free of turf rap's clutches.

"It's different now than when The Attik was coming up," Thompson said. "There wasn't the same type of support system. People weren't running in the same circle. If they were, they weren't working as hard. I feel like cats are really on the grind right now."

To that extent, Oakland in Blue's credits reads like the Most Likely to Succeed list from Oakland's hip-hop yearbook. Will Bracey, 1-O.A.K., Sean Bo, and several other producers reinvent Ellington's works while Melina Jones, Mic G, Zumbi of Zion I, and The Sand'man assist Thompson with his narrative. The record hits local and digital retailers May 20, and will be celebrated with a release party at Club Anton featuring many of the artists who contributed to the album.

Even with a central theme, the sounds on Oakland in Blue morph and moods shift. The laidback cool of "Color Scheme" puts listeners at ease while he tips his hat to his hometown: Oakland in blue, here's hoping that you/Never overdose in this city of dope soaking in truth/We ain't broken but bruised/My words wrap wounds. Then there's "Dat Dat Dat," a bouncy 1-O.A.K.-produced big band banger that conjures images of a juke joint in a frenzy.

"When Attik broke up, I was lost and not sure what direction to take," Thompson recalled. He had a conversation with friend and co-worker Robert Collins, former manager of Zion I, about his music. Collins suggested he focus an album on one artist's work. A jazz fan, Thompson chose Ellington because of his expansive body of work, which includes more than 2,000 compositions from a fifty-year career. Thompson's got about 200 of Ellington's works in his record collection, from which he selected samples to send to producers.

"It's not easy to flip a swing sample," Thompson said. "It's not like it's on a metronome. To really do that, you have to be on point with your game. Whatever they made was cool, but I told them to keep it jazzy. Don't stray too far from that sound. "

Venturing into jazz was natural for Thompson. "That jazz, that swing — that's how I rap," Thompson said. Anyone who's seen him live can attest to his almost scat-like flow. He plays with his words like a free-jazz musician, experimenting with tempo and cadence to create versatile rhyme patterns and turn each verse into an intricate work of art.

You can also hear how Thompson's aged on Oakland in Blue. "I'm more vulnerable," Thomspon said. "A lot of my stuff was braggadocio, fuck-the-system, 'America the ugly.' I'm definitely affected by America, but I see the part that I play in the system now. I'm more about deconstructing myself than going head-on against the government."

Thompson hopes to hit it big, but for now, he just wants to get his music out. "I'm hoping that this will be something that people will want to talk about," he said. "Who flips swing samples? I don't think anybody in my neck of the woods is doing stuff that sounds like this."
- East Bay Express


"New Music: Introducing Do D.A.T.'s Oakland In Blue"

Do D.A.T.'s Duke Ellington-themed album Oakland In Blue is about to piss on your misconceptions of what jazz and hip-hop can be. This isn't Jazzmatazz or 808-powered elevator music, this is Oakland In Blue–a dynamic reinterpretation of The Town through the lens of a master.

Do D.A.T.'s latest effort is unified by a dual focus on Oakland and Ellington. Both muses fuse a myriad of influences and are, in turn, extremely influential themselves. Oakland is nationally notorious for it's violence, but there are other facets that need to be recognized. Thankfully D.A.T. puts on for his city in a holistic manner many don't have the insight to.

Oakland In Blue features a raw and rollicking mash-up of hip-hop and swing that back Do D.A.T.'s dope delivery. D.A.T. is at the epicenter of an Oakland renaissance these days. If you only follow the Town's turf tale-tellers, then you might now be up on him, but if you've been tuned in to the East Bay's underground scene for the last 5 or 6 years then you know the wile wordsmith well.

With "Dat Dat Dat," the first single off OIB, D.A.T. creeps along a walking bassline before gassing over accelerating brass blasts and snare hits. His flow blitzes and breaks as 1-O.a.k.'s production pivots and crescendos into a anthemic hook.

Take a listen and check out D.A.T. discussing the project below. A complete album review will be coming in the next week - 38th notes Cool Hand Luke


Discography

Oakland In Blue 2010
The Skinny Ep 2008
The Attik ~ Jungle Electric 2006

Photos

Bio

Do~D.A.T


One interaction with Do D.A.T and you'll quickly figure out that he's not the average artist coming out of the Bay Area's music scene. Listening to a few songs will leave you with the understanding that this is an artist with a passion for making quality music. Do D.A.T. is all smiles. If you were one the bay area's most promising young personalities, you'd be smiling too.

As a member of one the most high energy performance hip hop group, The Attik, he's had the honor of opening up shows for many of hip hop's founding alumni & outstanding scholars. D.A.T. has had the Privilege of sharing the stage with artists such as KRS One, Little Brother, Guru, Ise Lyfe, The Team, Zion I, Mistah F.A.B., Aceyalone, Mystic, Clide Carson, E40, Crown City Rockers and Dead Prez.He has performed at venues throughout California, across the country to the East Coast, and a brief tour down to Puerto Rico.

This is an artist who stays true to his heart as well as, Hip-hop, the Bay Area, and his community. As an educator for up and coming Bay Area artist at B.A.V.C- D.A.T. has inspired and encouraged the up coming generation to be more than just emcees and singers. His advice to the youth is simple. Be a proactive artist in the approach you take to creating, promoting, and consuming music. D.A.T. has lead creative writing & social justice workshops for almost every major high school in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area. He's also been a featured speaker at several conferences across the nation.

Hosting some of the more popular parties in the Bay Area with Dj Sake One along side Fran Boogie has allowed him to keep his finger on the pulse of the current music scene. Emceeing local fundraisers, award ceremonies for disabled youth, poetry slams, and open mic hip hop shows, has allowed him to stay in tuned with the local community and music culture.

Many people believe that hip hop is dead. Do D.A.T. is evidence that hip hop is not extinct, but that Hip hop has evolved.

Listen to his music and decide for yourself.