(Originally published on The Industry Cosign March 25, 2016)
The Business of Hip Hop is probably more prevalent nowadays than the music itself. It’s a natural evolution that had to happen to keep the culture alive and appealing. But, in my opinion, this business only thrives with the input of those directly involved in this culture, that has grown to many aspects of life. Yes, there are those who have capitalized and robbed the culture for monetary gain and that’s never gonna stop, but, it’s even more important to make sure that we, as a culture, continue to create more opportunities to tell our story based on how we live it.
This is one of the reasons why someone like Du Kelly, oops, my apologies, you may know him as DoItAll from the Lords of the Underground, is SO important to not only Hip Hop, but even more important to the community. With people like him expanding the horizons of Hip-Hop through his work, his music, his charitable contributions and through his creativity, we definitely need more like him to make sure that this important aspect of our culture is being shown in a way that the general media hates to portray, which is in a positive light.
But, enough of my soliloquy! DoItAll took time out of his busy schedule (Trust me, it took me over a year to get this brother to stop working for a second, and that, I appreciate immensely) to discuss what’s on his plate, how he feels about The Business of Hip-Hop and why he may never retire!
When you first ventured into Hip-Hop, what was your realistic goals then and how did they morph into what you continue to do now?
My realistic goal was to have a record on the radio & a video on Video Music Box. 25 years later, that has spawned into an unforgettable career in the entertainment business.
What would have been the career path for Du“Doitall” Kelly if Rap didn’t pan out as planned?
I was a good baseball athlete and had my eyes on pursuing a professional career until I hurt my knee, lol, after that I had my goals set on acting & television and radio broadcasting.
What is your take about The Business of Hip-Hop in today’s times?
The BUSINESS of Hiphop has turned into a billion dollar industry & when you have any business that is that monetarily successful, the things that have a quick turn around, that does not require a lot of deep input, but has a quick plentiful profit, always are giving more focus than that which might require a little more attention.
You’ve been acting for some time now, what led you to that arena and what have you done and/or plan to do with that craft and talent?
I was led to acting early. I got hooked after auditioning for the role of Theo on the now classic COSBY SHOW. Acting was also my minor when I attended Shaw University where I was discovered with my group, LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND. After being in a few TV shows and independent films, I have now focused more on the producing aspect of TV & Film. I rather be the one who has a hand in how the program or picture is presented to the viewer.
As one of the founders of 211 Media Group, what is the company about and what endeavors do you partake with this venture?
211 was created to be a one stop shop for all things media. We say it is “Where Media Becomes Art” I share with my partner, Eion Hayne,s Co-CEO. I handle all things music, TV, Film, as well as the the non-profit side which is called 211 Community Impact & Eion handles all the graphic designs, websites & tech associated things.
Give me an honest assessment of Hip-Hop music today, mainly the commercial aspect of it and where do you think it’s heading?
My honest assessment of commercial Hiphop music is that the media platforms in which it is presented on has no balance & what I mean by that is that, the choices are limited when it comes to the type of music that is presented. Some might disagree and say, well we have Kendrick Lamar, which is true but Kendrick, who has a different message than most music, is not played on the radio often or presented on any other mainstream platforms. If the powers that be only play negativity, what do we expect out of people who are continuously programmed with those sounds and images negativity?
We know Social Media plays a great part in the promotion of Hip-Hop today, how do you think Hip-Hop would have played out if social media was a factor when you first came into the game?
It would have had the same effect that it is having now. When you give someone something direct, fast, and instantaneously, it keeps people excited and tuned in even tho it burns out quicker. When we were out, you had to wait on the product, you had to live thru the stories of the music and videos that were only accessible when the company decided to release it so it lasted longer.
What else do you have going on in terms of business?
In terms of business, we have become involved with a spirits and wine company out of Cognac, France called Hedonist Spirits, which we are excited about. I have a deal with Shakim Compere & Queen Latifah, where they are allowing me to produce 3 movies and help with Distribution and the delivery of those projects. The first project is created by myself and Redman, written by Sheba Jordan. I am also in the process of opening my first Sandwich shop with my biological brother, Terell Simmons, called HipHop Soups & Subs in Newark NJ.
You do a LOT of community work and plan many charitable things in New Jersey. Why is this important to you and what drives you to continue to do so?
It is important because if you only take from what has made you and never put back into it, how do you expect it to grow and produce bigger and better fruit. What I mean is that, if we don’t invest in ourselves and in our communities, it won’t produce in abundance what we need to have, more doctors, engineers, innovators, positive thinkers, creators & people of greatness.
With all that you do now, acting, charity work, business opportunities, performing, etc., when will be a good time for Doitall to retire and when and if that does happen, what do you hope to accomplish by that time?
As long as our people are in need, I might never retire in some areas. All I want to do is be a part of a whole that has made a difference in our communities, society, & in our people thru art, activism, and businesses.
In YOUR terms, what does ‘Real Hip-Hop’ mean to you?
Real Hiphop is so one who HONESTLY entertains thru the elements of dance, fashion, imagery, & music (instrumentally & vocally) 1.bboying/bgirling 2.emceeing 3.Djaying 4.graffiti/art
If you could do anything over again, what would it be and why?
Hindsight is always 20/20 but I have to honestly say I have no regrets and I live with my setbacks.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a successful career in the realm of Hip-Hop?
I would say with all that has been made accessible to you thru HipHop, research, learn, think, & be honest as you create!