Fresh off a video drop for a song called “Gone With The Wind” featuring his blood brother Charlie Rose, we had the opportunity to ask London rapper Dotty some candid questions in this interview with HHHQ.
Starting rapping around ten years old, Dotty’s upbringing was far from easy. On the backdrop of the city of London, the trials and tribulations of his Muslim faith, roading (aka pushing, for the American readers), and having a child all culminate in his artistic expression. His musical interpretations of living in London are a lyrical and musical spectrum from partying and having fun to dissecting important cultural topics. His movement LDNXLVN, a current clothing line and eventual label, is a true example of London’s hip hop spirit which makes it one of the best-known places for the culture. Learn more about the artist and his relation to the city he loves below:
Who’s work / ethic in the music industry that you haven’t worked with yet do you think you would vibe well with?
If we’re talking about the UK I would have to say Wretch 32 but in the USA I would have to go with the energy Meek Mill or the honesty of J Cole.
What would we find in your recent YouTube history?
That’s a good question lol, you’ll find Meek Mill, Drink Champs, Everyday Struggle, Link Up Tv videos and GRM daily Videos mainly and the odd American gangster documentaries.
Having grown up as child with no family, what feeling best describes what you felt when you realized you were gaining family members in your life and filling an emotional void? How did this affect your writing in the moment?
When I met my family members I was 14. I wasn’t taking music serious at that time so it didn’t have an effect on my writing. The feeling of meeting them was both an exciting & cautious feeling. To me they were strangers who looked like me but in time the brother/sister relationships started to feel more comfortable. I will say that the effect it has on my writing now is a refreshing feeling. A majority of the things I write about I’ve never talked about with anyone.
Tell us more about your brother and what it was like making a song and releasing a music video with him? Were there sibling arguments? Funny moments?
Charlie Rose is my older brother by 2 years and 2 weeks but we’re like twins. I got the instrumental from a producer I work with named RXR music. He knew instantly how I wanted to approach the track. When we did the actual recording it was probably the quickest song we’ve done together. When it was completed we knew we had created a dope tune. The video was shot by director Danny Wonders. Surprisingly me and Charlie didn’t argue once which is surprising as we’re always throwing shots at each other. You know, brotherly love lol.
Can you take us through the experience of falling off Deen and how music related to you in that process? Was it something always there in the back of your mind? Being around people in the studio frequently was it something you were consistently dabbling in? Lastly, when and how did you make the decision to go hard with music?
I fell off Deen in 2010. During this time I was 20 with a two-year-old and couldn’t find a job. I ended up turning back to what I knew how to do best, roading, which resulted in me falling of Deen. As you may know as a Muslim music is forbidden but I found comfort in writing. It was therapeutic if you know what I mean. I’ve always been in the studio even when I wasn’t actively making music as my people have always been doing it. My decision to take music serious was from seeing the heights that it had taken the people around me. Once my first song ‘Thoughts’ which was on NEWGEN’s compilation album was released and I saw the reception I was getting being that I was the only person on the Album that was unknown I realized how far I could go.
Who are your top 5 favorite professional wrestlers of all time?
In no particular order it would have to be The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Mankind
Explain what LDNXLVN is?
LDNXLVN stands for ‘London Living’. It is a brand I created with my people. I believe it’s something everyone who lives in London can relate to whether they’re a banker or roadman. It embodies every interpretation of living in London. We began the process of turning it into a clothing line and have plans to make it a record label in the future. It’s special because it’s something that we own and no one can take It from us.
Do you play any instruments? If not, which one would you choose to learn first? Or would you rather not learn to play an instrument?
Unfortunately I can’t play any instruments but I want to start learning the piano. A majority of my “thought-provoking” music is written over instrumentals with a lot of piano in them so it would be great if I could do it myself.
What does “making it” mean to you?
To me, “making it” doesn’t mean having lots of money or endless women. It means seeing my mother genuinely proud and keeping her that way, seeing my daughter have all she needs, being able to help people get through hard times by listening to my music, and changing the perception of the people who thought I would end up in prison or dead.
How much time have you spent in America? Is there something you haven’t done here yet you’d like to do with regards to both music and outside of it?
My mum lives in Florida so I’ve spent quite a bit of time out there. I’ve been to a few different states but I’ve never been to a studio while visiting. That would be the main thing I would want to do.
What makes London so special to you?
London is all I’ve ever known. Whether good or bad the situations I’ve been through have molded me into the person I am today. London has been my teacher. I’ve learned so much about myself and how to survive by living here. The fast pace living always keeps you on your toes and all the different cultures in such a small place makes you aware and more understanding with other cultures.
If you could choose one rapper to create a single with who would it be, dead or alive? Who would spit first? Who would have the better verse?
Musically I prefer Biggie over Tupac but Tupac would have to be the one. I feel the message behind the song we would create would be powerful and timeless. I would go first and not let people know Pac’s on the song and then when they hear his voice come in I reckon everyone listening to it would go crazy! Pac would probably have the stronger verse but I’d give him a run for his money lol.
What is a pastime of yours outside of music?
I appreciate good energies. We grew up around a lot of negativity so at any chance I get I link up with my people because in the presence of real friends there’s always positivity.
Please explain some of the ways you give back to your local community:
I give a lot of my old clothes and trainers to charity with my sister Jade. One organization I would like to shout out is Brixton Soup Kitchen. From the beginning of their journey to now the help that they have done for the homeless in their area has been incredible so they should be bigged up on every occasion!
How do you know the perfect beat for a song when you hear one? Please explain the feeling / process when you realize you’ve found the perfect one? Or, if you’re an artist who likes to write after becoming inspired from a beat you heard, please explain that feeling /process.
I know a beat is perfect for me within the first 10 seconds of hearing it. The intro has to grab me to continue listening to it because I start writing as soon as the beat comes on. If you’re looking at me when I’ve found one I like you’d probably think I was going crazy the way I start smiling and screwing up my face. It feels like when my mum would bring me back sweets from the shop when I was a kid. It’s the same whether the beat is being made in front of me or already been made before I hear it.
What is your favorite part of being an artist?
The feeling of being on stage and seeing people recite a song I made up is priceless. I remember my bro Bonkaz had his headline show and we performed a song we made called ‘My Brudda’ taken from his mixtape ‘Quality control 2’. It’s an emotional song and the way the crowd was singing it back to us is something I will never forget. Random people stopping me to tell me how my music helps them is another priceless feeling.
What is your next drop we can look out for? Any other projects or announcements you’d like to mention?
I should be dropping a single and video in the next two weeks called ‘Bless’. This has a more up tempo feel to it. You won’t be able to stop bobbing your head. After that I’ve got two more singles with videos that I will drop before my project is released. The project is titled ‘London X Living (Collection of sounds vol1)’ and will be dropping before the year is out.
Make sure to keep up with Dotty on social media:
@dottyldn on Twitter
@dotty_ldn on Instagram