Broken Cuffz: The Art of Networking with Dough Networkz
Doughboy a.k.a. Dough Networkz has mastered the art of networking in Hip Hop’s underground over the past few years. You may have seen his brand “Dough Networkz Presents” on various projects, especially over the last year. Releasing 10 projects with some of the Underground’s premiere beat-makers and spitters, Dough has become a staple in assembling high quality rap projects and bringing artists together. We at UGHHBLOG chopped it up with the Inglewood, CA native to take a deeper dive into his story and his plans for the future.
Peace brother, to start things off can you tell us where you’re from and how your surroundings influenced you to pursue a career in Hip Hop?
I’m from Inglewood, California born and raised most of my life…my environment wasn’t really an influence on me choosing a career in Hip-Hop, but a few people in it did. Like my best friend to this day Poly Rob who moved from New York to right across the street from me. We had to be 13 or 14 at the time but we connected fast on our mutual love for Hip-Hop, him turning me onto Eastcoast rap and me turning him onto Westcoast and down South rap…that was my influence and my schooling on the culture at the same time.
Who were your early influences growing up in Inglewood?
My earliest influences in Hip-Hop would have to be N.W.A. being that “Boys In The Hood” is the first rap song I can remember, but the biggest influence would have to come from the Death Row era in 92 or 93. I was a big fan of Warren G back then. While everything around that time was more hard and aggressive, he always keep it smooth G FUNK is what his brand of music was called and it always caught my ear because it matched my mood just real chill and laid back.
How did you get introduced to the business side of the rap game?
The way I was introduced to the business-side of the rap game was through Poly Rob, early in our years we were big Hip-Hop heads and a vision of starting our own label. He started one in 2000 called Polidony ENT where I was named A&R. I didn’t have any idea what that was, so he gave me a book to read and that set me on my path.
Dope! So once you got your feet wet with Polidony as an A&R, did you branch out on your own at all?
Yes, during my time at Polidony I met another artist by the name of Bae Delanoe through our mutual friend Rara. Bae was cold on the mic and I already had a vision to start my own label, so I decided to join up with him to form Bomb First ENT. He was the featured artist and I was the CEO/A&R. We were in the beginning stages of building the label when I caught a case and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. When I was first locked away I kind of lost my passion for the business but never the culture. I would stay up to date on what was going on in music any way I could, XXL Magazine was my friend lol.
After you got locked up, how did you find your way back into rap music?
I lost contact with a lot of people early in my bid, but through the emergence of cell phones in prison I was able to reconnect. I caught up with a few of my loved ones who told me that Bomb First ENT was still being pushed. Hearing that kind of re-lit the fire so to say… I decided to do whatever I could to still realize my vision of building my own label. I begin to work on my first compilation project called “Doughboy Music.” After I completed that I was then transferred to another prison where I ran into Tray Deee of the group Tha Eastsidaz. We formed a relationship through our faith in Islam. I used to bounce some of my ideas and things that I was doing with music off him and he would give me his honest feedback plus put me up on things that I didn’t know about the business. I was already on my mission before I met him, but I have to say his talks and critiques were instrumental in confirming that I was on the right path.
Wow, so now that you had Tray Deee giving you advice and direction, how were you able to reach out from inside the pen to build with other artists?
Before I went to prison there was no such thing as Facebook, Instagram etc. so I had to learn how to use these platforms while locked away. I first started with Myspace then I learned about Twitter. I used it as my way to connect with the world and started to meet artists, journalists etc.. I met this kid from West Virginia named Josh and he had group by the name of Y.N.C. We got cool and I ended up managing them from my jail cell lol. I was able to secure them a feature from Tray Deee and also a mixtape hosted by DJ Lt who was DJing for Snoop Dogg at the time. I was also able to form other relationships through social media, like with my guy Frank who introduced me to Elway and McKinley Ave who lead me to meeting some guys who ran a label in Atlanta called The Inkk Well. Their names were Saddam and Mass Pike Miles. They understood my vision and struggle and took me under their wing, helping me with whatever I needed.
After making these connections while inside, how did this art of networking transfer to life on the outside after getting released?
My last year before being released I came up with an idea for a project called “Broken Cuffz,” which would be a compilation project. I began reaching out to every artist I knew. I was able to secure features from Tray Deee, Eastwood, Mass Pike Miles, Elway and others. Poly Rob mixed and mastered the whole joint and it was ready for release upon my release from prison. I was sent to a halfway house in March 2017 after 13 years served. I put together a release party for the album and couldn’t even attend it lol. I was there on Facetime though. Seeing the turnout and response to the album was a pinnacle moment for my confidence and gave me the drive to do another project when I was fully free in the world, so I created “Broken Cuffz 2.” That project has a million plus streams to date.
You had some heavy-hitting MCs on that “Broken Cuffz 2” project, how were you able to connect with artists like Conway, Larry June and Jay Worthy, among others?
I met Jay Worthy around the end of 2017 at a studio session I attended for our mutual friends TF and Ise Diddy. We chopped it up for hours about his music and other artists that we listened too. I told him my vision for building “Broken Cuffz 2” and he was rocking with the idea so much that he would invite me out to network and get some of the artist that was on my wish list and some others I’d meet along the way. He was instrumental to the success of that project by him just opening doors and letting me do my thing. I met Westside Gunn through Jay Worthy while at a studio session. It turned out me and Gunn had a mutual friend in Saddam. I Facetimed him and he told Gunn to rock with me and ever since Gunn has embraced me like family. Gunn brought me out to Coachella. I went around to some great events that he invited me to that opened so many doors for me as well. That’s how I was able to meet my brother Flee Lord who I am working closely with now.
Sounds like Jay Worthy really was instrumental in your progression as an A&R and Exec producer, not to mention the fact that you earned respect from guys like Westside Gunn. Any other notable artists that you built with off this strength?
Yeah, I met Freddie Gibbs back in 2018 at a studio session. We chopped it up for hours about music and life and formed a good relationship through our faith as well since he’s Muslim also. I was able to secure a budget to put on a show and he headlined it. One of the best Hip-Hop shows that year. It sold out and it seemed like the whole city was there.
Back to “Broken Cuffz 2” for a moment, you had mentioned the project had surpassed a million streams, besides the dope lineup of MCs, what helped the album garner that much attention?
Going back to “Broken Cuffz 2,” that project is my baby. It took off the way it did because of the lead single by my guy Larry June and another artist named Dreebo called “Organic Pimping.” That song was getting played in DJ sets all over the world and made it to the Cali fire playlist on Spotify all with no visuals. That song still gets played regularly until this day.
What is your goal with Dough Networkz Presents and what was your approach the past 2 years with putting together and releasing projects?
The goal with my brand DOUGH NETWORKZ PRESENTS is to build a platform for up and coming artists to get top-notch production and to help them generate a fan base off working with me. I’m for the underground and the ones trying to get it out the mud. My whole approach to dropping so many projects this year was to have my name in as many places as possible. I just wanted to flood the market so they would have no choice but to see the work i was putting together.
What are some of your favorite projects you’ve been a part of?
To date since I been home I have released over 12 projects with various artists, but my 3 favorite are: “Keep Going” by G4 Jag and Dirty Diggs, “Above Cloud Vision,” which is another project that I came up with in prison, also produced by Dirty Diggs, and being able to work with EDI Mean from The Outlawz on his project “OG VOLUME 2: CLASSICS IN SESSION,” which was a major accomplishment for me personally. Being a fan of 2Pac and The Outlawz, it was kind of surreal for me and a real honor.
You run Lord Mobb west for Flee Lord, how did you build your relationship with Flee and build a roster of artists for the Mobb who represent the Westcoast?
I met Flee through Westside Gunn and we formed a solid relationship when we kicked it in Buffalo. We became brothers over the last few years which led to him asking me to be a part of his new label Lord Mobb and to head the Westcoast part of it. Right now Lord Mobb West boasts two artists, TF and Phonk P. I met TF during my time in prison and Phonk P and I formed a bond during my recording of “Broken Cuffz 2.” We did a project called called “Phonky Ol Man” that was produced by Old Man 80s who’s a producer from Toronto. The project stands at 1 million streams to date.
How did you link up with The Outlawz and what plans do you have with them for the future?
I met EDI first and met Noble second through my work on EDI’s project and the good response gave me the confidence to ask them if I could help craft the “ONE NATION” album, which is an album that Pac was working on when he passed…. and they agreed so we are building that as we speak. Got some great features on there already with a few big surprises for the fans, it’s coming out this year.
What other projects and business ventures do you have planned for 2021?
2021 is going to be big year. From the “ONE NATION” project to my work with Lord Mobb, albums coming from Left Lane Didon, Osbe Chill, Dirty Diggs, Phonk P and lunching my merch line of hoodies tees etc… also building on my business outside of music with CBD and a new marijuana dispensary in the near future.
(You can cop some Dough Networkz merch here)
Lastly, we at UGHHBLOG always like to ask: what is your definition of “Underground Hip-Hop?”
The definition of underground Hip-Hop to me is freedom, no boundaries. To me it’s the most honest lane in Hip-Hop. I love the underground!!