Allow us to introduce Athens Park, L.A. representative DUBB.
For those unfamiliar, Quincey White, better known as DUBB, is an emerging emcee and entrepreneur born and raised in Athens Park, South Central Los Angeles, California. His moniker is an acronym that stands for "Determined & Unique Beyond Belief", which captures his approach quite well. Far from satisfied, he and his associates at AV8ERS Entertainment plan to ascend as high as they possibly can, and are doing it their own way.
Since his beginnings with the late Geno Cap and the Hoodz Finezt collective in the mid-2000s, DUBB's released more than a dozen mixtapes and appeared on well over a hundred others, collaborating with the likes of Smoke DZA, Ab-Soul, Iamsu!, Nipsey Hussle, Game, Skeme, Glasses Malone, Yung Berg, Tyga, Troy Ave and many more. Back in January, he released a new tape titled Never Content, which was hosted by Young California / Power 106's DJ Carisma. Still in the midst of a promotional run for the project, he's already working on the next and preparing to embark on the "Fly High Tour" with Pittsburgh emcee Devin Miles, which kicks off at The Studio At Webster Hall in New York City on June 25th (purchase tickets here).
Read choice excerpts from our in-depth interview with DUBB below, and scroll to the bottom of the page to stream or download Never Content if you missed it. Otherwise, you can find him on Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and his official website. You'd be well advised not to sleep.
On Athens Park:
Athens Park is not the best neighborhood... it's basically a Blood neighborhood. In any neighborhood, Crip or Blood, you can either go all the way into gangbanging, or you can have some type of affiliation and still be focused on what you're doing. Or you can be focused on what you're doing and also be putting in that type of work, if you want to do that... To this day, I'll pull up over there and hang out… obviously I can't be over there all day, 'cause a lot of people know who I am. You know, we still have enemies... the Crip neighbourhoods that don't like us just naturally won't like me, and won't like me more 'cause I'm having some type of success.
My family is a known family in Athens Park - my uncle, my dad's brother, was one of the dudes that started Athens Park. And that's why I don't really have to go hard and say 'Athens this, Blood that', because I'm one of those dudes that everybody knows, so I don't have to promote that all the time. I'm not trying to promote super gangbanging and the negative side of it - I'm trying to promote where I grew up, where I came from, and I'm making people from over there feel like it's possible to make it out. I'm making the toughest gangbanger look up to somebody like me. I hope I do the same for a kid that's getting raised in Athens Park right now, that sees the gangbanging, but they know 'okay, I'm from over here, I grew up over here, but I'mma do like DUBB… that nigga came from the 'hood, but he still made it out, and he never changed up on us'.
On His "AV8ERS Entertainment" Imprint / Brand:
My label started out as Hoodz Finezt, back when I first started in '06 - that's when I was just super street, South Central everything - but I grew as an artist. The word "aviate" means to fly, so I feel like it's aviation, it's elevation to new heights, and it represents what I'm doing now. Plus my dad worked at American Airlines for 25 years, and he died of cancer in 2012, so it was something to pay homage to him. It made sense to change the name, because Hoodz Finezt really affiliated me with gangbanging too much. And I feel like my music is way past that. I wanted to keep it alive, because my boy Geno, I started that with him, and he passed away from a car accident… but for the best of my career, and for me to break past that, I had to shake that name - it's still tatted on me, but AV8ERS is the more commercial brand - and it's the best for the brand. It's a worldly name, versus Hoodz Finezt, keeping you secluded in a ghetto in the hood, in the slums.
Chippy is the main manager, and Eazy No Steroidz is co-manager. All three of us have a 33% share in the company - we're all CEOs of it. We're just pushing forward and trying to make this AV8ERS thing a household name... We're like the mixtape's called - never content. If we're successful in music, we're not just gonna stay in music. We're definitely trying to put our hands into clothing, we're definitely trying to put our hands into acting - we're trying to put our hands into everything we can. We're not greedy people, but at the end of the day, this is a business, and we want to be the most successful businessmen. We want to be a Russell Simmons, we want to be a Jay Z. We're trying to do a little bit of everything.
On His Come-Up:
I've been through a lot, so listening to music was one thing that really took me away from what I was going through. And then one day, I got my hand on a couple of instrumentals, and I just tried to start doing it. My favorite rappers were Tupac, Nas and Eminem. Leaving middle school, going into high school, I'm writing - I'm still playing basketball, 'cause I wanna go to the NBA, I'm not thinking I'm gonna be a rapper, but I'm writing my thoughts down and makin' 'em rhyme… and then my boy, his cousin had a studio, and I went, and I felt like I had more fun than I ever did on the court, just that first day. So I was like 'oh man, it's something special'. I wasn't that dope at the time, but I knew the drive I had towards it. I already knew, if I'm havin' fun doin' it, I know I'm gonna get better, 'cause I'm working every day at... That's how it happened - wasn't nothin' too complicated. I just came around at the right time.
I'm just trying to put substance and story lines back into hip-hop - you know, verses back to the 'Pac and Biggie days. I really take time on my lyrics… certain people will pick out a dope beat, and then really focus on their hook, and not really say nothing in their verses. When I hear a beat, I think of a concept for a song, and then I paint a vivd picture - I just try to make it come to life as much as possible through the verses… [with] an introduction, body and climax, kind of like an essay, in song format… it's not like it used to be, you know what I mean? So I'm just trying to bring that essence back to hip-hop.
On Production / Producers:
My Never Content project [involved] some usual suspects that I usually work with, like Hidden Faces, they're out The Bay, my boy Chinky P out of Houston, League Of Starz from out here in L.A. … but most of those guys were new - D.C., he's a seventeen-year-old kid, but he's dope - C.A.G Beats… It was a lot of people that was upcoming that I gave the chance to do records on Never Content, and they delivered. A dude named Daniel Worthy, young dude out of L.A. - Casey Kalil, from The Bay - Remixx out of Vegas, that's one of my usual suspects. The Showboys out of Toronto. Larry J, he grew up in my neighborhood... If you're making good records that fit the music I'm doing, let's do it.
I've got [an in-house] producer, but he's under the development stage - my boy Lazy. I did a song to one of his beats that I really like, but it's not out yet... I've got a few guys that, every time I do a project, I'm like 'yo, I'm workin' on something, send me some records'. But I really give the opportunity to new producers - I don't really care about names too much. If it's a dope beat, I'll use it. You know, these dudes is dope, like Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz - but I wouldn't go to them just because they've got a big name. Not to take shots, but it's certain people that wouldn't see the light of day that can make beats as good as they can - they just don't have the name. So I give those type of guys opportunities to showcase that.
On His Appearance On 'The Cypha', From Game's 2006 Mixtape "The Black Wall Street Journal Vol. 1":
My boy Geno actually had a personal relationship with Game, and he just linked it up. I was a young kid, hungry, and he liked what I was doing - I mean, I was at the age where everybody was selling me dreams - 'I'mma take you to Def Jam', 'I got somebody at Interscope' - so I was at the point where I didn't believe what people said no more… [so] Geno was like 'yo, you dope, man, and I'mma take you to Game'. And I looked at him like 'okay', 'cause I didn't know him at the time… I kind of brushed it off.
I was at home one day, just laying down, and I got a call like 'yo man, we 'bout to go to the studio with Game', but I was still like 'okay' … even in the car I was like 'man, where we goin'? I don't believe it'. 'Cause at the time, Game was super hot - a Platinum-selling artist. So we pulled up, I went inside this big studio, and there he was. I'm like 'okay, shit, he really here'. So Game was like 'oh, Geno, this your lil' homie, huh? Yeah, I'mma see what he got' … He put on a beat, and said 'aye, that's you, go ahead', just like that. So I went in there and spit like 40 bars, and killed it. So that's how that came along.
Everybody else just respected it, and the other features just came along the way, and even the blogs started supporting, 'cause they was like 'damn, who's this young kid, eighteen, nineteen years old, on Game's track?', so everybody else started supporting, and everything else just fell in line, and I started building my own empire.
On His Recent Co-Signs From DJ Whoo Kid And LL Cool J:
When I was out in New York doing my promo run with all the big press out there, I ran into Whoo Kid - I didn't even have Whoo Kid locked in, I didn't know him. So I was coming out the Shade 45 building, and I saw [him] and was like 'yo, what's up, man? I'm DUBB'. And he was like 'oh shit, DUBB from 'Don't Take Days Off?'' 'Cause that's where he first heard me, you know, the Nipsey record. And I'm like "Hell yeah!" And he's like 'man, that's my shit - I play it in my car, I play it in my house, I play it when I work out… I gotta get you an interview today'. So he pulled me in the studio right then and there.
His favourite records off of Never Content were 'If I Wasn't Black' and 'California'. So he was playing 'If I Wasn't Black' on the show, and I guess he was interviewing LL while he was playing the record. And LL was like 'damn, who was that? I fuck with that record'. So Whoo Kid told him who I was, I followed him and he followed me on Twitter, and we just started chopping it up in the DMs. He was like 'man, you gotta keep doing what you're doing, you've got a bright future'. And that's big to hear from somebody like LL - he's a legend. He's been in the game for twenty years... Hearing stuff like that, me being from South Central, it just lets you know that it's possible.
On Major Versus Independent Success:
At the end of the day, I'm tryna be my own man. I can easily sign to a man and sit around enjoying being in the entourage, but that's just not me. Some people are like that, some people just want to be around a lifestyle, but I feel like I want to be my own man, and my own entity. So I'll just stick it out and make moves on my own, and when I finally get there, it'll feel that much better.
If I can get to a status that I don't need a label, of course - why would I sign? But at the end of the day, if a label believes in me right now, and is able to give me the situation that I'm looking for, then why wouldn't I do it? It just depends on the way the ball rolls for me… if a label reached out and was like 'yo, I think you can be the next Tupac' or 'I think you can be the next Biggie - we believe in you, we gon' give you this $3 million, no 360, with these amount of albums', and if it's a good deal, fuck it... But we don't put in these years of work, and all these long hours, just to settle for something… I'm going to do what's best for me.
On The Future:
I'm still trying to promote [Never Content] as much as possible… because a lot of people didn't hear it, and I feel like it's a good, solid body of work that everybody needs to hear… so I'm going to continue to promote that while I'm working on my next one. The information I can give out right now is that Whoo Kid is hosting it, and I have big features - I had some big features on Never Content, but they're bigger than that. Whoo Kid's been hands-on with this project - he's not just putting his voice on it... At this point, it's just Whoo Kid, but there might be a second DJ [from the West Coast].
I'm doing a tour starting in June [the "Fly High Tour"], probably like 16-20 dates. I'm just trying to keep building and put my stamp on hip-hop, and let everybody know there's someone else from the West Coast that you should know about, and this dude is gonna be around - it's not gonna be one of these dudes you see for two or three years, have a hit record and disappear, 'cause I've got that content that's going to keep me around for twenty years... that's all I'm trying to do.