Even if you’re not familiar with the name Dot Da Genius, you’re probably familiar with the music he’s produced. Back in 2006, Dot cranked out a little song called “Day N’ Night” (ever hear of it?) for his good friend Kid Cudi, and the two have been collaborating ever since. With Cudi’s forthcoming album Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager set to drop on November 9, expect to hear more praise for Dot, thanks to his stellar production on “Marijuana,” and the sleeper-standout of the album, “Trapped In My Mind.” In addition to the two tracks on Scottie’s sophomore effort, Dot has already produced three songs for the rock album Cudi told us he planned on doing when we interviewed him for our October/November cover story. Last week, we spoke to Dot to learn more about his process and the status of the rock duo he and Cud have dubbed “Wizard.” Keep reading to rock out…
Complex: How did the rock album come about?
Dot Da Genius: It was pretty much the same time that we built a studio in Cudi’s crib. We did “Trapped In My Mind” and we were dwelling on it like, “This is crazy, we need to put some guitar riffs on this.” So I had my homie Brent, come through Cudi’s crib with his guitar, and Cudi did the guitar riff with his mouth cause Cudi couldn’t play the guitar. So Brent replayed it. Then Cudi picked up [Brent's] guitar and started fiddling around with it, and I swear to you within like five minutes, he had a legitimate guitar riff. He never played a guitar a day in his life, but had a ill riff that we could make a song with.
Complex: Did that spawn the thought of exploring more rock music?
Dot Da Genius: That’s when the idea really clicked in his head that he could play guitar. Like he could get nice and start performing at shows with a guitar. The next day we went to Guitar Center and he bought a guitar and all the pieces. Since then he hasn’t parted with it. He’s been playing it non-stop and gradually getting better. And when [Cudi's] creative he has to get everything out, so when we were on the road we bought a whole other studio set-up for the tour bus. It’s crazy. We completely turned the tour bus into a studio and he got another guitar and we were just making music on the bus. By the second or third day we were like, “We wanna finish an album before this tour is completely up.” We’re recording on the bus. I’m personally amazed at the music that’s coming out cause Cudi’s always been good with melodies, so for him to be able to translate his melodies through an instrument it’s just going to be a whole other level.
Complex: Is it going to be that type of hard rock with screeching vocals?
Dot Da Genius: No. It’s definitely gonna be rock-influenced and there’s gonna be shades of it, but that’s not the type of rock he’s really doing. His songs and the words he’s using are really poetic, if I had to use one word. His rapping style or how he’s coming on the tracks, he’s really taking a poetic stance on this so when you hear it there’s messages in the song. But he’s not telling you the message straight out, he’s just giving you a way to get the message and interpret the message in your own way. This is personal for Cudi because if you listen to all his music, he’s been real melodic. People have been tryin’ to classify him like he’s a rapper, but honestly he’s just an artist. People have some skepticism to it, but who better to do a rock album than Cudi? He’s the best one to do it rather than some other rapper. He’d be the perfect candidate to fill that genre and really do some damage.
Complex: When are you trying to put the album out?
Dot Da Genius: At first we were trying to get it out right away like before the year is up by December, and we can still do it because at first we were trying to put out an EP. We’re not trying to just give people a whole lot of rock music right off the bat. An EP is very feasible to get done by the end of this year. We don’t want this to be something that’s just rushed and put out. We definitely want to take the proper channels so we’re living with the music. The music is still growing. It’s solidified enough to where we’re playing this music for substantial people and they’re reacting and they really like the music. So we’re excited and we think people are really gonna like it.
Complex: Are you guys recording every day?
Dot Da Genius: We were pretty much making music every day [during the tour]. If we weren’t recording vocals, we were recording guitars. I was making beats just pretty much trying to get a good vibe for a song. Right now we have a little break from the tour, but we jump back on next week and we’re just recording on the bus ’cause the number one thing that Cudi stressed for this sound was that we’re going against the grain. We’re not in a million-dollar studio recording clean-cut vocals.
Complex: Is there anyone else teaching him the guitar or is he taking any lessons?
Dot Da Genius: Nah, he’s teaching himself legitimately. The most he’s doing so he can learn the anatomy of the guitar is YouTubing, so he knows what the strings are. How to properly tune and stuff like that, but for the most part it’s just him sitting down and plucking away at the guitar madly. Just playing. Struggling, and he’s genuinely getting better and better every time he picks up the guitar.