EarthGang is an American rap duo composed of emcees Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot. Formed in 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia, EarthGang released its first EP, The Better Party, in 2010. This was followed by several singles and three albums, including Mad Men and...
EarthGang is an American rap duo composed of emcees Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot. Formed in 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia, EarthGang released its first EP, The Better Party, in 2010. This was followed by several singles and three albums, including Mad Men and Good News in 2011, and Shallow Graves For Toys in 2013. The latter peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart and was largely well-received, with Noisey calling it "one of the most well thought-out releases of the year" and praising the album's "playful delivery and biting lyricism." Inking a deal with Empire Distribution as of 2014, the group has released several music videos and is currently touring North America with Ab-Soul.
The rap duo EarthGang was first formed around 2007 by Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot, then both high school students in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Johnny Venus, they had first met on a field trip in 9th grade at Benjamin Elijah Mays High School, with Venus later approaching Doctur Dot to ask about forming a music group. Avid fans of rap and hip hop, both members had grown up listening to artists as diverse as the Ohio Players, Dizzy Gillespie, Madonna, and Richard Pryor. About their name EarthGang, Venus explained in 2011 that "The name came to me abruptly one day. It represents what we're made of and why we do what we do. It's for the people by the people. Our music is influenced by the conscious and subconscious, and we create it to influence the like."
2010-13: Early releases
On January 26, 2010 the group released its first EP, the mixtape titled The Better Party. Their first full-length recording project, they recorded in a multitude of studio spaces, which, according to Venus, included "dorm rooms at Hampton University, closets in Atlanta, a house studio owned by 'Mr. Fish' (a fellow underground Atlanta musician), and finally in Hampton University's Music Recording Technology Jazz studio." The EP was mixed and mastered by EarthGang, with help from Jack Swain.
Also in 2010, they began touring in the United States, performing at festivals such as the A3C Festival in Atlanta. They released periodic singles as well, and in November 2010 they debuted the song "Miss the Show." In early 2011 they taped and released a music video for "Kick'n It," a track first included on The Better Party. Soon afterwards they released the single "Opium," which they would later film a music video for. The group self-released two albums in 2011: Mad Men in April, and Good News in December.
They released their track "The F Bomb" on June 4, 2012. The song would later be included on a 2014 album and was made into a music video. "Machete," a single produced by 808 Mafia, was self-released by EarthGang on February 10, 2013, shortly before the release of their music video for their 2012 single "Fire Kicking Tree Limbs." In March 2013 the group released "UFOs," a slow single over nine minutes long. According to a review in Pigeons and Planes, "Sexual, contemplative, sprawling, and slow, EarthGang's 'UFOs' veers far left from the duo's last music expedition 'Machete' and hews a bit closer to the earthy soul that typified so much mid-90s Dungeon Family output."
They again performed at the A3C Festival in early 2013, also opening for Black Fest at Stanford University.
2013-14: Shallow Graves For Toys and music videos
On July 8, 2013, EarthGang released their album Shallow Graves For Toys on the imprint Spillage Village. The album includes several singles released earlier, such as "The F Bomb," "UFOs," and "Machete." "The F Bomb" was produced by Hollywood JB of Spillage Village. The album was re-released on iTunes in the summer of 2014. In response to Shallow Graves For Toys, in 2014, Noisey called EarthGang "an engaging, clever rap duo," praising the album's "playful delivery and biting lyricism" and calling it "one of the most well thought-out releases of the year." Similarly, in September 2014 Creative Loafing (Atlanta) described Shallow Grave For Toys as "arguably one of the better local rap releases to come out of the indie hip-hop scene in the past two years."
Since Shallow Graves For Toys, EarthGang has released several official music videos from the album. In the summer of 2014, the video for "The F Bomb" was released. The video was featured on Noisey, who described the song as "a giant 'fuck you' to all the hypebeasty trend hoppers of the music world."
2014-present: Touring and projects
In 2014 the duo continued to tour across North America, performing several shows at SXSW among other festivals. On September 20 EarthGang began headlining a 40 date tour with their collaborator Ab-Soul, a member of TDE. The tour's first show in Atlanta was followed by shows at venues such as The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina and performances throughout the East Coast, the Midwest, Ontario and the Pacific Northwest. After hitting states such as California and Texas, the tour is due to end in November.
Incorporating Southern hip hop and genres such as funk and soul music, EarthGang has drawn comparisons to groups such as Dungeon Family and the Pharcyde, among other artists. Stated the duo in early 2011, "When we create, our goal is to set the listener in a mood for each track... the style is all a part of the execution. You'll hear who we are, where we're from, and what sounds we like through our music. We pay attention to details."
For clarification purposes, EarthGang has absolutely nothing to do with Environmental Protection, Ecological Conservation, Cultural Heritage Preservation or anything of that light as their name might indicate. They are purely and only a music group.
Current as of 2014
Johnny Venus - emcee (2009–present)
Doctur Dot - emcee (2009–present)