Being born in Newark New Jersey, and raised in East Orange, is what has provided Dox the inspiration, life lessons and experiences that give his music genuine content and authenticity. His journey has led him down many paths. From minister in training, to d-boy, from average working man, to community activist all the while his poetry and music have remained his passion. His style of rap is somewhere between where Nas and Nipsey Hustle meet. His music has a broad range of styles, from Hip Hop purist, to new age Trap, and he has the ability to bridge them both skillfully.
Top producers have sought out Dox, to work with him for his ability to turn almost any beat into a hot song. Countless Dj's such as Kay Slay, Self, Steel, Bobby Konders and Suss1 have spun his records on such platforms as NY's Hot 97.1 and Power 105.1,” without major label support. DJ Eclispe recently played his new single “Pressure” on Dj Premier’s “Live From Headcourterz” on XM Radio’s Hip Hop Nation Show, and Dox was also interviewed on “Sway in the Morning” where his lyrical ability caught the attention of Sway and Heather B. Dox prides himself on keeping his ears to the streets and resisting the urge to follow the trends, he would rather be setting them.
Dox has worked with platinum producers such as The Heatmakerz, Nitty (formerly of Trakmasters), Needlz (Dry Rain ent.), Buckwild, Spencer4hire in addition to established Hip Hop artists like Rakim, K-Solo, Product GNB (Maria, Maria), Freeway, I-20 and many others.
Dox is also featured on albums such as “Heatmakerz presents The Rush” currently in stores; The LP from The East Flatbush Project entitled “First Born” available on I Tunes. Perfect Strangers as well as Perfect Strangers II (PS II) & PSIII, all collaborative projects featuring Dox and fellow New Jersey artist Stress Boogie, also available on I Tunes.
Dox has also released projects such as the self-entitled effort “DOX”, his first solo project “Dox Landing”,"Crills vol.1and 2", and Lost Crates. His latest project is the single “Pressure” from his anticipated EP T.I.N.S. (There Is No Spoon) Produced by Vertical Jones, and soon to be released on multiple multimedia platforms in July of 2016 on the Mantle Music/ Street Ether Music Independent label.
Dox has been sought after by countless Dj’s to feature on their mix tapes with his one of a kind flow, Dj’s such as, Dj Envy, Dj Steel, Big Mike, Dj Tragedy, Dj Diggz, etc… Dox has been interviewed and has been profiled in hip hop publications and websites such as: XXL Magazine, Hip Hop Game, Vibe, ALL Hip Hop and many others. Dox is the future of this culture called Hip Hop. The music that the world has grown to appreciate, fear, love and misunderstand. Dox is the genuine article, the new thing…that next… now!
THE MAN, ARTIST AND THE FUTURE OF DOX DIGGLA;
interviewed and written by Onyx Knight
Dox Diggla, a man destined for greatness, gracing the rap game, with relentless lyrics that are both fully charged, and that will have you reevaluating your psyche.
How did you get your artist name?
Onyx Knight: There exist history and power behind a name. Names are representations and can be symbolic; they hold some sort of meaning, it’s what I always concluded, so I was inclined to ask.
Dox Diggla discovered his name through poetry slam, in the Upward Bound Program, when his teacher Paul Buonaro opened his mind to the aesthetics of poetry. As Dox begins to reminisce on the past, he responds:
Dox Diggla: I came across paradox and it just stuck in my mental. I didn't even know what it meant or why I initially liked it. It just stood out. I guess phonetically at first. It sounded powerful. I looked it up, and in Greek, it translates to beyond opinion. The definition being, that which appears as it is not.
Onyx Knight: Within his response, you could sense that there coexisted a magnetic attraction to his rapper name. Dox felt like an enigma, especially in regards to his personality. He was thought to be shy, but, really he was just a silent observer. Paradox, who shortly after became Dox (since everyone would butcher his artist name) eventually stuck. After giving a revealing in-depth reason to his artist name (that he trademarks throughout his album) he begins to laugh and further explains where the “Diggla” comes from. The rising artist proceeds to say:
Dox Diggla: I added the “Diggla” later on. It was some play on words sh*t, it just seemed to work. It sounds like a porn star name, a rapper name, a household product [laugh].
Dox Diggla: I kind of drew from the character Dirk Diggler from the movie Boogie Nights. He changed his respective game in the movie.
Onyx Knight: If you haven't seen the movie definitely check it out. This is how Dox’s name, Dox Diggla coalesced, and became his moniker.
Poetry to Rap.
Onyx Knight: Moving from poetry to the rap scene, interestingly, Diggla first started with poetry and then transitioned into rap. His life experiences gave him an essential key that helped him in his transitional phase. Dox learned how to be flexible! It's his natural ability to connect with people of all walks of life, and people who are in both high and low places.
Dox Diggla: I'll find a way to adjust. I've genuinely lived in many different lanes. I went from being a minister in training, to a student, to a 9 to 5 worker, to a hustler, all while experiencing pieces from the Hip-Hop culture."
Onyx Knight: Once he gained more experience and knowledge, it helped him tremendously to adapt to the Hip-Hop terrain.
Onyx Knight: You have been rapping, for quite some years now, and already making noise. You've worked with some big industry heads, from artist to producers, and even appeared on radio shows and featured in magazines like XXL. Your work speaks for itself. Your rapping prowess are vintage, listening to you rap is nostalgic, like something from the 90s.
What was your first accomplishment?
Dox Diggla: First accomplishment was probably my initial situation with Heatmakerz.
Heatmakerz were the same producers that did prodigious work with Dipset! Producing artist like Lil Wayne, Cam’ron, Papoose, Juelz Santana, JR Writer, Jim Jones, 40 Cal, Ghostface Killah just to name a few.
Onyx Knight: How was it like to work with the Heatmakerz?
Dox Diggla: When I got with the Heatmakerz group crash, I really honed those intangibles outside of just barring Negus to death. I became an artist during that time and not just an emcee.
Onyx Knight: Dox first song that he recorded lit a spark in him, just like the discovery of his artist name.
Dox Diggla: My very first song was a classic, to this day it goes so hard. It’s called "We All Goin Make It" produced by Stress Boogie. Sh*t, looking back, that first song was the universe communicating to me what my purpose would be... to help whoever I can make it.
Onyx Knight: On your way to the top, you have definitely set yourself up with amazing features and connections with some of the hottest music industry heads.
Who has influenced you?
Onyx Knight: I know you made mention the influence of Saul Williams; he has opened your mind and pushed you to rap your illest lyrics. Dox begins to explain his first inspiration’s (Saul Williams) literary work and how it influenced him. Dox was astounded by his work.
Dox Diggla: I enjoyed the words and ideas he was juxtaposing in his work. It was a jump from the classical sh*t I was learning about. It took my idea of word structure closer to where I would eventually end up which was rap of course".
Onyx Knight: Dox continued,
Dox Diggla: And for that reason, the first beat I ever got to write to was from my OG in this sh*t and fellow Jersey legend Stress Boogie. Once he taught me how to count bars and I knew the space I had to fit ideas in, which went from a whole page to a tight bar, it seemed as if it should be difficult, but it was seamless."
Onyx Knight: Shout out to Saul and Stress boogie! Speaking on Stress, Stress and you are the perfect dynamic duo, especially how you guys both came together on "Red Carpet". That was a dope music video. Dox begin to roll out his laundry list of artist that has influenced him
Dox Diggla: My OG Drift and Stress gave me the jewels about the generation before me, so he introduced me to a lot of Rakim, Guru (Gang Starr), and when everybody was bumping HOV (Jay-Z) and of course I was too. I still had sh*t like “Mahogany” (Eric B & Rakim) in the tape deck, Above the Clouds (Gang Starr), etc... Wu-tang may have been the first album I studied. Enter the 36 Chambers gave me a blueprint of how to construct verses. I would literally try to squeeze bars in the open spots Rza would leave on certain joints.
Onyx Knight: I laughed, as hilarious as it was to remember growing up and utilizing the opportunity to spit a few bars in the breaks, between verses and choruses. I think we all can test to that shared experience. I had no prior knowledge that Honors English and Dox. Wait.
So bring it back. You knew battle rappers Honors English and Serious Jones way back then? Lol. Incredible!!!! Ya held it down in the studio before? I know a thing or two about Honors English. I was amazed.
Dox Diggla: Bro, Honors is one of the reasons I even got in the game, of course Stress Boogie and Drift were my earliest underground inspirations. When I went to college at William Patterson University, I met the homie Spence Tross who would become my first manager. Spence also managed Serious Jones at the time. Serious and Honors (Honors went by the name Eclipse at that time) were best friends, they were a group called 1st Ave. Bro; I still have a lot of their early work. Had they came out then, they would have gone down as one of the best duos ever.
Their sh*t was that crazy.
Dox Diggla: My dude Ameer, who's one of Pete Rocks current artists, without ever saying a word to me, he showed me how to make that big stadium, international pop appeal, type of wave, so ever since I been working on perfecting this mash-up of influences and now there isn't much out here, hip hop wise that I can't fit my flow into.
Onyx Knight: Dox begin to expand his musical genre and also shown an appreciation for the South and how they contributed to the music world.
Dox Diggla: I also listened to Jazz, R&B, and Rock. I expanded my ear around this time. I had developed an affinity for different sonic textures beyond boom and bap type of music. As I got into college the South wave began it's take over. I was one of the few that didn't hate on it. I actually appreciated what they did. By keeping things simple and saw how not trying to spit over people’s heads would actually make me more effective. I've always had the ability to rap circles around most, but made a conscious decision to incorporate that balance. The energies of artists like David Banner and Outkast, merged with the Dipset sound that was dominated by the east coast, I knew I had to adjust my flow.
Who have you worked with and who would you like to work with?
Dox Diggla: I’ve done tracks with artists like Money Harm of Product G&B, Fred Da Godson, Freeway, I-20 (Disturbing The Peace), JR Writer, Ameer, Drift, Stress Boogie, Doitall Kelly and Rakim. Worked with producers like Heatmakerz, Nick Wiz, Needlz, Nitty of Trackmasters, Spencer4Hire, DJ Steel and Vertical Jones just to name a few. I’d like to work with Nas, Scarface, Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, Mos Def, Miguel,Amel Larieux, Anderson Paak, Sonyae Elise, Redman, Meth, Ghost, The Lox, Glenn Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, J-Cole, Drake... sh*t, anybody I can or that I respect. Even those I don't I can squeeze a jewel out of lol, even if it's their only one ever.
Onyx Knight: I listened to the track "Monster" with you, Tom Gist and Vertical Jones (shout out to them for that track). The atmosphere of the track was sad, dark, and gloomy; the music video content shared some of the struggles that we face in life. "Monster" gave me the chance to see where you can go emotionally with music. This is a different side of you that we normally don't see, just like the dark side of the moon. In your verse, on the track Monster, you said two words that I picked up on, "spirit diminished.” A place where many of us have been, where darkness encompasses our soul. Some call it depression; some call it grieving, an all-time low, and others, The Dark Knight of the Soul. You demonstrate hopelessness in the music video 'Monster" so well, in the opening scene you were sitting on the staircase with just two dollars to your name, and then, later on, Tom Gist said "GPS on deck nowhere to go", as he was rapping that verse while driving in a car. That sounds like a lost soul on a journey. I know you can't speak on Tom Gist part, but what was going through your mind Diggla, was this pain turned into inspiration?
I know you've also rapped a few verses on other tracks about the hardship of being an artist as well.
Dox Diggla: Absolutely! I've always been able to translate my pain into creation. Without the pain, I wouldn't have had the motivation to get better with each verse, each hook, each song, and each project. It was the teacher, the motivator, the guide for my success in this industry. Hence the last line on the new single "Pressure" when you have seen this much pain you appreciate it, the only thing that matters is the goal ain’t no deviation” Diggla!
Onyx Knight: Another piece of sentiment you have shared with us, which most may not know of because at that time you weren't doing music. I know Nas was an influential rapper for you. This was a hidden gem that I unearthed, you made the tribute to Nas track "Black Girl Lost", and yours was called "Black Pearl". That track is black opulence! Amazed that I heard Black Pearl,
Dox Diggla: Btw (by the way) your interview skills are ill, I've done lots, and this doesn't even feel like one. It feels like a convo, you're going to interview the greats bro, just had to throw that in. Hell yes! You did your homework to know about that (laughs), it's funny because I posted that at a time I wasn't really doing music. I found it on an old cd and it took me back. Every woman who just about heard it said it made them cry and really touched a part of them that most rap records can't reach. I just didn't have the know-how to make it pop, but my homegirl, just recently also dug it up and was also touched, literally like two days ago. She was tight that it didn't have many views and asked me to release it. But that song was kind of like my version of black girl lost, which really affected me and how I see women, especially black women. In a time misogyny was rampant in rap, I could have easily slipped into that mind frame, but that song caused me to look beyond a woman's surface flaws or mistakes. It enabled me to analyze what caused women to end up in those states that Nas spoke of. So when I was old enough to have those experiences myself, I took what I've learned and listened the females that were in my life."
How did the track come about?
Dox Diggla: It was something I wanted to tackle. I still remember my man Needlz who was G Unit's producer at their peak. He did "Bang, Bang” for Young Buck, and a whole bunch of their toughest sh*t. I was actually in a group with battle rapper Serious Jones and my man, the meditation guru Honors English. Needlz was our producer. When I was working with him solo, he was going through old beats over at his studio on Saint Nick in Harlem at the time. I gotta lot of Harlem influence during that time. That was my second home. He was going through joints and he played that beat for like 4 secs and was like "nah I ain't even finish that" and I'm like "wait, play that shit Neguh".
Onyx Knight; (Dox laughs as he remembers the process of making Black Pearl).
Dox Diggla: So he does. I love it! Immediately the content starts spilling in my brain and he finished it while I was cookin’ up the lyrics, and the rest is history.
Onyx Knight: Black Pearl is the restoration for black females, which was brilliant. Dox was able to articulate Nas work and create his own version and still kept it meaningful.
The Inner Nerd.
Onyx Knight: I'm a part of a Facebook group called "The Astonishing School Of Gifted Nerds". I'm one of the Co-Creators. It has over 300k members. The content material shared in the group runs from, Anime, Marvel & DC, TV Shows, Movies, Science, Technology, even wild memes and anything nerd like. So I have to ask you "Who is your favorite superhero and why?"
Dox Diggla: Always been a Wolverine guy, I relate most to him, to his nomadic nature. His being able to survive through anything. Kind hearted beneath the exterior, maybe not the flashiest powers but possibly the most effective in his indestructibility. Of course the sharp hands, and when I did write I could relate to his hardships to his search for who he really is. Wolverine has it all for me.
Onyx Knight: In a Superman VS Goku challenge who would win?
Dox Diggla: Goku!
Onyx Knight: By the way shout out to Danny the Creator of the group, the co-creators and the rest of the crew.
What were some challenges that you faced in life?
Dox Diggla: Having the potential to do and master anything I set my mind to but not knowing how to make that a reality. Working harder than most could fathom and having nothing on the surface to show for it.
Onyx Knight: Perplexing as life was, Dox challenges were daunting, such as dealing with abusive women, depression, his worldly views, attempted suicide, transitioning from religion to spirituality, his friends getting caught up in the game, the missed opportunity with Sylvia Rhone, and people who turned their back on him. There was a sense of peace to the street hustler turned rapper.
Dox Diggla: In the moment it seemed like chaos, but in hindsight being 20/20, looking back it was guiding me to this moment. It was all part of the plan. Before the music success picked up, I mean, this moment in reference to me finding myself and the God within, through ancient science of the spirit called Kundalini yoga.
Onyx Knight: What was your practical resolution when things became problematic?
Dox Diggla: The key for me has been the concept of remaining in the present. The book "Power Of Now" by Eckhart Tolle helped me to discover how to always maintain balance, and know what each moment requires of me. When you are actually fully present in the now, I'm this moment. There is no confusion. It's not even difficult. It's how we are always thinking ahead or behind us that makes tasks so difficult.
Coming out of the storm.
Onyx Knight: You do drop some hot gems on us. I can tell that you are in a new phase in your life, and that transformation has taken place considering the path that you are on. From the mixtape Lost Crates on the track "Kingdom Come" you said "This the age of Aquarius. This is my aquarium." You're in your element. I can sense that. Especially with a track like "On Top Of The World", and "Good" from PS3. You should definitely be celebrating what you have achieved thus far, and whatever else is to come."
Dox Diggla: Thank you my bro, while you're grinding, there’s no time to celebrate. I would rarely even listen to my own music for that reason, because it was all about, "alright what's next?" But, in this space I’ve been able to discover myself as an artist and just how important I am to the game. And for the first time I'm really comfy in that space without being arrogant about it. I found balance.
Onyx Knight: As any artist should, Dox is confident in what he says, and that could stem from his own life experience (and that many others can account for), he knows that he is blessed, as he responded.
Dox DIggla: "I don't be playing with this bending spoons sh*t bro. I take it dead serious. I've seen the power first-hand when we get ourselves attune. My Neguh (laughs humorously); It's why I decided to make this project "There Is No Spoon". I was working on this previously, but things fell apart, just wasn't time yet."
Onyx Knight: We both can attest to when you are attuned to God, anything is possible.
Onyx Knight: Recently you made an appearance on Sway in The Morning for the Friday Fire Cypher (April 2016). You lit the cypher UP! I love the raw Jersey energy that you brought to Sway In The Morning, Heather B was wired, the room was charged up, and Sway was spooked. Dox, how were you feeling during the cypher, were you thrilled, nervous, what?
Dox Diggla: I actually wasn't really nervous, more anxious to get up there and do what I do, I guess. I knew what that moment would do, especially at a time I was kind of retired in my mind. I had literally just got back to music, almost dragged back in by the success of "Pressure". First DJ Eclipse played “Pressure” it on DJ Premier’s Live from Headcourterz show, out of nowhere.
That was the first example that ok; maybe this isn't just a coincidence, because I literally stumbled onto the song. I had the hook in my phone to “Pressure” from years prior, just hadn't finished it. I didn't have a verse, something told me to finish it. I ignored the voice in my head for days but it finally won out, and I did so, it was like, as soon as the song was done, its energy took on its own life. I have plenty of songs that better fit modern format. I got those joints these millenniums wanna bounce around to, and all that. But it was something about this minimalist purist song.
Dox Diggla: One of the members of the management team told me (she's a black women of course because they just be knowing sh*t, laughs), on some Oracle sh*t, that she had listened to the song for a week straight, feel asleep to it, and something told her it would blow the doors open for me. All of this was happening pretty quickly. Then I had got a call on a Tuesday from DJ Steel (Sirius XM Hip Hop Nation). He said he played one of my joints from my mixtape Lost Crates, exactly a year prior to the day when I went to Sway. I know because, it popped up on Facebook as an fb memory, smh (shaking my head), "talk about timing and synchronicity". Had I went then, It wouldn't have made sense I had no product. I wasn't even in a music mind frame so when I got the call this time, I knew at this point all this was happening above and beyond me. I knew it was time now, after all this work, after all these years. I've done major sh*t before. But Sway is a whole other ballgame. So I went back into emcee mode Tuesday leading up to the event. It was short notice, so I literally only had a day and chance to wrap my mind around the fact I went from retired, to being on the biggest platform in hip hop to showcase my talent. I've learned that you create realities in the external physical world by the work you do within. The real work was in my visualization and meditation in which I literally created the moment ahead of time. When I got there, It all felt more like a reenactment than anything. I had already lived that moment in the spirit world.
Onyx Knight: I got chills hearing his exposition, being able to manifest your dreams into reality; bending the matrix. It literally reminded me of clips from the matrix to my amusement, my initial response was "You altered the matrix with the oracle on your side Dox."
So what are your thoughts on the game today?
Dox Diggla: Great question! First off let me say I'm still a fan of the culture. There is still official hip-hop out here. I always said hip-hop lives you just got to dig. In our day we could depend on the radio to provide balance and perspective. The same stations that played shinny suit Diddy, sh*t, played DMX. Don't get me wrong sonically this new wave is ridiculous. These are some of the best beats we have ever had access to, as hip-hop artists, because of the fusion of genres. There is even some new age sh*t that I like. Whether I like it or not, I study it to know how to adjust my flow when need be, because being so diverse I got to be prepared to fuse into anything collaborating wise, and just to keep my music fresh."
Dark mosaic of the music industry.
Dox Diggla: With that said, I plan on blowing the doors off this weaponized hip-hop. A lot of artists are aware of what’s being done to the minds of our youth via this inundation of junkie music, with overtly violent sh*t. Then some just can't connect the dots well enough to articulate it. That's also part of my purpose, is to save this sh*t and restore the balance. Companies like Clear Channel, Viacom and the major global media entities that control the music, movies, and television channels, also own private prisons. They flourish from the success of the prison industry complex. So the same people that are funding labels and radio stations that play junkie music, like the shoot the block up music, misogynist music, they keep the new artist thinking, that they have to make this kind of music to be able to succeed, which in turn creates generations of influence on the youth who don't have the wherewithal to separate music from emulation. They're being drowned in a sea of music that encourages lifestyles that will send these kids to early graves and jail. It's not the only component of systemic racial oppression at all, but it's definitely a huge factor that needs to be checked! I don't blame these artists, though. They're writing about what they live, even the most ratchet violent sh*t. My beef is with the lack of balance that doesn't exist in any other genre of music. Can you imagine turning to Z100 and hearing every song is about killing and drugs? A movement would start so fast to shut them down ya head would spin. And this shift in our music directly correlates to our hoods. It ain't a coincidence, it ain't an opinion, its facts, and it's time somebody spoke up!
Dox the ladies’ man-advice for men.
Onyx Knight: Besides the hot lyrics, Dox is a charmer, his relationship views are wholesome, agape love, altruistic and spiritual based. With his busy schedule, he does like to wind down. A night with Dox would be basking in the ambiance, light laughter to get her heart going, great convo, some drinks, and ganja. With a track like "Let me in" from his Lost Crates album, Dox didn't shy away to say "And put some pipe in her heart", sarcastically.
After he discussed a light night with him, he followed up with good advice, on a much serious note, for those of you who know Dox, he doesn't have a filter, and this is unadulterated
Dox Diggla: But jokes aside we be fuckin' the soul out these women, and expect them not to get attached, knowing how desperate so many of them are for the real thing. If you know you're not for them, get out the damn way and let them find that. Ya nut can be gotten elsewhere.
Onyx Knight: The introspection that he gained from his spiritual path enabled him to absolve old habits; he is more interested in restoring women's faith in the black man. The pundit recommends one to traverse his/her life utilizing a retrospective approach to learning how to forgive yourself and the dysfunctional relationships that you dealt with. In the wake of forgiveness, you will find liberation.
What would you like people to take from this?
Dox Diggla: They need to understand I am no different. The same tools and techniques I've used to access my higher self and the God within me to create the realities I have, in the miraculous manner that I have, is from taking the time and putting forth the effort to go within myself. That's where all our potential lies. So instead of being so gun ho on getting that dream car, that dream girl, that dream career and all the external things we invest so much In before we even discover the value of who we are first as individuals. So my advice in the words of the big homie Nas would be before you go chasing waterfalls "discover the diamond inside, find your wealth".