Kickin’ it with The Dudez
By. George Alberts
Trying to succeed in the local music scene is not an easy accomplishment, but rising hip-hop group, The DUDEZ, popped up on our radar with a positive prognosis. We just had to get the scoop on these local, up-and-coming artists who are representing San Diego at its best.
The hip-hop I love has changed and declined so drastically over the years that I feel alienated by most mainstream artists and music. Unfortunately, most of the music we listen to on the radio follows that corporate tune of fame, so itâ€™s refreshing to find a different take on hip-hop from a local perspective; it depicts the various elements that make up our fine city and inspire our thirst for music.
The DUDEZ, Ronnie and Steez, are just two cool dudes who are enjoying life and love making music. Theyâ€™ve been working together for the last 5 years and are continuing to shape their own destination. They produce fun, laid back, positive songs with a lyrical richness that solidifies their sound. Theyâ€™re just one of those groups who influence you with good vibes and easy livinâ€™.
Ronnie and Steez have always been doing music in some kind of way, whether it was playing instruments, making beats, or taking part in talent shows. They share a love for music that has no boundaries. It allows them to do so much with it, especially since music is always changing. Growing up, they listened to hip-hop, but since theyâ€™ve been more heavily involved with their taste in music, theyâ€™ve been listening to a lot more genres like Soul, Dubstep, Reggae, and Pop, certainly maturing over the years.
When Ronnie was in elementary school, he joined band and played the clarinet. In high school, he was introduced to an actual recording studio at the Teen Center in Linda Vista and was always writing songs and hooks and recording, just learning the programs and observing. Steez, on the other hand, was always getting into trouble with teachers because he would make beats on his desk with a pencil during class. From there, he started making beats on his Playstation and would freestyle with his older brother for fun. In 2007, Ronnie and Steez were enjoying their senior year at Kearny High School when they met in their 3rd period digital media class. They shared the common goal to make music, and since then thatâ€™s exactly what theyâ€™ve been doing â€“ the rest is history.
The first song they ever made was in their high school digital media class. They called it â€œHow you do thatâ€ and it turned out to be more of a party song. But 5 years later and looking back, itâ€™s funny to The DUDEZ that they developed that style first. Since then, they have evolved because of their experiences, hard work and practice. Today, their music is distinct and considerably indefinable as their sound is always changing, much like the ever-changing industry. Itâ€™s a nice change of pace for listeners looking for something different and elevating.
The DUDEZ first gained recognition after doing a show at On Broadway in Downtown. â€œWe opened up for B.O.B and performed our song â€˜Yeah Buddyâ€™. When the song was done, the whole crowd was screaming â€˜yeah buddy, yeah-yeah buddy.â€™ I think at that point, I was like this is what I want to do. This is it,â€ Ronnie recalled. We also learned that when they first started out, they didnâ€™t even know what to call themselves. Now, theyâ€™re making headway with their music. â€œWe had just recorded our first official song in a professional studio and wanted to put it on Myspace, but we needed a name. We were just sitting there just throwing out random names. Then finally, we kept asking each other, â€˜Dude, what are we going to call ourselves,â€™ and it just stuck â€“ The DUDEZ.â€
Their latest album, Stone Age, has that familiar scent of good times and cannabis for the stoner at heart or patient looking to unwind and relax. It pays homage to San Diego dreaminâ€™ under the sun while enjoyinâ€™ that most beneficial herb. One of their producers, Isiah Salazar, says, â€œWhat you can expect from â€˜Stone Ageâ€™ is a really different sound that you havenâ€™t heard from a particular rap group. There are guitars, a lot of ska melodies, a lot of rock melodiesâ€¦weâ€™re not sticking to a script, we wanted to bring something new to the table, something refreshing that people havenâ€™t heard, and just have fun. You know, a lot of people make music these days that isnâ€™t really who they are. We donâ€™t have to front, and that is one of the things that make it easy for us to work creatively.â€
The DUDEZ added, â€œThis album was a team effort project with both of our producers, Isiah Salazar and Haze Bangaâ€™. The four of us came up with the idea to bring a new sound to the table. We wanted to express how we are living our lives and thereâ€™s no wrong way of doing that. Also, marijuana had more than its involvement with this album. Our music is related to weed. You can hear it in our song â€˜Elevatorâ€™ featuring Poodeezy, off our first project â€˜Recess,â€™ and a lot in â€˜Stone Age.â€™ We believe San Diego needs to legalize dispensaries and let us potheads, stoners, and patients smoke freely and be comfortable when we take our medication.â€
The DUDEZ have a mixtape dropping on September 3rd called The Invitation. â€œItâ€™s going to be dope,â€ Ronnie says. â€œIt has a lot of energy and â€˜feel goodâ€™ music on it. Make sure everybody gets that. We have another project after that, but everyone will just have to stay tuned. Our upcoming album is titled â€˜After Party,â€™ but I canâ€™t really say too much. Ourselves and our producers, Haze Bangaâ€™ and Isiah Salazar, have something big planned for the sound. You guys are just going to have to wait and see.â€
The DUDEZ have been fortunate enough to have a huge support team behind them, helping them to reach their goal, like 6111 Dispensary, Riipe Clothing, California Money, Isis, their #STEEZHEAD fam, their producers Haze Bangaâ€™ and Isiah Salazar, their DJ â€“ DeeRock, and Richard Washington, their manager.
Hip-hop, in general, has become more of an outlet and an opportunity for a younger generation, so itâ€™s no wonder why so many artists and musicians are coming out of the woodwork for a chance at success. Unlike some artists coming up in the scene, The Dudez leave an impression with songs that drip with creativity, lifestyle, and ingenuity. They definitely shy away from that stereotype of what a West Coast rapper or emcee should be. Whether youâ€™re getting stoned, chillinâ€™, or crusinâ€™ the coast, The DUDEZ will accompany you on your way to a good, fun day.
If you havenâ€™t already, go download Stone Age and Recess, and call in to your local radio stations and request â€œIceâ€ by The DUDEZ. And make sure you download The Invitation on September 3rd. Check out their videos on YouTube and subscribe to their channel.