Doomtree are a pretty intense crew. Not in their everyday interactions, mind you. We've had the chance to work with several members on solo endeavors over the years. We found guys like SIMS and P.O.S. to be polite, down-to-earth, and amicable...sweethearts, really. But something happens when they occupy a stage, when Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger start pummeling the crowd with their hefty blue-collar beats and cinematic, yet menacing soundtracks, when 5 MCs assault the audience with verse after blistering verse. It can be a lot to take in.
Doomtree recently swung by our drizzly shindig at Empire in Austin TX. They showed up early, hung out, hit the stage, proclaimed that "early afternoon SXSW is killing it right now, turned in an extremely enthusiastic performance, and then milled about in the rain for another hour or so watching (and tweeting at) some of the other bands taking the stage that day. On "No Way, from their 2011 debut, No Kings, the crew proclaims, "Attack! And we're on you like a Mack Truck, and well...that's pretty much what this glitchy, hyper-active Garage Gig feels like.
We got cracks in our armor, got cracks in the ceiling And this axe that we're wielding Will react when we're feeling that Crack, attack, attack, and we're on you like like a Mack Truck Your honor, we are that fucking filthy We got cracks in our armor, got cracks in the ceiling And this axe that we're wielding Will react when we're feeling that Crack, attack, attack, and we're on on you like like a Mack Truck Your honor, we are that fucking filthy It's 2000 and self destruct everybody yelling that shit is all fucked Yuck, I never liked the construct of that square wheel, like "money ain't real" Wait, but that ain't real. Oh, now I get it We could take it all and split it, give it to the village Doomtree villains out for the killing, no kidding Good man but I went a bit bitter when they took a little bit of the dinner off my plate High stakes, okay, Ill play, but it ain't your game And it ain't your rules and it ain't your world, and I brought my crew We some dirty lip fuck your rules living ugly goons It's no kings, no way, You're so vain, you probably think it's about you Well it is and it ain't, and it ain't but it is I go so fucking nasty no restraint Well I get props and I play it off, I see them hot and I fade them all Hello world it's L. O. P. B. T. Z. , keep your ring Move out of my way, let me do my thing Let me do my thing, I'mma do my thing - South By Southwest, how's your afternoon? We're called Doomtree, we're from Minnesota. Friction lock rivet Goonish as all fuck, prudent to all stunts Proving the laws of logarithm like the wag of a dog's tail Bark back, woof! Light the rag on your cocktail SPart that, champ on that slang chop Chump on that chomp rap, probably a stomp sack Man, give me my prop back Hold your tooth to my non dap, I ain't no Diddy boy That Beni know we go scrimp dance Dougie, don't stop that! Senor Frreal Z three R zero None other, who's cooler, hula-hooping through bank zeroes Hewlett packing, loogie yacking on Don Hero's Bomb appearance, nights in Paris, raw dogging cross limos Toss demos, snot rockets blow up the sub-labels Long tables, calling shots on a crowd potato The slang mongrel with fanged tonsils We slay goblins gangly gang violent Wrangling fake monsters We got cracks in our armor, got cracks in the ceiling And this axe that we're wielding Will react when we're feeling that Crack, attack, attack, and we're on on you like like a Mack Truck Your honor, we are that fucking filthy We got cracks in our armor, got cracks in the ceiling And this axe that we're wielding Will react when we're feeling that Crack, attack, attack, and we're on on you like a Mack Truck Your honor, we are that fucking filthy What's up? No kings, no love for your made up things In the paint but it ain't no game on the wall with a little complaint Leave that stain, weave through cities dodging rain No thing but an open door, it's yours No lie but you've got to get dirty man fix your pride We some preach them real, reach them, steal them from low ideals type dudes With a stepped up set of skills and an ick style so kill that wills update daily No frills or pilled up babies No posture phony just rock solid un-fuck-with-able dropped knowledge No love for the bull horns give them Thorns get them in, swarm, let me make friends with a storm Buddy get up close to the war Insides out, no love for the boring Naw, bored, and I bet the hearts off beating Under hardwood flooring, poor man's Poe We got cracks in our armor, got cracks in the ceiling And this axe that we're wielding Will react when we're feeling that Crack, attack, attack, and we're on on you like like a Mack Truck Your honor, we are that fucking filthy - Thank you. Aw, shit yeah. Ride on Blue Boy dipped in a Uni Dickin on a squad car, vickin on a fully Sick as a Sunni, strapped with a bobby Pullin on the pin, he Tutankhamun Boots to the ceiling, boostin the serum So sincere, brutes new to the feeling Ridin on the old scene, buck if you hear me Bucks for the fabric of your fiber Bricks, dips, blicks, big, brighter Bees in a trap? No, bees in a hive Gee is for Geezus, Gs and a nine O is for O. G. s, grease in the eyes Crease in the khakis, piece to the side Forgotten youth when older mutants played Magneto We believed the strip and never plagiarized their credo Fashion cutter for the fascist, dirty-lipped and truly goony Looney Tune Schooly Ds come off cartoony No King Cloak and Dagger, Lavabanger Legacy No anonymity, no forced validity False Hopes, we got close, man, we got ghost Tough shows and rough roads until every sign said, GO Take the skins Hang em on the walls Not trophies, just reminders What is left here when we fall Ay, I'm pushing up on your tempo She too stoned Nintendo I'm Vint Cerf, she Pink Floyd I'm jumpin out the window Sike, I'm fly, I float aight right by Cut my own moat Get by with my chose fam Dismantle thrones All the fuck in your station All up in your dark Awkward in ya Marc Maron conversations Call em out the park Hangin out then Van Halen cabs in your city All up on your block opposite the cops Y'all should all fuck with me Style like a Cadillac Crash with a battle axe handy Gucci store fire on the couture Then planes, trains, and automobiles, I'm John Candy Y'all just can't stand me I make em feel ridiculous Pickin apart they postures put together meticulously awful In the air, hostile The fingernails, watch em Sit and stare, box em if I gotta Panic is the fashion I arrow to the action Pied Piper through all types a shit Types like me y'all ain't fuckin with Go get it Or go without You going nowhere Run that shit into the ground Go get it Or go without We go for broke And run that shit into the ground Struck by lightning With a hand in the sand Came to with a fist fused in glass Closed the circuit skull full of white light, mouthful of ash Sparks on the pavement Dragging the chain Anchor's off, man, lost it again Steady on gotta push through the rain Weather in the veins, came for this Train for this, fuck Made for this, pray they miss, duck Duck gray duck gets up and running Rest fall back like a bridge in London Brand new brakes I never touch em You're all spin move, you're doing too much Rental car, trick cigar I'm just laughing while that whole thing blows up Looking like I'm Joakim Noah Black mask, take your gas money My name is Sims but call me David Lynch, I make em act funny I ain't afraid to change lines, state, date, or face I'm option two when you skate or die but still survive on basslines At least for the next eight months Then I change up like it ain't much You do the Roger Rabbit in Shape Ups Still blabbing bout some frame up vision MN living gray duck risen Nay fucks given, way subliminal Class-war criminal trying to make my stance more pivotal See what is left is suspect The Pepsi Gen went crystal meth And punk rock dads scream rap is dead I laughed until I lost my chill I'm really real, half Built to Spill half Kill at Will Half shark alligator and my Philly filled Mill City kid in the field Gritty is in the blood, proof is in the track Fifty in the tank, on you like a Mac Truck Roll with a ton on my back Better back up fast Go get it Or go without You going nowhere Run that shit into the ground Go get it Or go without We go for broke And run that shit into the ground Clock 'em all day, chunk 'em all night Looking for a fight Lean to the right or leave on your left Lean to the chest, drink to that bite Fuck around and swing on a bigger man Bing bing bing bing Ding ding, the bell ring in my head Shaved clean off the cleaver head Now the dude tink tink Click when he blink down the ramp of the minivan Cuffs clink when they link round the wrist and I think When I'm gonna sleep when I'm gonna eat again? Give a fuck what you think Give a fuck less what you gonna do about In the Minne we penny pinching Any inch and we take a mile, style with a double pitching, fix in a cinch Have a Coke and a smirk, I'll smack the taste out your shirt Rushdie that or run a check Catch a fade or catch respect Move (move) around with a gat from a gun show Middle of a murder 'Merica, murder murder not scareda ya Yeah I hearda ya, crew out like a hernia Stop Had a rough one, the type make a man wanna jump from the top And it sucks, make a tough wanna chuck hella rocks at the cops But he stuck with his middle finger up looking dumb on the block Out of luck with his generator dry tryna find a way to not die Hot-wired, open in the out there, no shade Going for the next wave, close shave But he running out the clock though Rock those in their silly ass faces Yeah, any damn day I'ma reach out, you can touch faith They can douse mud, we can soak bleach Teach, work, live, speak that Doomtree Uh, generation generators Uh, spark up the accelerator Uh, gas pedal, gas pedal Push it, push it This is "never settle" Uh, this is my theme song Hard as the brick that I cut my teeth on Soft as the science made you Push it, push it, push it Farther, louder, harder Full figure - nah full fact Bad with a ten-key, better with a black Bic Ratchet clip for a garter belt Going Sally Hansen, nails hard as hell Is that moonshine in a champagne flute? Old English in a new tattoo? What we do to be last the man standing Break an ankle to stick the landing And I'll be singing in the silo, let that echo clear my head Learn to tolerate the iocane, got real good at playing dead Call to arms young statuettes Coquetting's clever yet, bet Venus de Milo's better with her bayonet Uh, generation generators Uh, spark up the accelerator Uh, gas pedal, gas pedal Push it, push it This is "never settle" Uh, this is my theme song Hard as the brick that I cut my teeth on Soft as the science made you Push it, push it, push it Farther, louder, harder - What up homerun. - We're Doomtree if you just wandered in to get out of the rain. Thanks for coming through. Like the clock in the gut of the 'gator They all talk (tick) Earned every dime in my pocket They pocket watching Eyes wide--you must of gotten in the belladonna Watch if you wanna I work in that Castellano lisp French Resistance, Oxford comma Get press like I'm all cuff and collars Winter's brisk, double down, if you're gonna stay on it Seasons here even freeze the deep water But it keeps the genes hardy So feed a fever, the winter we starve keep Razor in the cheek, robin in the ribcage Braided in the street, hair down in the crib stay Easy on the beat Mouths get easier to feed Meter's running, every minute gotta matter--move I got a minimum to meet I'm in that two-seater beater bumping Big Freedia Scheming on something I could eat up With this dime and this nickel I might take down Visa for the three percent I feed them I am not your profit I am Travis fucking Bickle Kill a paparazzi lobby Bring the body down to Lockheed Stuff it in a Maserati Just playing, that's just the funny shit I'm dreaming While I'm pouring your Chianti Serve a couple tables and I'm off on my Bianchi I'm outie kemosabe weaving all these zombies by me Money, money, money all they ever fucking say I should've left yesterday Okay I need a couple bucks to fill my cup and you know this But holding on to something gold never was the focus Never fell for the hocus pocus, it's all bogus Bullshit, goldfish, guppies, yuppies fucking disgust me Ugly man, I'm sick of this shit so I untie my wrists And I undock my ship I dream a new planet with only fun occupants So I uncock my hips and I dance like an idiot See how electric my city is Lake City pacemaker Put the pulse in it Big Sims and I keep it authentic Running Man jump back, bio-funk divisible Hungry Jack swing, hide your trunk visible Steel wool brillo teeth, sleepin like I'm Hampton Leak blood in widow's peaks, geekin up vampin C'mon Dougie I been rap--frrserious 4 minus 5 (1) Fantastic Furious WWF, www dot calm the fuck down right now Or you'll get WW3'd, all of you dummy to me Money turn putty when fuddy duddies act funny with me TiVo everything, eenie meanie that's mine I said gimme guh-gimme gimme gimme plenty Beamer and the Sim simma The Vimmy, the semi Petty bounty, any penny or any fedi Homie is you relevant? Lemme get a piece I'ma retell it, develop it, sell it to the beast Rollin in a bread box, mayo spillin On the ceiling, bailing 187 Satan kneeling, hailing, doing my bidding Grillin, never chillin, I'm Hella Frreal Peeling on God's lemons, spillin milk, drowning kittens Sick hurlin, feelin like I'm illin, wheelin, and dealin Mike the Thriller, chill killer it's been a minute You can show and prove, I'ma stand and deliver it - How y'all doin'? All right? We having fun here? All right. We're called Doomtree, we're from Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have a brand new record out, it's called 'All Hands. ' We're really excited about it, we're really happy to... be sharing some of these brand new songs with you. - Are you good, are you on? - I'm good, I'm on. - Sweet. The lyrics to this song go... There goes Johnny sweeping the leg There goes Jake cuffing the hands There are things that I'll never understand They're just looking for a buyer Easy meat, cheap prey supplier Situation looking dire Shot back at the devil I was heavy under fire It's okay I'm reloaded They can't rap along but God damn they quote it God damn it's frozen My heart is Minnesota This boulder If you didn't notice Something inside of me is slowly exploding I feel like Kobe on the sideline Sidewinder missile I am cyanide Inert for the last time land mine I am out of my Goddamn skull Pedal to the floor board I am all pulse I don't play fault I just dust off walk over them coals Iron out later I ain't waiting on an elevator Each mark is a caption Each line on my face shows exactly what happened You'll know what you need when it slips by but I'm not looking back for the rest of my Get up like I never fucking got up before And I get it like I never fucking got it before You'll see how dark once they hit the light know what I've made from the marks on my hands Get up like I never fucking got up before And I get it like I never fucking got it before Simon says Miranda's right But William tells it different Says Gideon brought a rifle Was looking for a fight The Housewives of Gomorrah all boarded up from here to the border Sordid falling on our own swords or standing still Heartbreak hill I'ma make a fortune in small bills to show that I can give it back in my will Like the back of my hands I know hard work My back my hands Yeah both still hurt Like a catamaran two skins One for the water one for the wind Like a battering ram, I get it in lemme at it again and when the juniper blooms we get a river of gin Get up, let's go, move homie right now Shut em up, they make it hard to keep the food down Ninety-nine lives Livin' by the Konami code Fold em all origami mode Let the drama slow Never ever ever I'm an adventure Keep em on they toes Drippy-nose fucks flake I dip past no breaks Skippin' y'all flipping y'alls hot cakes eating I'ma man the damn Weber Stand aside, handle mine, add the cheddar Kiss the chef Nah gut, skin, and eat the chef before he eats the rest I'm here to keep the nest safe and sound the alarm Ride the earthquakes and hang ten harm Y'all get tame I'ma non-stopper Y'all flip the frame We pull the copper You'll know what you need when it slips by but I'm not looking back for the rest of my Get up like I never fucking got up before And I get it like I never fucking got it before You'll see how dark once they hit the light know what I've made from the marks on my hands Get up like I never fucking got up before And I get it like I never fucking got it before Python wings, viper claws I been breaking all types of laws Diamond teeth, steel cut jaws Got raised by fightin' dogs Been around the block so many times Can't find my house Wanna fit the earth in the palm of my hand but it keeps on bustin' out Father figure, figure 8, motherland turned motherboard Satellite-ville fly the flag of the HD SMPTE color bars Plasticine, whole world building outward Second Life, no cheats for the first Warp Whistle level up out the gutter All hunger no thirst No thirst No thirst No thirst No thirst No thirst No thirst No thirst All hunger no thirst You'll see how dark once they hit the light but I'm not looking back for the rest of my Get up like I never fucking got up before And I get it like I never fucking got it before - Can I get just a little bit more here? Now the candle's in the window and it's open We watch the flames duke it out With every gust and we're hoping No it must just burn To the bottom of the wick It's the bottom of the 5th and that shit is still burning We're still turning every table when it's needed Not laying there defeated (no) we draw our bows back repeatedly Then off with the arrows And the Gods, and the Pharaohs From the bottom of our hearts We're from the bottom of the barrel Cause peril knows no bounds And terror won't slow down But there's a whole low down of beauty to be shown now We broke ground And broke our backs stacking bricks We never broke our promises You'll never know just half of it We're adamant on building every wall and stair sturdy And when our work is done Then we'll call our shares worthy In the land of milk and honey We're too shy to say we're thirsty We just make a little money and we... We buy a little mercy No more my lord No more my lord Lord I'll never turn back No more my lord Now the candle's in the window and it's open We watch the flames duke it out With every gust and we're hoping No it must just burn To the bottom of the wick It's the bottom of the 5th and that shit is still burning If you welcome every trespass Then every tramp's a guest Give what they would take from you Then every theft's a gift Hold too tightly to what's in your hands or in your chest And the future, it won't open Palm readers can't work fists Broken bones are stronger for the breaking No, the danger's in the bending Those concessions that you never can take back Curl you round a cane you're still intact But not quite lame Better to grit your teeth Ready the cast and let it snap We're always first to come in We're running when we hit the ground We never do leave early Stand sentry at the lost and found We just make a little money and we... We start that long walk into town Where we buy a little mercy No more my lord No more my lord Lord I'll never turn back No more my lord So no more talk about the backfires This time we fire back Light a match and light the past up before it catches up We'll raise a mast and cast off Yeah, we'll break some legs, we'll mend em And then we'll take the casts off We've had our losses We've had our victories We've sat across from every victim of our misery That pounding in our chests Was just a symptom of our sympathy We'll lay ourselves to rest With both our winnings and our injuries We're so hungry We're so thirsty I'm gonna hunt until it hurts me And it hurts me... And it's aching We're aching... We're so thirsty We're gonna make a little money and we'll... We'll buy a little mercy No more my lord No more my lord Lord I'll never turn back No more my lord Cause in this land of milk and honey we're too shy to say we're thirsty We just make a little money and we buy a little mercy Now the candle's in the window and it's open We watch the flames duke it out With every gust and we're hoping No it must just burn To the bottom of the wick It's the bottom of the 5th and that shit is still burning - Hey, who's been here since like Monday, or whatever? Who got here like yesterday and you're all fuckin' fresh and ready to do this? - Wow. - Some were in the middle? Anybody? Nobody's got shit to say. I've got a little tiny problem right now. We're about to do a straight up dance party jam... - Yeah. - And you guys have been looking at us like we're a museum. Which is tight, that's cool, 'cause it seems like you're still here, you didn't leave, you're paying attention, you're having a good time that's fucking tight. But we're gonna feel like assholes dancing so fucking hard, as tired as we are, if you guys are just like... - And even if you don't know how to dance, we come with some instructional dances. For people that don't dance! - We got two real easy ones for ya. Show 'em the first one. - The first one is called 'gorilla arms. ' It's like you have a whole bunch of tissues in your pockets and shit. And you're just kinda... Or it's called 'bushwhacker' if anybody's a WWF fan in here. There you go. And then the second one... get the fucking microphone from around your neck... The second one Stev's favorite one. It's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 dance. How's it go? Go ninja, go ninja, go! Go ninja! So if you don't know how to dance, fuck it, throw your arms like that. You can do that, right? - Yeah you don't have to do shit, you don't have to move your legs...you just gotta fuckin' move. - You'll get another free drink from fuckin'... Absolut Pomegranate, whatever it is out here. - Hey yo, fuck it. Throw that thing on. Yeah, that's all right! - Kinda, kinda. Tight. - There's a handful that's just like, "I've been waiting for this all fuckin' day!" - No one will judge you, I promise. - I won't judge you either. You ready? Lungs like smoke stacks Young black terror attack Hair on their neck raised Scaring them back Keeping my Kerouac first rate They in the first grade Begging like babies Gimme gimme wah We too dirty man Shimmy shimmy ya Skinny bars, naw All cents no penny jar Snub a star, celebrity fed No meals worth mentioning, all unsettling Nihilist, anarchist, mind set reddening Need what? fuck meds All dead everything These cats on that All hail petty things Ready with the cheat I'mma beat em in they sleep As soon as the door open They hitting the floor hoping To get to the front row My shows are so lightning Where ever we go the team steadily grows Man who knows, they figure we do it right, but No one gives a fuck about shit So fuck your shit, we fuck shit up Cause shit's fucked anyway Shit is run into the ground (i know right) I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down until we come up I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down Until we come up I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down It ain't nothing but a Doomtree Goon thing Get your face peeled off homeboy Uday Hussein, barehanded, ripping them Beware citizen, terror got a new face Class war hooligan Gimme what you got, show me what you want Let me fix your market crash your stock Bad credit, no credit, should've never paid back Banks selling guns and farmers hunting grey slacks Maybach's chopped off mounted with the Gatling Beverly Trillbillies treasure trunk rattling We setting up Fight Clubs, you hang at night clubs Passing out cocktails the kind that light up Everybody in the back get risky Burn the club down if you're spending more than fifty And if we ugly up the scene? (Yeah right) I don't wanna think about it I just wanna Get Down! until we come up I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down until we come up I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down Say yeah Say yeah Say yes! - All right! Early afternoon SXSW is killing it right now! Let's just try to get a bounce goin'! Come on, one, two, three get the fuck up! I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down I don't wanna think about it I just wanna get down - Hey, we're Doomtree. Thank you guys so much for hanging out with us. New record 'All Hands. '
Wings and teeth. No two symbols couldve been better chosen to represent Minneapolis rap stalwarts Doomtree. The endlessly innovative crew/label has defied categorization from the start, leaving behind convention for whats best described as aggressive transcendence. Through a tireless work ethic, take-noprisoners production, lyrics that never shy from truth, and an always shifting stylistic mix, this family has carved out an elevated corner unto itself. And like most families, as well as the imagery this one employs, Doomtree is as defined by its internal differences as its similarities: Seven artists whose diversity of tastes and consistency of character combine to make the team an unstoppable, honest, creatively vicious whole.
Its unsurprising then that Doomtrees origins are a decade deep, dating back to 2001 when a handful of friends fresh out of high school hatched a plan to make a life out of the passion thatd carried them that far. Handmade CD-Rs (the start of their cult-beloved False Hopes series) and local shows (echoed by the annual Doomtree Blowout festival today) evolved into a proper business and respectable home base. In the time since, P.O.S, Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger have become stars in their own right, but no matter where their careers take them (poetry books, the Gayngs super-band with Bon Iver, records with Rhymesayers, Strange Famous and Frenchkiss), they always come home.
While 2008's full-crew album Doomtree functioned as a group manifesto and (re)introduction to each members particular charms, 2011 was all about claiming what was already theirs. As rap, flush with new blood, began to get wild again, Doomtree reminded us that theyve been doing it for a decade, fusing punks explosive energy with hip-hops heady swagger. The WUGAZI mixtape 13 Chambers, mashing Fugazi classics with Wu-Tang bangers, was a perfect palate cleanser for the groups strikingly ambitious No Kings LP. Ready to break new collaborative ground, they stocked up on booze and sandwich fixings, retreated to a Wisconsin cabin and stayed there till theyd created something bold, beautiful and hard.
The title of the record is both a call for rebellion and respect: Obey no kings, seek no thrones. Indeed No Kings displays a gang of friends who are fearless in each others company and beholden to none. At times musical and lush (Beacon) and at times dark and clanging (Bolt Cutter), the beats project the radical power of P.O.S, the inventive classicism of Cecil Otter, the moving moodiness of Paper Tiger and the face-melting heat of Lazerbeak. Meanwhile, Mike Mictlan and Sims trade lithe lines with much swagger over smashing drums on Punch-Out, Otter and Dessa get bluesy on top of the mournful guitar of Little Mercy, and P.O.S leads the amped-up charge for Bangarang, which celebrates ten years in our lane.
Both fun and fierce, blade-flashing and uplifting, unpredictable and unapologetic, No Kings is the sound of seven people who look different, talk different and listen to different music coming together and simply going full-tilt on an album from start to finish. Wings and teethits the Doomtree way.