"Well damn DoItAll can I rock?"
About 25 years ago, Dupre "DoItAll" Kelly joined the fray of the crowded and competitive field of great rap groups of the 90s. DoItAll, his partner in rhyme Mr. Funke and DJ Lord Jazz all came under the tutelage of one of the most impactful and prolific hitmaking producers ever, Marley Marl, and rattled the streets as Lords of the Underground. Their debut, Here Come The Lords, was a relentless array of Do and Funke's signature charismatic voices blended with Marley's Jedi like Beat supervision and handiwork.
They went platinum and had five Billboard-charting singles, including "Funky Child" which went number two (French Montana incorporated the sampled horns on the record for "Shot Caller"), and their biggest song ever "Chief Rocka," which was a number one hit. While Kelly went on to dive into acting on shows such as Law &Order, Oz, and even the final episode of The Sopranos, he and the group always remained tight.
Lords—still to this day—are reaping in the benefits of their labor, performing 65-100 shows a year. While Funke and Jazz both have lived in Paris, France throughout the past few years, DoItAll has been busy in the group's hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Over the years he has curated and produced music festivals, started non-profit organizations for kids, the elderly and the rest of community, and set forth peace initiatives.
He definitely doesn't want to see gentrification in his city. He believes that if you were down with the city when it was low, you shouldn't be pushed out during its renaissance. Now on Tuesday, Election Day, Kelly steps up to the plate again as he runs for City Council in Newark. DoItAll and his childhood friend - and Newark's biggest hip-hop representative - Redman sat down with Revolt to discuss politics, change in the Brick City and getting inspired by Tupac Shakur.
Why are you running for office Do?
DoItAll: I just believe hip-hop has always been political. In the early days, we always talked about social ills. And how to get out of poverty and things of that nature. It's always been in my blood just because of hip-hop, the sum of a lot of different things. It was a conversation I had with Tupac Shakur over 20 years ago and Pac was saying 'we need to get more popular and go back out to our communities and stop the negatives. Open up banks and non-profit organizations and we may have to become elected officials so we can make changes with ordinances and laws.' That was a 20-year-old conversation. I feel out of that conversation, I had done everything we talked about except run for office. I think the people of Newark new jersey said it was time and they wanted me to be their voice.
Redman: This was something we talked about when we was young. We always talked about bringing up our community and wanting to do more for our community and our good. When Do started his non-profit 211 Media program—I'm on the board—I always said 'Do, you could be mayor.' The ground we're laying just from the non-profit made a change in the city. It made more of a change than people I seen that were in position to do it. I always told him 'bruh, you could be mayor. The great thing about being part of the team, I get to learn and I get to serve a brother, not just a brother or friend, but a person who really cares about the community and the youth and bringing them up the right way.
Do, break it down my brother. What exactly is your objective? What does it take spiritually, physically, financially to run for office?
DoItAll: I'm running for Councilman-At-Large. There are four seats for Councilman-At-Large. I'm asking for one of them in the city of Newark New Jersey. What it takes? Man, this is not an easy task. It takes money, it takes people to contribute financially. But shout out to Redman, he supported, not just as my brother and someone who's been supportive of us, he supported financially. Naughty By Nature supported financially. Every member of the group. It was a couple of people who really did their thing and supported financially. For the rest, I had to dig in my pocket. I had to sneak and go out with Lords of the Underground. Shout out to Lord Jazz and Mr. Funke. We did five to 10 days [of concerts]. I had to put some of that money back for Election Day. It's not an easy task.
You can't just at jump into politics because you think you're popular. You can't just think you're gonna win because you think you're popular. You have to do the groundwork, the footwork. You gotta put in the work with the residents. Especially with a black and brown city like Newark. They want to know what are you gonna do for them, these problems and these issues we have in the city. Thank God people such as myself, Redman, we've been putting in work for a long time for the people in the city. I've been on both sides. I've been in the neighborhood, but I've also been able to translate what's I've been getting from the people in the neighborhood to the officials.
What Power will you have if you win? What will be your responsibility?
DoITAll: I get to become one of nine council members. We're able to bring legislation to the city. That's laws, that's ordinances. We get to vote on those legislations. You need five votes in order to pass a legislation. If you don't get that, it's almost like Obama being In office and wanting to do something but can't get Congress or the senate to pass it. You can have a great idea, but if it doesn't get passed... The power I have, is having five votes you have to go the people, see what the issues are, see what the needs are, bring it back to the table and hope the rest of the council members believe in it and make it a law.
What are some of the biggest problems in Newark you want rectified?
Redman: I say one is education. How education to the youth is being treated. Another thing is having activities for the youth to get involved in. I want to open up more boxing gyms. I would like to put more activities in the park. Pull up bars. Better pull up bars. Newark might be a very urban city, but everyone there is on their fit game. Everyone there is about building themselves mentally and physically.
DoItAll: You're right though Doc. Newark has been under state control for the last 20 Years. That means the state of New Jersey handles our education instead of allowing the city of Newark to handle it. So now we've just now recived local control back. That means that Newark can finally handle their schools. But it's one stipulation, we only get monitors until 2020. 2020 is when we really get local control back. We'll be handling our school system. That's very important. You want your city to deal with the culture of the youth to live there instead of someone of the state who just pushes the money and the budget and just do what you gotta do. Now we get to have care. I believe when you love your city, you can change it. The people who love the youth, love the students are hands on.