Johnny Venus and WowGr8, aka Doctur Dot, better known as Atlanta’s rising hip hop duo EarthGang need to be on your radar if they aren’t already. Formed in 2008, the two friends initially gained recognition in 2010 through their first EP, the mixtape titled The Better Party, solo singles, and various festivals and show appearances. They are often compared to fellow ATL natives OutKast due to their funky style and unique approach to hip-hop music. Their efforts grabbed the attention of rap legend J Cole who would sign them to his Dreamville Records imprint in 2017. Two years later, they released their first major label debut studio album Mirrorland.
They are also the co-founders of the musical collective Spillage Village, which consist of several up-and-coming artists, including Dreamville’s JID, brothers Hollywood JB, and JordxnBryant, singers 6LACK, Mereba, and Benji. In 2021, they earned a Grammy nomination for “Best R7B Song” for their track “Collide” with Tiana Major9 from the soundtrack for the film Queen & Slim.
Their moniker came randomly
In a vintage interview with Creative Loafing, co-founder Johnny Venus revealed the name just came to him, telling the outlet, “it represents what we’re made of and why we do what we do.” He added, “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.”
They co-founded an artistic eco-system with other up-and-coming artists
While attending Hampton University, the duo established the collective Spillage Village and later approached rapper JID to join. Siblings Hollywood JB and JordxnBryant followed suit. R&B artists 6LACK, Mereba, and Benji have since been added.
Their projects include Shallow Toys For Graves, Strays With Rabies, Bears Like This, and its sequel, Bears Like This Too Much.
They have a lengthy discography
It may seem like EarthGang’s success was overnight. Still, the duo has been releasing projects for over a decade, making their first musical debut on January 26, 2010, with an EP mixtape titled The Better Part
The 1978 film The Wiz played a pivotal role in their debut album
In 2019, EarthGang sat down with Pitchfork to promote their debut album Mirrorland, and Johnny opened up about what inspired the project, telling the publication they wanted listeners to feel like they were swept away like how Dorothy, played by the legendary Diana Ross, did in the 1978 film The Wiz.
“You know when Dorothy got swept away, and she met the Munchkins? That was such a beautiful thing. You could see Quincy Jones on the piano, just playing away. It’s really colorful. It’s really dangerous. It’s really trippy. It’s literally Freaknik Atlanta in the summertime — folks riding around in cars with big rims with paint on their faces,” he explained. “Atlanta is the Land of Oz. It’s Black people just being unafraid and unapologetically creative.”
They scored a record deal after nearly ten years of hard word
EarthGang was formed in 2008 and established a solid following thanks to releasing a series of mixtapes and EPs. After several festival appearances and tour runs, their unique style and sound caught the attention of South Carolina native J Cole. The legendary emcee ultimately signed the duo to his Dreamville label.
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