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Your Old Droog Reveals How MF Doom, Madlib and Frank Zappa Led to the Full-Circle Moment of ‘Movie’

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Todd Gilchrist editor With “Movie,” rapper Your Old Droog is ready to make music that’s cinematic. After eight solo albums, three collaborative projects and 10 EPs, the Ukrainian-born, Brooklyn-bred lyricist has created what he characterizes as a “seminal” work, featuring gritty, sample-heavy production from the likes of underground stalwart Madlib (“DBZ,” featuring Method Man and Denzel Curry), hitmaker Harry Fraud (“A Damn Shame”) and Grammy-nominated veteran Just Blaze (the symphonic opener “Success & Power”).

As much an act of will as of hard work, Droog — whose stage name isn’t an oblique “Clockwork Orange” homage but means its translation, “friend,” literally — manifested his latest full-length both as a statement of purpose and a gesture of solidarity for listeners looking to escape their troubles. “That’s why there’s lines where I say, ‘Just because your life is fucked up don’t mean it’s got to end that way,” he explains.

Though he remained discreet about his real name (“I want to be recognized for my work”) and the complicated cultural flashpoints where his birthplace and heritage intersect, Your Old Droog spoke recently with Variety about much else in his life, especially having to do with “Movie,” what it culminates, and how it exemplifies the skill — and style — that he’s cultivated in his career. “I’m entertaining myself in the vocal booth,” he says. “A good song is a good song, whether you’re talking about girls, or fish, or whatever.” If you were a director, who would you be? I’d probably say [Quentin] Tarantino, or maybe [Martin] Scorsese.

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