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redeyechicago.com

Q&A: The Whoevers

By Andy Downing

RedEye special contributor

1:59 PM CST, November 27, 2013

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In spite of the Whoevers’ relatively anonymous moniker, the hip-hop duo of Lloyd "Dotkom" Dotdot and Jesse “J. Arthur” Manaois is slowly starting to make a name for itself.
 
The pair, who met in 2009 while attending school at Northern Illinois University, recently recorded an infectious new album, “Ridin' Waves,” and will celebrate its release with the biggest show of its young career: a headlining gig at Lincoln Hall on Friday, Dec. 6. Even so, in a recent phone interview the two MCs sounded as though they were just getting started.
 
“I think we're still figuring things out right now,” said J. Arthur, 26, of Humboldt Park.
 
The rapper and his musical partner-in-crime Dotkom, 27, of Berwyn, went on to discuss the corniest line they've ever dropped on a woman, the unique skill set each brings to the group and which of the two would win in a game of 21.
 
Did it feel strange to release an album called “Ridin’ Waves” when you live hundreds of miles from the closest ocean?
Dotkom: [Laughs] Yeah, but with the title “Ridin’ Waves” we’re also referring to life as well. It has its ups and downs, metaphorically speaking. Almost everything you go through in life seems like a wave, whether it be going through a tough time at home or something else. Even like sound waves, riding beats. It hits on a lot of things.
 
Have you ever been surfing?
Dotkom: No, I wish!
J. Arthur: I’ve been to Hawaii but I didn’t have a chance to surf. I probably would have gotten knocked off [the surfboard].
 
You’re donating a portion of the proceeds from the Lincoln Hall show to the typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. Why did that event strike such a chord with you?
J. Arthur: Both of us are Filipino, and we felt like it was important to give back to our motherland.
Dotkom: I was born there. I moved to America around ’93, so I lived there for almost seven years. Since then I’ve been back maybe three [or] four times. I haven’t spent much time there, but I could still see the hardships. I’d see five-year-old kids out there selling cigarettes trying to make [money]. It’s crazy. It’s like they had so little, and now they have nothing.
 
You drop the line "I'm not the type to tuck my shirt in" on "Mean." Have you ever had a job where you were forced to wear a uniform?
Dotkom: Oh, all the time. Being in the school environment [Ed. note: Dotdot is a teacher] I always have to watch what I say and what I talk about. I even post my music in private ... because I think the education system takes hip-hop the wrong way nowadays. People are exposed to what they hear on the radio, but they never really hear what’s going on beneath the surface. We live and breathe this, and all they’re exposed to is what’s easy to see. We have a deeper understanding of what the music represents.
 
Is there a sense you each bring something unique to the group?
J. Arthur: Oh, for sure. Dotkom is definitely the super MC of the group. I do a lot of the production, and I do a lot of the singing as well.
Dotkom: People always describe us as the yin and yang. My voice is higher, and my flow seems to be faster, so people see me as the crazy guy, I guess. Jesse brings that smooth, cool substance to the group. We’re two different things, but personality-wise we’re the same people. We’re both Pisces, we laugh at the same jokes and musically the connection has always been there.
 
There are a bunch of basketball references scattered throughout the album. Between the two of you, who wins in a game of 21?
Dotkom: I’d probably win, man [laughs].
J. Arthur: I don’t know about that. I’d give him a run for his money.
Dotkom: I’ve definitely got the better [jump shot]. I’d put money on that.
 
On “Sooner or Later” you talk about approaching a girl in the club. What’s the corniest line you’ve ever dropped?
Dotkom: Oh man, dude.
J. Arthur: So many.
Dotkom: I remember the first time I tried hitting on a girl — she’s my girlfriend now, by the way — but the first time I met her I said, “Do you want to go out with me?” And she said, “I don’t even know you.” And I said, “Well, get to know me!” And she kind of got scared and ran away [laughs]."
J. Arthur: I can’t really recall anything in particular right now. I just know the ladies treat me very, very well.

The Whoevers, 9 p.m. Dec. 6 at Lincoln Hall, $10-$12
 
Lloyd “Dotkom” Dotdot and Jesse “J. Arthur” Manaois personality test
What's the last album you bought?
Dotkom: It was Kanye West and Jay Z’s “Watch the Throne.”
J. Arthur: I bought “Yeezus” back when it got released in June.
Song you've listened to on repeat recently?
Dotkom: The new Schoolboy Q joint that just dropped.
J. Arthur: I have Toro Y Moi’s "Anything in Return” on repeat. It’s one of my favorite albums this year.
Song you never want to hear again?
Dotkom: That Miley Cyrus Jordan song [“23”].
Best concert you've seen in the last year?
J. Arthur: We saw Master P at SXSW, and that was crazy
Dotkom: R. Kelly shut it down at Pitchfork. He was singing funny random madeup lyrics. He can perform.
Favorite movie ever?
J. Arthur: Mine would have to be “City of God.”
Dotkom: I was just about to say that!
Chicago's best music venue?
Dotkom: We performed at the Hard Rock, and that was pretty awesome.
J. Arthur: I’d have to say Lincoln Hall right now.