By ISHEKA N. HARRISON
Only certain people know what it’s like to beat out thousands based on your freestyle skills, and Ft. Lauderdale’s Doughh is one of them. The
South Florida native works as a mail carrier to pay the bills, but he might want to think about changing his day job.
The rapper and singer, whose real name is Derian Morgan, recently out-barred almost 4,000 people from five different cities to become one of
seven semi-finalists in Verizon’s #Freestyle50 Challenge, which was a partnership between Verizon and 300 Entertainment to promote Verizon’s
7GBs for $50 offer exclusively at Walmart.
Judged on creativity, originality and talent, Doughh was flown to Atlanta to represent Miami against MCs from Raleigh, Atlanta, Washington DC and Baltimore.
Though he didn’t win the overall competition, he walked away with a phone, a year’s worth of Verizon pre-paid data, Beats by Dre headphones and the promise to be an opening act for one of 300 Entertainment’s artists, whose roster includes Fetty Wap, Young Thug and Migos.
“Miami had an interesting mix of entries, because we were getting so much creativity from different people entering the contest,” said Terri
Dixon, a representative for Verizon. “His (Doughh’s) ability to just come up with creative content and freestyle … it was his delivery that stood out the most to the execs at 300 and at the (radio) station.”
Dixon’s description isn’t surprising because even though Doughh is only 25, he’s a veteran MC. He’s been rapping since age five, but said he
really fell in love with music when he was eight after his father left.
“He moved away and we lost contact … Developing the mental toughness to say I don’t need anybody to teach me how to do anything is when I kind of fell in love with music,” Doughh told the South Florida Times.
Born and raised in the Ft. Lauderdale’s Royal Palm neighborhood, Doughh has an older sister, Krystal Buckner, whom he credits with helping him get through the tough times.
“She kind of helped mold me into a man. There were things my mom couldn’t really understand because she was a lot older and my sister was right there with me to help me along and understand,” Doughh said.
Though he won the freestyle contest for his rap skills, Doughh is multi-talented. He is also a self- taught producer, engineer, songwriter and musician who plays the trumpet, French horn and drums.
He entered Verizon’s contest after seeing 300 Entertainment’s co-founder Kevin Liles talk about it on The Breakfast Club.
“He (Liles) said he liked the idea of people freestyling their way through life and I’ve always felt that way about freestyling. It can be interpreted in so many ways, but it was the way he used it,” Doughh said.
At that moment, Doughh turned on a beat and recorded a verse in his mail truck. He thinks becoming a semifinalist was a part of God’s plan.
“Beating out all those people who entered just let me know that God has been molding me for this moment for a long time and it was destiny,” Doughh said. “I was having trouble uploading and I said you know what, I’m gon’ do it this one last time and if it doesn’t work, I’m gon’ take it as a loss.”
It worked and Doughh ended up having what he calls the best experience of his life.
“I have never been that well taken care of by someone who didn’t know me personally. Verizon, 300, everyone involved, everything was done to the T,” Doughh said. “Everything about it was great. I was just happy to be a part of it.”
Though he didn’t win the overall contest, Doughh said he got tremendous feedback from the crowd for his content.
“They were really embracing the stories that I told … They were really receptive of me being so vulnerable,” Doughh said. “I took a leap of faith and talked about Black Lives Matter and it was like a dead silence when I finished because everyone was amazed I would take that risk.”
But he said his most pivotal moment came when he was eliminated from the contest.
“As I was exiting the stage he (Liles) told me to stand next to him. Though he didn’t really say why, I took it as a moment of him seeing where I was headed in terms of actually having something going for myself and my career and to just take in that moment from the spot that he was in,” Doughh said. “To have the rest of that night to stand by such a powerful figure in music … Being right there in that inner circle, I felt like that’s where I was supposed to be.”
Doughh is currently promoting his R&B single “Don’t Lie, Don’t Cry,” which has gotten over 55,000 streams on Spotify. He’s also slated to perform at Ft. Lauderdale’s upcoming Sistrunk Festival on Feb. 25.
He’s excited for the opportunity Verizon’s contest has afforded him to welcome new fans, but his single shows a different side of him.
“With this opportunity a lot of people are interested in hearing me rap, but before this contest I hadn’t rapped in a while,” Doughh admitted. “It’s a beautiful experience for me to make it to the finals as rapper, but the music that I’m promoting right now is R&B, so it really gets people to embrace me in multiple ways.”
You can follow Doughh on social media @youuknowdoughh or visit www.youknowdough.com.