Features March 27, 2024

Doogie Brings Da Funk to G-Town

by Kasey George Smith

Ivan Cervantes has lived in Greeley all his life. He spent summers cruising around the pavement slopes of Northern Colorado on his bike, finding the best spot to take in that perfect Colorado sunset. Car rides with his dad were cooled off by the G-funk stylings of Dr. Dre. The electro-funk band Zapp and Roger floating on the airwaves and out the open windows. “The perfect summer day,” says Doogie (Ivan); that’s what he wants his listeners to revel in when they hear his name and bump his music. The name Doogie was just a childhood nickname given to Ivan by his grandpa. Now, Ivan’s working hard to make that name mean something, and after noticing the waves he’s making in Greeley’s hip-hop scene, Bandwagon sat down to interview him on the latest Episode of The Doogie Podcast.

Doogie dropped his debut single, “Young Samurai” on January 1st, 2023, marking a consistent stream of content and music. While he certainly fits the category of ‘new artist,’ his early 90’s G-funk style has the polish of a veteran in the game. Guided by his “rap big brother,” Steelo Bass, Ivan navigated the local hip-hop scene and cultivated the sleek sound of his music today. His musicianship is rooted not only in his parents’ favorite songs, but also in the influence of his mentor, Rick Solis, who played guitar in the band Ivan’s mother sang in. “He taught me what it means to be Chicano and the importance of pride in music and culture,” explained Ivan. That pride is a primary ingredient in the Boom Bap lyrical concoctions of new-school/old-school hip-hop Doogie serves up on the regular. A pride that extends beyond himself, or his music, that he wants the community of Greeley to unify and rally behind. His words put it best: “East side, West side – it doesn’t matter what side you live on because we’re all in the same city. The city itself is what matters and you should take pride in that.” 

The songs “Impalarado” and “D-Funk” are love letters to Greeley or ‘G-Town,’ as locals like Ivan call it. These anthems compel listeners to embrace their city in all its obscure glory. They are odes to G-town that evoke the sunny nostalgia of mobbing around the city with friends, joking, singing all the words to favorite songs, and dancing like nobody is watching– adolescent bliss. The upbeat rhythm of “D-Funk” is hypnotizing. The groovy old school vibe of “Impalarado” vividly captures the essence of the city. With references to Friday Fest, the Ice Haus and Moxi Theater, it’s no surprise that Doogie just freestyled the opening lyrics while driving down 8th Avenue. “Groovin’ on the dance floor at the Moxi, isn’t just a lyric, but a memory of the experience Doogie gave fans last month, opening for Joey Cool on February 24th.

“I bring as much energy as I can. I feel it in my heart. I don’t care how many people are there, as long as I can look them in their eyes, I have some homies on stage with me and we can all just vibe.”

In Doogie’s musical repertoire, his feel-good tracks come just as often as ones delving into themes like the eternal battle between good and evil, or the imperative search for spiritual guidance in moments of crisis. A series of singles depict the epic journey of a young samurai battling the demonic forces of a treacherous domain with the wisdom and guidance of his shogun master. Ivan’s flow in these songs are as fierce as the samurai’s blade. The young samurai, another hip-hop pseudonym of Ivan’s, is relentless in his quest to vanquish evil. In the same way, Ivan is relentlessly passionate in all his creative endeavors. That passion is, again, unmistakable in his dedication to his relationship with God, portrayed in the song “Trust in the Lord.” Recounting a moment of emotional and mental turmoil, he shares how, by divine chance he opened his Bible, “and the first thing I look at is, ‘Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ …it hit me like a brick and my eyes started watering.” The moment served as a simple but profound reminder that in periods of uncertainty he can rely on God and doesn’t need to navigate everything on his own.Ivan is a proud Chicano, loyal to the city and music scene he came up in. Where many Coloradoans see Greeley as a smelly cowtown with a west side expanding from oil money, he sees an inspirational place ripe with art, culture, and community– a city that he’s proud to represent, with a robust music scene where he’s determined to make his mark. Check out Doogie’s new EP, “Bring Da Funk” and catch one of his live shows this summer. While you might notice a thick layer of funk blanketing Greeley, it won’t be the smell of agriculture, instead; it emanates from the speakers of wherever Doogie is cruisin’.