It’s really nothing to do on a Tuesday night in Detroit—like, for real—nothing to do. But tonight, Payroll and the rest of his Doughboyz Cashout brethren are acting as tour guides (and might I add, gracious hosts) for the SooDetroit staff. They’re really eager to set off the night’s festivities—a night that includes: taking a trip to Detroit’s west side for a recording session.

Much to the surprise (or curiousness) of the SooDetroit staff, the studio in question, isn’t located in a building at all. When questions arise about the precise location of the recording studio, the staff is quickly informed by the group, that the studio is located in a house—a bedroom to be exact, that doubles as a makeshift studio whenever the need for inspiration strikes.


The group happily previews new music from their upcoming Bylug World mixtape (Bylug being an acronym for Boss Yo Life Up Gang). For months, fans have been clamoring for new material from the guys. This mixtape, in a way, serves as their form of a peace offering to fans to silence the agitation. Most of the gang is here, but noticeable in their absence, are members Big Quis and Kiddo.

Studio foam covers the doors and parts of the wall—to filter out the unnecessary noise that could occur during the recording process. Payroll Giovanni steps to the mic, donning a black t-shirt, with his trusted cell phone in hand. He puts headphones over his signature, freshly-braided cornrows that cover his scalp and motions for the engineer to begin. This is routine for Payroll Giovanni. It’s just another day—actually, night—in the life for a Doughboy.

They wanted to buy it, and we said, “Shit, we might as well sell it. I think this can do something.”

The next day, I call Doughboyz Cashout’s manager, Chaz, for a scheduled phone interview with Payroll. Chaz and Payroll have been best friends since first grade, and when Doughboyz music began to circulate around the city, it was a no-brainer on who the manager of the group would be. “What up, Curt?”, says Chaz. “I’m about to get Payroll on the line.” Payroll isn’t much of a talker—he’s very laid back and chill in real life. It’s a marked contrast of how Payroll is through song. But today, he’s set to talk to me for the next half-an-hour or so, about music, haters, and basically, just life in general.

What have you been up to since the release of Stack Season?

Um, just really working hard. I got another solo project in the works—we ‘bout to drop a Bylug compilation, on October 9th. Working on movies—just [a lot] of everything. I got my hands in everything.

payroll-giovanni-cover-story-7I seen that you dropped a web series called Giovanni’s Way. What inspired you to do that? 

Yeah, the Giovanni’s Way, I was basically just recording a day in the life of what I was doing. I had a lot going on that day and I said, “We might as well record it.” It’s gonna be a lot more coming, you know?  I kinda put Giovanni’s Way on pause for the Bylug compilation. Right after Bylug World drop, that’s when I’ma get back to Giovanni’s Way.

Back to the album though, were you satisfied with the reception of Stack Season?

Yeah, most definitely. It reached the Billboard [charts], so I wasn’t complainin’. For it to reach Billboard with no promotion, I was geeked about that. People still talking about it like it just came out, and it came out last winter. They stamped it a classic, so I’m happy with it.

Honestly, I thought it was your best body of work.

I appreciate that. I was trying to top Get Money Stay Humble, but really, I don’t be tryin’ to think of my other projects when I do projects because I don’t wanna do the same thing [as last time].

I feel you. It’s all about progression. Now let’s go back to the beginning of all this. What made you want to start rapping in the first place?

We was rappin’, in like, high school—just playing around, really. [We were] just making music for us to listen to when we were riding around and pulling up to parties and shit. A lot of people got to hearing it and they took it serious—like, more serious than we did. They wanted to buy it, and we said, “Shit, we might as well sell it. I think this can do something.” We then put out one mixtape, nah, we really put out a single [first]. We performed it all around the lil’ high school parties.”

What single was that?

“Floodin’ Wit Ice”. We already had a following. We already had fans, groupies—all that. We might as well rap and sell something, shit.

[Laughs.] Right. Hey, I read somewhere that you used to rap over Cash Money instrumentals back in the day. Is that true?

Yeah, yeah. [Cash Money] came out with Platinum Hits Instrumentals.

I remembered when that dropped.

Me and my man bought it, and we rapped over every beat on the CD. Everybody in my hood was listenin’ to it and was lovin’ it. My mans was in high school at the time, [and] I was in middle school. He was going to school rappin’ and shit, and niggas in high school thought he was sweet, and I thought I was cold, because a high school nigga [was] feeling a middle school nigga, I thought that meant a lot.