Alum Dot da Genius talks Kid Cudi, music business, value of a degree

While the hip-hop world may know him as Kid Cudi’s producer and right hand man, Oladipo Omishore, aka Dot da Genius, was an NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering student only a few years ago. 

Since graduating in 2009, Dot da Genius has received a Grammy nomination for the smash hit “Day ‘N’ Nite,” worked with Kanye West and created his own record label, HeadBanga Muzik.

DDG, who once lived in Othmer Residence Hall, said his time at NYU was tough but exciting and mentioned that his degree is his greatest accomplishment, even above his music. His future plans include production for Jhene Aiko’s next album, his own debut album and an invention that may require the minds of other Poly alumni.

WSN: In this business, college degrees are few and far between. Why did you decide to get a degree?

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DDG: My parents supported the music, very much so. They thought it was productive, and built my studio in the house, but my degree was the catch. They wouldn’t support it if I wasn’t in school.

WSN: How did you and Kid Cudi meet and wind up living together?

DDG: Ril, my manager, was working at Abercrombie and Fitch at the time, and Cudi just moved from Cleveland to New York and started working there, and they built a friendship. He played some of the music he was doing, and Ril referred him to me like ‘Yo, you should mess with my boy Dot, like he just started making music.’ I literally had just started making beats so I still wasn’t good or great, but he came to my house and we just clicked immediately, so it turned from that to us making music every week. But Cudi has been to Poly numerous times, he would come to the dorms and to basketball games, because he was living at my parent’s home, and I was living in Othmer during the week, but I would just come back and on the weekend we
would create. 

WSN: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?

DDG: My degree and my daughter. I am not the type of person who likes to shoot off their accolades, and in this field I don’t have to mention that I went to school. But when the conversation comes around and I tell people I graduated from Poly, I studied electrical engineering, they are shocked. I don’t want to say it’s insulting, but it kind of is. It’s because I’m African-American, but I like that. Whatever views and preconceived notions they might have had are gone. They’re just like ‘Really? Wow,’ and I’m just like ‘yeah take that!’

WSN: Among all of your work, which tracks have been your favorite to create?

DDG: I really appreciate WZRD looking back at it. Like there’s a lot of things that me and Cudi talk about, like what we would’ve done differently, but some of those tracks just came together so well. It was work, but it was very fluid. WZRD, The Dream Time Machine and the stuff I’ve done with Jhene. We have a lot of unique music being made right now.

WSN: Which artists and/or producers inspired you while you were
in school?

DDG: Hans Zimmer, Timbaland, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Kanye, The College Dropout came out my freshman year. So that was like ‘man, I want to be this guy at first. All of those people inspire me to keep pushing and trying to find myself through the music.

WSN:  Are you still in touch with any professors or students from your time at NYU?

DDG: I’ve been recently reaching out to a couple of my classmates who used to help tutor me, just reaching out to them. Like let’s put our minds together and see if we can come up with something and maybe invent something.

WSN: Like an app?

DDG: Not necessarily an app, it could be like a piece of hardware or some type of technology.

WSN: Any advice for current students who want to go into the music industry?

DDG: No matter how hard it gets, stick it out. It’s worth it in the sense of what it does for you in the world. But doing internships and building relationships in companies that can hire you after you graduate is probably the most important thing.

A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 28 print edition. Email Aicha Fall at [email protected]

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