It’s Time For a Dose of Dos

Rising Dancer, Dos, has been wowing audiences from the time he could move, and after spending the last four years as DJay Mando’s right-hand man, is ready to see where his creative talents can take him

Dos was born on Roatan, Honduras in 1997, an island positioned about 35 miles off of the Honduran coast in the Caribbean. From a young age, it was clear that Dos was born to move and dance. When Dos and his parents would pull up to family functions, it would only be a matter of time until his parents would inevitably push him to show off his new moves, much to everyone’s delight. Like so many kids growing up, Dos decided to ride the wave of confidence he got from performing in front of family into a talent show at his elementary school. Unlike most kids, Dos’s talent wasn’t a product of false encouragement in avoidance of hurt feelings. He whipped out a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance routine, and to the surprise of no one in his family, Dos won the entire talent show. For Dos, the happiness he got from walking away with the trophy paled next to the rush he had gotten while on stage, doing something that he loved in front of a supportive audience. 

Dos was five years old the first time hip-hop came across his radar. It wasn’t an entirely foreign sound for Dos, seeing as his mom bumped a lot of R&B and soul and his dad was a reggae aficionado. They ensured that from the time Dos was young, he was schooled in these three music genres whose influence in hip-hop is elemental. He was playing outside when from across the way music floated on over and began worming its way into his ears. Intrigued, Dos looked around, and saw his uncle posted up outside with a notebook working on some lyrics. “He’s a rapper down in the Caribbean, so he was hanging outside, smoking, listening to ‘Elevator’ by Outkast and writing to the beat,”Dos said. He went on,  “At first he told me to go away because he was smoking”, but there was no way Dos was going anywhere. If ‘Elevator’ was the initial tug on the line, the next song on the radio, ‘Feel So Good’ by Ma$e set hip-hops’ hook deep in Dos’ brain. In his mind, hip-hop was going to be his own lane, and someday he would play hip-hop for his kids the way that his parents shared their music with him, passing the love of music from generation to generation. It didn’t take long for Dos to start gobbling up whatever hip-hop he could get his hands on. Country Grammar was the first hip-hop album that Dos bought, which served as Dos’s introduction to the Midwest, at the time something he never knew he would need. The day he copped Country Grammar, Dos also went home with a copy of Confessions, Usher’s seminal 2004 album. Usher was a huge influence for Dos, watching the way Usher controlled the stage with his dancing, sending the audience into fits of ecstasy. That was an image that Dos could see in his own mind, only one day it would be him on stage showing out. 

After moving away from Roatan, his family settled in Zion, Illinois, a town about halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. The culture shock of going from the Caribbean to the Midwest could have knocked Dos’ mental, but it takes more than a stage change to throw a real dancer off balance. Being the outgoing, upbeat person he is, it wasn’t long until he felt right at home. “In Zion, everyone was like a family,” Dos stated, “People really gave a fuck about about each other in terms of everyone making it”. It helped that Zion was a town where high school sports brought people together like none other, making it easy for someone as naturally athletic as Dos to quickly integrate himself. As he moved into high school, Dos stayed busy constantly, between football, track, and basketball all four years, school itself, and acting in numerous plays. The experiences he had while performing on stage were some of his favorites, “When my life has taken the next step beyond dancing,” Dos said, “I want to move into acting and screenwriting”. In many ways, Zion helped to shape and mold Dos as much as Roatan. Between the real love surrounding him and the competitive atmosphere fostered from the emphasis put on sports in Zion, it was only a matter of time until Dos made his mark. 

Dos’ catalyst for putting his all back into dancing came one day in 2014. “I was dating a girl named Paris,” Dos explained, “I had stopped dancing at this point, but she told me that I should get on Vine and dance”.With all the extracurricular activities eating up most of the hours in his days, carving out time for the hours of practice he knew would have seemed like a stretch. Initially, Dos felt like she had no idea what she was talking about, and was looking for confirmation from his homies when he casually said something about it to a group of them. The response he got back, however, was almost the exact opposite of what he was expecting. “They were like yo, you can do both,” said Dos, “But honestly, I was being stubborn”. Realizing that he had nothing to lose by at least giving it a shot, Dos finally stepped down off his pedestal, recording and uploading a video of him dancing on Facebook. To Dos’ surprise, the video started making waves around town, running up over five thousand views in a single day. Not long after the first video Dos put another video up on Facebook, which while not quite as successful as the first one still did over three thousand views in its first day. As stubborn as Dos was (and is) there was no more denying what his girl had initially said to him, and with that he threw himself into dancing with an almost religious fervor. While Dos might not have been consciously aware of the 10,000 hour rule at the time, he began chipping away at the mark. Every free hour of Dos’ life was now focused on refining his ability and learning new moves/techniques, spending twelve to thirteen hours a day in his garage until he damn near ran out of sweat. One day, a while after those initial videos, Dos decided to go on Facebook Live while dancing, and had almost 500 people on the stream hanging out, watching him go crazy. It seemed like everything was going right, Dos had the support of the community, was putting in the time, and in 2016 dropped a video debuting his new dance, the “Break Ya Neck”, that went super viral. It wasn’t until 2018 that he linked up with DJay Mando, the two of them eventually meshing into a superorganism of entertainment and good vibes. 

“The years from 2015 to 2018, man, those were the years of doubt” Dos said, as the smile slipped from his face. Those years saw Dos internally struggling with himself, as he kept grinding away sunrise to sunset to sunrise practicing. For all the success he had already found, it was still on a local level, and Dos found himself questioning, “Whether or not I was trying too hard”. Social media allowed people to go viral performing what Dos saw as, “silly movements”. But here he was, legitimately dancing his ass off, not seeing anywhere near those views. “Everyone already thought I could dance,” Dos went on speaking, “It was like, why go so deep with it?”. One day in 2018, a homie of Dos’ was heading to a house party in Milwaukee, and invited Dos to come on up and have a time with him. It was a fortuitous invite, it was where Dos met DJay Mando, after Dos was going ham doing his thing dancing. Mando asked Dos to come back up for a show that he had going on a couple of weeks later at the Miramar theater. That show is locked into Dos’ memory forever. The crowd was 300-400 deep, and they were eating up his every move, as he gyrated to Mando’s musings behind the board, getting him amped up enough to stage dive for the first and only time of his dancing career. From that day on, Milwaukee had a special place in his heart, and Dos left Zion to move into his car, drive on up to the Mil and work with DJay Mando to build what is now a superstar team that has a firm hold on the Milwaukee nightlife scene. Two of the original elements of hip-hop, arguably the two that helped to start the scene, coming together is something that hasn’t been done in a long time. It’s beautiful to watch them on stage together, flowing off of each other’s energy, bringing it back to when hip-hop was comprised of people just looking to enjoy themselves in a cold world. The biggest show the two of them have done so far was in 2019 at Summerfest, when they opened up for A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie in front of almost 14,000 people. It took almost three months of planning to pull the show together, but was worth every stressful second for Dos. 

These days, Dos has moved on out of his car, having beyond established himself. He is still dancing with Mando, but has widened his vision to doing choreography and a lot of the other creative work for every one of their shows. He’s been helping teach the next generation of dancers by working with True Skool, a crazy cool non-profit in Milwaukee which works to use hip-hop to empower middle and high school students and help them through school. Dos is working on expanding his own skill set, he’s currently in the process of writing a movie which he hopes will be shot and finished by the end of summer. One of the brightest spirits I’ve had a chance to sit down with and interview, Dos is only to keep shining more and more as time goes on. Make sure to get on out to a show at the Miramar to see Dos live in action, and follow him on all his social medias to stay up to date with not only Dos, but DJay Mando as well: 

Jake Zinda

24 years old, from Wisconsin Hip-Hop Journalist @CMAG N.S.C.T.D.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s