Interview: Young Thug's Sisters Dolly and Dora Talk About Their Feature on 'I'm Up'

Young Thug's sisters detail their unlikely feature on his latest project, 'I'm Up.'

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Complex Original

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The notoriously guarded Young Thug has been a sort of enigma in the music industry over the past few years, choosing to let his songs do the talking for him. In recent weeks, however, he's become much more open in interviews about his life and his past, breaking down a small part of the wall that has kept him a mystery to new and long-time fans. One constant in his life has been his very close relationship with his 10 siblings, notably his sisters Dorothea (“Dora”) and Alexis (“Dolly”) Grier, who are present in almost every vlog and music video that he’s put out in the past year.

The world finally got to hear the two sisters steal the show on “Family,” a song on Thug’s recently released EP, I’m Up. While many may have given the tracklist a cursory glance, seen their names and rolled their eyes, the sisters ended up with one of the most notable appearances on the whole project. We caught up with Dora and Dolly to talk about growing up with Young Thug, recording with their brother, and if they want to do a TV show.

I'm curious, what was Thugger like as a kid?
Dora: I don’t call him Young Thug. I call him Jeff. We have the same mom and father. We did everything together. Our mom had 11 kids, but being the two young kids, we experienced a lot of things together. He used to be very quiet around people that he didn’t really know, but he was also a comedian. Anything anybody would say, he’d always make a joke [out of it]. He was always the smart little kid. My father and my mom spent a lot of time teaching us stuff. We even made a theme song about the United States and seven continents, so we would always rap the States [together].

Dolly: Our relationship was good, fun, stressful, and very complicated because the situation we had to go through [growing up with a single mom]. We always looked out for each other, and we’re still like that to this day. We’re very family oriented, so it was always fun. We stuck together and defend each other. 

You and Dora are the only two sisters that a lot of people see. What’s it like traveling and touring with Thug now that he’s famous?
Dolly: It’s fun because I get to meet people like you. Coming from the hood, the ghetto, the projects, it’s just so heartwarming. It’s like a blessing from the sky. We really appreciate him and the outstanding work he does to get that experience in life. Now we’re able to put on our resume like, “Hey, yo, we’ve been to such and such, we went here, we had so much fun, got great experiences, met new people.” To know that there’s whole world outside where we’ve ever been, you know what I’m mean? It’s a great opportunity that he’s given us, and we really, really highly appreciate that from the bottom, inside, upside down.

What’s the craziest thing you guys have seen on the road with him?
Dolly: The Rodeo tour. Oh my God, we had so many experiences. It was the best tour.

Dora: We were going through the border between Arizona and Mexico, and we’ve never had the experience to actually go through the border and actually have to get out of our tour bus. We had to stand out on the road, and we got searched upside down just to make sure we didn’t have any illegal activities going on. I remember it was like 100-and-something degrees, and I think one of the officers noticed that [Thug] was an entertainer, and Thug used his powers. He was like, “Yo I got that asthma. I really gotta get out of the sun." And the officer got him up and left the rest of us standing in the hot burning sun, and put him inside a little club house they had. And we were like, “Really?"

It was funny because with everything going on in the world—with the police being violent against black men—we got to see an officer who’s not colored get him water and [bring] him out of the sun. The officers of our own color just didn’t give a fuck. They didn’t care who he was or how he was doing. They were just like, “Y’all gonna stand here, and y’all gonna get burned till we got done.” It was the officer who wasn't [black] who really came out of his personality of [his job] at the moment and was like, “I’m gonna help you out. I’m gonna walk you over here, and I’m gonna get you some water.” It was a good experience because Jeff don’t miss the police at all. He don’t care nothing about the police. For him to actually see an officer who didn’t try to use his fame against him was really cool.

Dolly: My favorite experience was probably when we went to New Orleans with [Birdman]. We got to experience where he grew up, and we loved that. We went to a casino, and it had a club, it was so fun. It was a great experience to see where another person came from and how they grew up.

Thug just released I’m Up last week, and you guys are on the song “Family.” How did that song come together?
Dolly: Dora and I were in the studio with Jeff and a couple of his friends while we’re debating on who’s going to the NBA Finals, and he was playing the beat. The beat played like, 100 times. We were like, “If you play the beat one more time....” We actually did the song in his house studio before, but it can’t be released because it was a feature [for another artist working with Jeff], and we were just playing on it. We decided to get up from the studio room and go into the recording room, and we were just drinking.

Did you guys freestyle it, or did you write the verses before?
Dora: We really freestyled! Being around Jeff, we really picked up a lot of his style when it comes down to rapping.

Dolly: It’s not hard for us to hear a beat and just freestyle on it because we are around him all the time, and we see him do it.

Dora: Right. We were hyping each other up, like I would say something, and she would say something, and I’m like, “Alright, I’m gonna ad-lib your verse, and you ad-lib mine.” Or we’d just switch it up. It’s like our second recorded song, and the engineer guy was like, “What are you doing? Record it!” He recorded it the whole time, and we really didn’t know. We thought he was kidding and just sitting behind his computer but not recording it. And he played the whole entire song, and we heard it and just started dying.

Dora: I think I had like 50 shots. I didn’t wanna sit down. I was into the mood.

Dolly: We had fun. We make our studio time really fun.

Dora: Yeah, we invite our friends to have fun with us. When we were sitting there, we were enjoying life. When I would start playing [the song], I was like, “Dolly, stop playing!” We were helping each other out, adding words to our verses and stuff. Once we got done and Jeff walked into the room, he was like, “What the fuck?” When we played the song back, he was like, “Pull it up, I gotta get on it,” and he asked the producer to add more beat on it. We were just looking at each other like, “Wow.”

Did you guys know it was going to be on the project?
Dora: We were so surprised because we were with him every day. For us to know that our song was going to be on there, it was surprising because every other day he had another tracklist. Throughout the day, he never said he was going to put “Family” on there. When the mixtape came, and we got on Periscope, the fans were like, “Yo, we just heard ya’ll 'Family' song!” And we were like, “Huh?” We both bought the mixtape, and we go down the list, and we see “Dolly and Dora” on the tracklist. We just burst into laughter. It was a super exciting experience to wake up the next day and know that we did a song.

I heard you guys helped him come up with the “Sheesh!” ad-lib.
Dora: That came from us joking. If you have no sense of humor, you would not stand us. We have so much fun, we laugh a lot, and we joke a lot, we play a lot. We used to sit at home before he became a superstar. We used to sit in the middle of our floor in the living room and crack jokes.Every time someone [got a good joke] we would all say,“That’s a bar, sheesh!” Then somebody would have to come and say another joke, and we’re like, “Now that’s a bar, sheesh!” We would always make something into a joke. Even if you were serious, like if you came into our house and said, “Man, I just got chased by 60 dogs,” we’d still be like, “Ha! Bar! Sheesh!”

Do you guys have plans to do any other songs?
Dolly: I don’t really know because [Dora and I] have other things that we’re trying to do. You never know.

Dora: It’s gotta be spur of the moment like last time. That’s up to him. He’s the artist. We have fun, and that was like a really fun song that turned into something. Man, it’s a blessing to make music. I actually do a lot of acting and fashion and designing and stuff, so I’ve been trying to focus a lot on that. I guess the music part would just come when I’m bored. And Dolly, she’s been doing acting, but she will probably do entertainment.

Dolly: I like to rap, so you’ll probably hear more from me

Dora: I think she really would do rapping. I think that’s her swag, her lingo.

Have you guys considered doing a TV show?
Dora: We got the offer up for a TV show. We’re only interested in doing a TV show if it’s all about us and our life. We don’t want too much of someone to write for us and make us do these outside things that don’t really [represent] our life because our life is realistic. My brother wants the same thing. We spoke about this with him a week and a half ago, and he was telling [Lyor Cohen] the same thing: “I would want them to do a reality show, but I want it to be based off of them because they’re funny people on their own. I don’t want to have them out here fighting.”

No Kardashian stuff?
Dora: Well, I can’t really say no Kardashian because the Kardashian show is their life. The majority of it is their life, but it’s too much of their life now, but that’s just because of today’s world with technology and fans who want to see more. That show actually grew with them, and that show is about them. You don’t see them on there actually fighting people like Love & Hip-Hop. I could never be on Love & Hip-Hop, and it’s the same for Dolly. We don’t want that image of us wanting to destroy people. That’s not what we want to do because we came from that, and all of our lives we had to fight. I’m really interested in doing a show about me. What about you Dolly?

Dolly: I feel the same.

Thug mentioned you eating Lucky Charms on “Best Friend.” Is that your favorite cereal?
Dora: That is my favorite cereal. [Laughs.] That’s so funny that he put that in the song. But he loves cereal too!

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