Posted tagged ‘b. dolan’


January 31, 2011

Goodbye 'Miracle' Year!

Well, it’s the end of January and that means it’s time for one last look back at everything else that happened in 2010. These ten lists should fill you in on everything else that happened in the past calendar year so now that all the interesting things they’ve influenced will begin getting released in February, you’ll have some frame of reference. Let’s just jump right in!

Top 5 Rap Albums

5) Shad – T.S.O.L.
4) Danny Brown – The Hybrid
3) Curren$y – Pilot Talk
2) Earl Sweatshirt – Earl
1) Dez & Nobs – Rocky Dennis

Top 5 Non-Rap Songs

5) Vampire Weekend – “Taxi Cab”
4) Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
3) Camu Tao – “Intervention”
2) Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
1) Make Out – “I Don’t Want Anybody That Wants Me”

Top 5 Lil B Tweets

5) Lil B on Fine Art.
4) Lil B on Outreach.
3) Lil B on Christmas
2) Lil B on Depression.
1) Lil B on Working with Peers.

Top 5 Tumblrs

5) Hungover Owls
4) Fake Criterions
3) Album Tacos
2) Best Roof Talk Ever
1) RealN*ggaTumblr

Top 5 Movies I Actually Saw

5) Toy Story 3
4) Inception
3) True Grit
2) The Fighter
1) The Expendables


Top 5 Best New Fast Food Items

5) Burger King’s Fire-Grilled Ribs
4) Subway’s Steak & Bacon Melt
3) New Domino’s Pizza
2) KFC’s Double Down
1) Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza

Top 5 Best New Rap Catchphrases

5) “Check”
4) “F*** Steve Harvey”
3) “H*es On My D*ck cause I look like…”
2) “Flocka”
1) “Swag” (as in #Swag 2010, the word took on a whole new meaning this year)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for Other Places

5) Rediscover: The Outsidaz, ‘The Night Life EP’ (Spectrum Culture)
4) Guilty Pleasures: Mortal Kombat (Spectrum Culture)
3) Fatbeats’ Final Friday (HHLO)
2) Top 5 Rhymes Proving Rick Ross is a Psychopath (FunnyorDie)
1) SinSin Lounge Was Source of Solace (New York Times East Village)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for PopularOpinions

5) Female Rappers in 2010: The Reality of Equality
4) ABC News – “Music + Children = MURDER!”
3) Hey Guys, Great News! ‘Avatar’ isn’t racist! (or Anti-American!)
2) Dear Caucasoids: Please Stop Using the N-Word, Especially When Ironically Covering Rap Songs.
1) Drake’s Letter to Aaliyah

Top 5 Videos

5) Celph Titled f/ RA the Rugged Man & FT – “Mad Ammo”
4) B. Dolan – “Earthmovers”
3) Homeboy Sandman – “The Carpenter”
2) Earl Sweatshirt – “Earl”
1) Insane Clown Posse – “Miracles” (Yeah, I know, but honestly no single music video has brought me as much joy in years. Plant a little seed, and nature grows)

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!


January 25, 2011

As we’ve said so far during Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza, 2010 was a pretty fantastic year for music. But many were shocked to find out last year that music actually existed outside of the internet! These music exhibitions, otherwise known as concerts, are mostly held so greedy old people can bleed other old people for cash. However, there were more than a handful of performances that were not only outstanding works of art, but ranks among my favorite moments of the year. So now join me and some grainy iPhone footage as we look back on the five best live acts I saw in 2010!

I liked the part when they did songs!

5) HOMEBOY SANDMAN (June 1st , S.O.B.’s)

Kicking off the summer right was Homeboy Sandman’s record release show at S.O.B.’s. Not only was everybody who’s anybody in New York Hip-Hop there, but at least half of the audience were real life warm-blooded supporters not afraid to have a great time. With easily hundreds of fans and friends there to celebrate the rise of The Good Sun, it was just as powerful to see Sandman make his way around the room and treat every person in attendance like the most important person there. But this is all secondary to an amazing career-spanning performance that featured as many new favorites as underground anthems the usually-fickle Manhattan crowd was happy to chant right along with. The clip above was my favorite moment of the show when I was (to my surprise) invited on-stage along with Kosha Dillz for a freestyle over Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.”

4) SAGE FRANCIS (June 25th, Webster Hall)

But as June began with the end of one career’s beginning, it ended with another’s touring career’s end. Longtime favorite of mine, Sage Francis set the final performance of his Li(f)e tour to be at New York’s Webster Hall, and it was bittersweet to be there for that last hurrah. Backed by Free Moral Agents with songs spanning from 1997 (shockingly breaking out his reinterpretation of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” from his days fronting AOI) through his entire discography and closing with “The Best of Times,” it was a great goodbye to one of the most reliable live performers in the genre as he passed the torch to labelmate B.Dolan.

3) PACE WON (September 3rd, FatBeats) / RAH DIGGA (October 21st, Sullivan Hall)

I’ve probably listened to The Outsidaz’s Night Life EP more than any other CD in my collection, but they sadly dissolved when I was 15 so I was never able to see them. It was great to fulfill a decade’s desire to finally see two of the Outsidaz family live. As unfortunate as it was to see FatBeats closing, it gave us a great week of performances, the best of which was Pace Won. Performing a dream setlist of his most known singles and Outsidaz verses, along with plenty of anecdotes in between, it was a great goodbye to the Home of New York Hip-Hop. On a much happier note, Rah Digga’s performance was the highlight of CMJ. While she also ran through her most known singles and even a medley of her posse cut verses, her set ran the gauntlet of emotions as she seamlessly wove in her new material to an absolutely captivated New York crowd.

2) THE TOILET BOYS (June 14th, Le Poisson Rouge)

During my “Punk Rawk” High School years, there was no band I wanted to see live more than the Toilet Boys. Introduced to me by their ties to Troma Studios, I was never given the chance to see the fire-breathing glam rockers live as the Great White incident pretty much ensured they would never get booked again. So imagine my surprise when longtime friend and homie Ray Willis called me on a Monday afternoon to tell me that not only were the Toilet Boys having a surprise “dress rehearsal” reunion show THAT NIGHT, but it was FREE. At a price that fit my budget perfectly, I attended and felt myself step right back into 2002. The jam was awesome. The crowd roared like a lion. It really whipped a hyena’s ass. PLUS, I caught a t-shirt. What more could you want?

1) PRINCE (December 18th, Madison Square Garden)

Not unlike Mortal Kombat II, nothing in the world could have prepared me for this. As a child of the Twin Cities, I’ve grown up with the mythology of Prince as far back as I can remember. Of course, seeing the Purple One in our shared homestate is a near-impossibility and, even then, the setlists have reportedly been mostly new material. When he announced the Coming 2 America tour, I had to see it. Absolutely spellbinding. Words cannot express what a show this was, but this setlist might help make you understand. He gave it all and we took every bit of it. A great end to a great year.

He's writing about me!

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

B. Dolan and Alias “Fallen House, Sunken City” – Album Review

March 3, 2010

"It's deeper than Atlantis."

At a time when rappers flood the market every three months with their official 80-minute-long mixtapes, the idea of a rap album being ten years in the making is unfathomable. While the actual production from-conception-to-recording on Fallen House, Sunken City took two years, MC B.Dolan has painstakingly poured a decade of emotion from things he said, did or heard about* into one ghastly nightmare of a sophomore album. While I enjoyed his first release, 2008’s The Failure, I found it not so much a rap album as an audio performance art piece. Even during its more Hip-Hop moments, the focus seemed moreso on the world Dolan was creating all his own than making a great traditional rap song. But now Dolan is back, turning his one-man show into an apocalyptic Hip-Hop vaudeville duocracy with producer Alias (“Divine Disappointment,” Sage Francis’ “Message Sent”) and inviting all to check out one of the most haunted open houses you’ll ever attend.

The album’s journey begins with Dolan’s journey ending as the autobiographical “Leaving NY” chronicles his final days in a city where a post-9/11 haze clouded a dream he once had and forced his return to Rhode Island. From there, the album seems to stop at every small town along the way as Dolan peels the scabs off of the modern capitalist hustle (“Fifty Ways to Bleed Your Customer”) urban sprawl (“Earthmovers”) and the forgotten human face of the economic crisis (“Economy of Words”). Dolan’s performance plays as somewhat of a spiritual successor to label head Sage Francis’ album Hope as it is rich with references so well implemented that you might not even catch them within the first few listens. The difference, however, is while Sage’s sounded like a nostalgic winking-to-the-audience, Dolan’s loom like an apparition coming home to roost. Even if one doesn’t quite catch all of them, Dolan’s wordplay is enough to still make sense of what’s going on and anticipate the next hallway of horrors.

But credit for the album’s success is just as much that of producer Alias. The chemistry between the two is off the charts, giving an Ennio Morricone-vibe to the project that makes the rapper’s most profound and memorable moments inseparable from the soundscape they exists within. With Dolan’s accolades as a spoken word artist well documented, Alias utilizes his vocals’ every degree of emotion from the somber (“Marvin”) to the incidiary (“Border Crossing”) to the sadistically self-depricating (“Kitchen Sink”). It’s the first time in his nearly two-decade career that Alias has produced a full-length for someone other than himself, and the result is tremendous.

Not since the days of The Micranots has there been a rap album so politically charged without being overtly political. In a post-Bush era that saw the “conscious” sect change their rallying cry from “Bush sucks” to “everything sucks,” most rappers who claim to follow politics** feel more concerned with screaming a message they barely understand than making good rap music. I don’t need my favorite artists in any medium to agree with my personal politics, but with the craftsmanship put into Fallen House, Sunken City it becomes a moot point as I’m convinced a bizarro right-wing B. Dolan would make an album just as dope. This is mainly due to Dolan not making his politics the main selling point of the album. He’s a storyteller of the guided tour variety, a warped Clarence Oddbody showing you that the lives around you really aren’t all that wonderful. It’s only on repeat listens when you penetrate the underbelly and discover the source of the empathy this cynic is pulling out of you. These 12 tracks are great at face value, but it is infinitely refreshing that an East Coast artist in today’s Hip-Hop respects his audience enough to let them uncover the most subtle of subtleties.

I can reccommend this album if only for what an incredible first listen it is. I received it in my inbox the night after my Curtis Plum review went up and planned to only listen to a song or two before I went to bed. What resulted was me being glued to the speakers, sitting wide-eyed in front of the computer for the album’s entire 47 minute duration. The cinematic experience herein forces you to hang on to Dolan’s every word for dear life. Not since Redman’s Whut? Thee Album have I been so completely captivated by a first listen. It’s only after you collect yourself following your first encounter that you can begin to put the pieces together. The album finishes strong with the P.O.S. and Cadence Weapon-assisted “Fall of T.R.O.Y.,” where Dolan contemplates the present-state of his rap heroes (“You’re not a Soulja Boy, You’re a mercenary in a cryogenic sleep“) and “Buddy Buddy,” a scathing indictment of some of the “artists” he’s been forced to encounter over the years. The album has very few missteps in the form of a remaining vagueness in certain songs that only really surface after repeat listens, but it’s somewhat understandable with the size of the giants in the 12-song tracklisting. Fallen House, Sunken City is a powerful paranoid pulverizing piledriver of an album and makes a welcome addition to any record collection or bomb shelter.

We give Fallen House, Sunken City a Four Out of Five.

Until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*Which, if OC is reading, means first-hand AND word-of-mouth. While we’re at it: HEY GREG NICE – Dizzy Gillespie played the trumpet, HEY WARREN G – “next” is spelled “n-e-x-t,” and CAN-I-BUS – just give me a phone call as we really need to discuss your math homework.

**As opposed to the ones that, you know, actually follow politics. By that I mean those who didn’t skip their local elections to hand out the umpteenth edition of their “7/11 TRUTH – OBAMA WASN’T BORN HERE AND KILLED CHRIS BENOIT” DVD-Rs.