WHOLLY HOLY Sun worshipper B. Dolan.
Mission accomplished for B. Dolan on his latest release, House of Bees Vol. 2 (Strange Famous Records) — he set out to "shatter all expectations conjured by the word 'mixtape.' " The spoken word maestro and veteran wordsmith delivers the best of both worlds here; whether taking a sociopolitical stance or spitting braggadocio in a classic B-Boy stance, B. Dolan rhymes with unrivaled fervor. Pair that with go-to UK producer and frequent SFR collaborator Buddy Peace (who also worked the boards for 2009's House of Bees Vol. 1), as well as guest verses from Strange Famous CEO Sage Francis, and the result is another top-shelf SFR production.
"Still Here" opens the album and it's clear Dolan hasn't lost a step lyrically since 2010's breakthrough Fallen House, Sunken City; he has a confident flow that SFR deemed "venomous and vulnerable, playful and possessed." Dolan booms over a crisp, Middle Eastern-spiked beat: "You can kill the man but never the idea/Comin' to you live from the ear of fear." On "King Bee" he addresses "manufactured swag" and "hipster backlash," coming in with the lines, "What up, I invented ugly, I keep it all to myself — nobody touch me." The first single, "Film the Police" (Dolan remains outspoken regarding the Occupy movement), finds him, Francis, Toki Wright, and journalist/activist Jasiri X jumping on Buddy's reconstruction of the N.W.A classic, which picked up a full head of steam when Dolan released the video late last year. Dolan and Francis team up for the spirited 2.5-minute cut "2 Bad" (with a nice Ghostface sample chopped in the hook), and B. rips a hook-free "100 Bars for SFR," a personal favorite here that Andrew Martin of go-to indie blog potholesinmyblog.com referred to as "a heavy, personal, and stunning display of raw lyricism." Dolan salutes Golden Era greats throughout: "I am tryin' to shatter stages like Daddy Kane did/If it sound like good shit it must be Strange Famous." Live versions of Fallen House tracks "Leaving NY" and "The Hunter" are also included on House of Bees Vol. 2.
Head to strangefamousrecords.com now and pick up the disc or MP3 download.
B. Dolan is the ringmaster/headliner for the 2nd Annual Church of Love and Ruin, a carnival-meets-lyrical crusade featuring an insanely diverse lineup including Pittsburgh rhyme duo Grand Buffet (fresh off a three-year hiatus), Sage Francis, Juan Deuce and Falside (the future of PVD hip-hop right here), What Cheer? Brigade (the backing band on Dolan's "Border Crossing") and Wheelchair Sports Camp, which received some great press from the Boston Phoenix's Chris Faraone last week. As Faraone pointed out, prior to Dolan's traveling Church "there was no singular spectacular at which curious fans could ingest eclectic rhyme and dance styles mixed with marching-band hysterics and a harem of transvestites." And if the show is as entertaining as the Church trailer with host Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, then holy shit — prepare for some off-the-wall mayhem on Saturday at the Met. In addition to the four Northeast dates, the festival will hop the pond for a string of UK shows in September.
B.Dolan has kept in touch via email over the last few weeks and pointed out "the inclusion of LGBT performers and musicians with a hip-hop crowd," noting "this is a huge gay-straight alliance event in a genre that is rife with homophobia."
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