Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2015

video review: 'kill the wolf' by b. dolan

And I'm glad to have this out of my system. Tough review to write, but definitely worth it.

And next... whoo boy, the descent into the abyss... and unfortunately not the Chelsea Wolfe kind, although that's coming too. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

album review: 'kill the wolf' by b. dolan

Let's talk a little about poetry.

Now you'd think this would be a concept that gets discussed more frequently in hip-hop culture, but it's a lot less common than you'd think that you could describe rappers as poets with a straight face. Putting aside the technical considerations - which tend to be fluid with poetry anyway - that label, fairly or not, tends to imply a level of writing sophistication that hip-hop can occasionally fall short of, especially in the mainstream and especially nowadays with the greater focus on production over lyricism.

But if you start digging deep into the underground, you'll actually find a fair few artists who have an established background in a more literary circle, and it shouldn't surprise many people that a few of these poets I'd also identify as some of my favourite rappers, like Dessa or Sage Francis. And if you want to go even deeper, you need to talk about B. Dolan, rapper and spoken word artist from Rhode Island, affiliated with Sage Francis and who broke into the scene in 2008 with the harrowing and absolutely fascinating record The Failure. And for a hip-hop traditionalist, The Failure is far from an easy listen - the beats and production is minimal, much more focused on the words themselves, and when they are there it's abrasive and nasty as hell. And yet the bars themselves earn that harrowing production, an incendiary record targeting politics, religion, and philosophy with naked abandon that chars everyone in its path, including B. Dolan himself.

And thus it's not exactly surprising that his 2010 record Fallen House Sunken City was a slightly more conventional hip-hop record in terms of its construction - still politically charged, still with abrasive and nasty production, still with fiery and intense wordplay... but I dunno, it didn't quite have the same unbelievable moments of visceral intensity that came with songs like 'Kate' and 'Joan Of Arcadia' and 'Skycycle Blues' with the sole exception being the haunting story track of 'Marvin' about the death of Marvin Gaye. Worse still were the elements of conspiracy theory nonsense creeping into his material on tracks like 'The Reptilian Agenda' - yeah, I appreciate the shots at Cheney and Bush as much as anyone, but that Illuminati horseshit is patently ridiculous when a far more dispiriting and honest explanation is that people are lazy, stupid, overwhelmed, or incompetent, stuck in venial sins than grand conspiracies - think The Wire instead of House Of Cards.

But even beyond that, I was in the mood for some hard-edged politics, and right now, rap has all the more reason to get political, so how does Kill The Wolf turn out?