Album Reviews Preview

B. Dolan

B. Dolan
Fallen House Sunken City
(Strange Famous)

There are many rappers out there who’d have you believe they have many dimensions – they’re a hustler, they’re a businessman, they’re this, they’re that – and yet the more they try to persuade you, the more contrived it becomes.

And then you have B. Dolan, a man who not only proved his worth in the spoken-word world, but also set up, a consumer activist website. Not one to rest on his laurels, he signed to Sage Francis’ Strange Famous label and tore up stages at Paid Dues and Rock The Bells – if anyone has a reason to preen and pout, it’s Bee.

Thankfully, he doesn’t fall into that trap, instead he has teamed up with Alias to deliver Fallen House, Sunken City. I must say, as much as I’m not a fan of Alias when he raps, his production has always been good, be it straight up hip hop or more chilled out stuff such as his collaboration with Tarsier, but he has taken it to a next level on this release, from the slamming boom-bap of Reptilian Agenda to the almost I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead era El-P of the opening track Leaving NY.

With such a solid base to showcase his lyrical talent on, Dolan goes for the jugular right from the off with “I was told to pick my battles. This isn’t my war. My fight is with myself. I’m leaving New York” and continues at a similarly high-octane pace, lamenting consumerism and the acts of multinationals in Fifty Ways To Bleed Your Customer and showing an ability for story-telling that seems as natural as it ever could be in Body Of Work. His delivery is as impressive as his lyrics, putting his message across powerfully whilst not forcing the listener into uneasiness as the likes of Immortal Technique unfortunately do. No, it’s obvious Dolan is passionate, but he’s able to portray that as part of his album, rather than pushing that as the main focus.

Signing to Sage Francis’ label is bound to draw comparisons, which would be unfair. Certainly, Dolan is his own man and whilst Strange Famous feels like a perfect fit for this record, he doesn’t ever find himself in Sage’s shadow, which is a testament to both the content and the man himself. And, hey, he has a P.O.S. verse on there, you know I gotta thumbs up my Doomtree homies. This is an album that’ll surprise you in all the right places. Pick it up and savour it. And then look forward to checking him out in the UK throughout March.

Check out the video below to see what to expect.