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Posted on June 8th, 2012 (12:11 pm) by Esmail Hamidi

B. Dolan has made his name as a prominent activist, poet, and rapper throughout the New York/Rhode Island area. His catalog goes back to the early 2000s, with two albums, an EP, and a number of mixtapes; House of Bees Vol. 2, out on Strange Famous Records, is the sequel to 2009’s House of Bees Vol. 1. Both of these tapes were produced and mixed by British-born Buddy Peace, an undeniably skillful beatmaker, DJ, and turntablist.

Dolan’s style and delivery draw heavily from the eighties and nineties--I’m absolutely reminded of NWA, Nas, The Beastie Boys, and choice bits of Rage Against the Machine’s catalog. “Still Here” is a beautiful opener--the pounding drums (that I suspect were sampled from California Uber Alles by the Dead Kennedys – can anyone confirm this?) combine with droning sitar riffs to build anticipation for Dolan’s rhymes. In “Film the Police,” Dolan apes vintage NWA in an updated version of their nineties ‘hood anthem. Gangsta metaphors and hyperbole are skillfully twisted and modernized; he implores the listener to “reach for the celli if you wanna shoot a cop.” I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the tune. “Graceland” breaks the record’s breakneck pace by juxtaposing a plodding interlude with the abstract spoken words of Kwesi Davis, a hard-hitting poet. Contrastingly, in “Fight Night,” a dark, menacing sampled beat accompanies deadpan rhymes that go by almost too fast to process. Things are rounded out by “The Hunter,” remixed by American experimentalist Mux Mool, in which a sloshing beat greatly accentuates abstract, introspective lyrics.

Throughout the album, the rhymes showcased are complex, fast, and incredibly rhythmic. Dolan’s delivery is immaculate, with a deep, articulate command of the English language. Alliteration and expansive use of metaphor ensure that any lover of old-school smart hip hop will adore this record. Artists like B. Dolan prove that in the face of commercial giants like Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy, there is still hope for soulful, intelligent hip hop.

House of Bees Vol. 2 is to be released on June 12th, 2012 and can be pre-ordered/purchased here.

Track Listing:
1. Still Here
2. King Bee
3. Film the Police (Feat. Toki Wright, Jasiri X & Sage Francis)
4. Which Side Are You On?
5. Bad Things (BP Remix) (Feat. Sage Francis & Metermaids)
6. 2bad (Epic Beard Men)
7. Colony Collapse
8. 100 Bars for SFR
9. Come 2 Jamaica (The Lost Verse)
10. Graceland (Kwesi Davis)
11. Fight Night
12. Tin Soldiers
13. Feel So Different
14. Leaving NY (Live W. Buddy Peace & Dan Le Sac)
15. The Hunter (Mux Mool Remix)

B. Dolan: House of Bees Vol. 2
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

83 / 100
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