next time some poor ignoramus asks where the real hip-hop is, give them hellfyre club’s ‘dorner vs. tookie’

November 29, 2013

After going through my computer and looking up mixtapes, I noticed that for a guy who doesn’t listen all that much to hip-hop, I have a lot of hip-hop mixtapes and album in my computer. Mostly because this past few years have brewed some of the most solid and interesting hip-hop mixtapes and albums this year from that of Death Grips, LE1F, Chance the Rapper and one of my personal favorite rappers Julian Malone. The very people I should be throwing into this list? Anyone within the Hellfyre Club roster. If you asked me what I feel is missing in hip-hop besides this perception of realness, it’s proving that hip-hop is real by offering various personalities in the music. That is why I not only am in favor of more female, white, gay, or what-have-you rappers in the game, but it is also why I think Dorner vs. Tookie is one of the most important mixtapes/samplers released this year.

By Lightning Pill, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Free Download available HERE

The album reads like a role call of personalities: Busdriver, the speed rapping avant-whatever veteran who represents that bridge between brainiac and maniac. Nocando is pretty much the headhoncho of Hellfyre Club who gained his notoriety as a battle rapper. Open Mike Eagle is a former schoolteacher-turned-fulltime rapper/daddy/freethinker. milo, OME’s “rap son”, is the philosophy buff that often gets lost within the confinement of his mind, but manages to emerge like a protagonist with jewels. KAIL is the more gangsta of the group. Newcomer Rheteric Ramirez is considered by a Hellfyre Club listener to be the Volume 10 of the group (reference to him being the Latin member of the group). He also brings some solid gangsta flavor to the group, as proved in his re-released L.A. is For Motherfuckers EP. That leaves Taurus Scott, the beatmaker and drummer, VerBS, a current Afropunk member and one of the less prolific members of Hellfyre Club, and The Kleenrz. Every last one of them brought their A-Game on DvT.
As is the tradition in Hellfyre Club samplers, they open with a beat, made by Taurus Scott. “Bouncing in the Trap” is basically opening credit music to what proves to be a blockbuster album. The first two tracks read like a choice in anthems. “DvT” is their version of “Straight Outta Compton” featuring the sort-of underused KAIL and VerBS). Open Mike Eagle’s “Degrassi Picture Day” is one of two anthems he wrote for Dorner vs Tookie, but from the point of view of a kid getting his picture taken. The track is not only solid but so creative, someone over at Young Money or Maybach Music is probably slapping themselves (or each other) in the face for not thinking about it first. If they didn’t, they should seriously consider it.
“Qualifiers” finds that same rapper crooning a chorus that pretty much spells out the realness of the crew. “We the best mostly, sometimes, the freshest rhymers, we the tightest kinda, respect my qualifiers”. See how far modesty can get you on a track?
After that, it’s a rabbithole down the world of Hellfyre Club. Milo announces his emerge from “the darkness” in the underground favorite “Ecclesiastes”, Nocando brilliantly gives us an idea of what it sounds like to not “Give a Fuck”, and Open Mike Eagle does what you hardly ever hear rappers do (at least, not outside of Twitter): make good with his Hellfyre buddies via raps on “Apologies”. DvT may be “Straight Outta Compton for Awkward fly niggas”, as Busdriver put it, but for hip-hop lovers, it can’t be anything less than an achievement for every remember and contributor involved. There is a reason members of Doomtree, Sole and even Potholes in my Blog are raving about the mixtape.
So, the next time someone complains about real hip-hop, recommend that they not only check out Dorner Vs. Tookie, but that they also check out more stuff from the Hellfyre Club imprint (or others if they so choose). If they listen to this and complain yet again that this is “more YMCA than YMCMB”, please tell them, like Busdriver tells Mike Eagle’s old-ass Apple computer, to “stop hatin’ and get with the program”.