B. Dolan - Kill The Wolf

Review by Liam Taylor. A few days ago I got my hands on Kill The Wold, the latest creation of American rapper, B. Dolan. If this is a name you are unfamiliar with, my goal now is to inform and intrigue.

I have very occasional problems with the intellectual hip-hop scene. Firstly it’s the attempt to tackle issues which I lack either the mental or emotional capacity to deal with, (although that’s very much my own problem). But primarily, some artists seem prone to over-melody and contrived instrumentation, (i.e. music boxes and children’s toys – we get it, #emotional). I confess to a moment of fear upon hearing the tactile intro to Lazarus, the opening track, but I managed to open my mind ever so slightly, get over myself, and took the decision to go with it. As it happens, tracks like this, Memory of Bombs and These Rooms act as a yáng to the chaotic and aggressive yīn that is the rest of this album.

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This album is a combination of old school mixing and scratching, contemporary production techniques and bizarre instrumentation, (I’m pretty sure I heard a dulcimer towards the end). You’ve got to respect an artist who recruits a double bassist for his album, and as a guitarist I’m always excited to hear the instrument used in non-rock/blues/etc styles. Grafitti Busters is a perfect example of simple but effective guitar sampling, which will take you right back to Run DMC.

Aesop Rock’s feature on Jailbreak alone could have made me purchase this album if I’d known about it. It was an unexpected bonus which made me feel like I’d made my £23 back before even hearing the track, (it was important to me to get the signed disk and instrumental tracks from the USA, so I was happy to pay more). Aesop is capable of making a listener think about his lyrics at length, and this brief guest appearance is no exception. Chorus vocalist Dave Lamb, (Black Bird), lends this track a vocal styling eerily reminiscent of Alice In Chains, made eerier still when you learn to of his untimely passing during the production of this album.

Dolan fascinated me from the first time I encountered him – opening for Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces tour at the Norwich Waterfront, striding onto the stage with a noose and single-eyed sunglasses. It’s not a look you forget – If I wasn’t a fan at that point, I would have been by Kitchen Sink. That was nearly 4 years ago, at which point this album would have been 1 year into production. By all accounts, this was an exhausting half-decade for those involved, but ultimately it’s the listener who will feel the benefit of it’s experience.

You can tell a good album when it opens your mind to a new idea – it could be an instrument you previously hated, realizing the power of profanity, or opening your eyes to an entirely new genre. Maybe I’ll revisit the hip-hop ballads I’d previously dismissed.

Review of B. Dolan's new album 'Kill The Wolf'

Links & further reading:

25 Facts about B. Dolan’s Kill The Wolf on HHK Mag B. Dolan’s Website