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Greatest hits: album reviews

The wait is over for B. Dolan's new album Kill the Wolf

Dolan takes a deliberate half-step back from the stronger social activism and political themes on this self-produced release, focusing more on honing the craft of hip hop and storytelling

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 July, 2015, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 July, 2015, 11:22pm

 

Fans and followers of British spoken-word artist Scroobius Pip and his fine facial fuzz will be aware of the grand expectations surrounding Kill the Wolf, the first album in five years from Rhode Island rapper B. Dolan. Across the platforms of social media and his free weekly podcast Distraction Pieces, on which Dolan recently appeared, Pip has been championing the follow-up to Fallen House, Sunken City as practically the next best thing since crack-sprinkled doughnuts. It's high praise indeed for the cunning linguist and his third studio album, for Pip is certainly no slouch himself when it comes to complex lyrical flows.

Known as a socially conscious, thought-provoking rapper, Dolan takes a deliberate half-step back from the stronger social activism and political themes on this self-produced release, focusing more on honing the craft of hip hop and storytelling. That's not to say he has lost his vivid verbal passion or is in search of a message, "If they can't get me a stage, I'm getting up on a chair," he spits as the beat slips away on Stay Inspired.

Combining samples, synths and live instrumentation, the whole album bristles with an intense creative energy. Opening track Lazarus gently kicks things off before a torrent of bone-crunching beats and rhymes is unleashed. On Safety Theater, Dolan highlights the ludicrousness of US gun-control laws with an intricate flow of lyrics and wry humour: "My brother got a gun safe - that's a safe he bought to keep his guns safe."

You were most definitely right, Mr Pip: the five years in the making was worth the wait.

B. Dolan Kill the Wolf (Strange Famous Records)