Been on a slight hiatus with schoolwork and sickness, but I’m back with a vengeance knowmsayin. We gon get things started with started off with a joint I been anticipating for a long time now, The Ol’ Soul EP from my man Don Dada, AKA Alpoko Don. This album represents him fully from his roots to his ideals, and is more or less a breath of fresh air in the current spectrum of hip-hop.
First of all, I gotta mention that nothing that comes out this man’s mouth isn’t catchy. You’ll find yourself humming his melodies when you’re at work…. at school doing a test…. washing your hands…. driving to the sto’…. all the time. And this is including both his lyrics and his scats and hums. The title truly identifies the sound of the music to a tee. These songs couldn’t be more soulful if they were Negro spirituals. The self-proclaimed “One-take Jake” has a definite vision on every song on this album and it really shows, which is something unique and commendable for a newer artist.
I appreciate the Don’s contrarian attitude towards music as far as using a semi-accapella style of music, only relying on his own voice, a pen and a board. However, I can’t help but feel this style is only limiting the potential of his music. I can only imagine with such song vision and rhythmic capabilities that this guy could orchestrate amazing instrumentals if he expands his tools. Though his beat talents are already impressive, they could only sound better with more tools. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not taking away from him using the pen and board because with them he has unrivaled dexterity and matched with his voice, he provides an excellent background for his rapping. As you listen through these selections you begin to feel a sense of familiarity with the “drum parts” of the beats that likely would be remedied with more instruments.
The Greenville spitter has a delivery that’s reminiscent of the legendary Scarface. He brings the appropriate energy to each song. Don also shows listeners that he’s extremely versatile with his varying flows and cadences. He has a go-to pattern generally, but still switches it up by doing things like going double to to finish of bars with aggressive punchlines. Despite his vocal similarity to Scarface, Don Dada has an iconic charisma exclusive to him. His unique persona shows through the songs and he walks a path with his subjects that few others have. In fact, I can only thing of Z-ro when it comes matching him up by subject matter. Alpoko Don also shows an array of lyrical talents, from his storytelling in “Gone Tomorrow” to his metaphoric symbolism in “Married to the Game”. He also shows advanced skills in similes in punchlines.
This EP is a successful introduction of what has potential to be a legendary career. Alpoko Don is a huge part of the southern wave that’s crashing down on the rap game soon. And as a people’s person, talented artist, and someone who has a good message I wish him da best in his pursuits, you feel me?
Album Grade: B