Doseone - G is for Deep
High-pitched American rapper Doseone (aka Adam Drucker) is back with his most poppy album to date. More lyrically erratic than ever, singing instead of rapping, dressed in a Technicolor swirl of synthesizer and drum machine, G is for Deep is a like spending forty minutes in the company of a hyperactive child. It can be joyous, funny, apt to fill you with a certain sense of wonder – but ultimately somewhat exhausting.
Founding his own record label, Anticon, in 1997, this rapper, producer, poet, and artist has spent the better part of a decade and a half carving himself a place in the world of alternative music. Since beating a then-unknown Eminem in a battle-rhyming competition during the same year, his distinctive Looney Tunes vocals have contributed their peculiar charms to records alongside such notable weirdoes, avant-gardists and post-rockers as Mike Patton, Hood, Push Button Objects, The Notwist, and Alan Moore.
While thrilled by its hypercolour grooves and rubbery contours, exhilarated by the sheer plenitude of quirks and ideas, I struggled to find a thread I could hang onto and follow through – this album seemed overwhelming on first listen. While the more you listen, the more immersed you become in the experience – the record can be like too many rides on an elaborate rollercoaster, it becomes nauseating.
Now this is by no means a conventional rap/hip-hop album (as mentioned he mostly sings instead of raps) and unlike most records of this genre, G Is for Deep is sickly sweet, full of the kind of skewed indie hip-hop acceptable to white hipsters. The manic-synth packed opener 'Dancing X', comes complete with bassy kicks and burbling keys popping and pulsing that do much to befuddle the listener. The album’s first peak comes with 'I Fell' which is a little more conservative with its use of synthetic sounds, making the song seem like it wasn't produced for someone on amphetamines. 'Therapist This' slowly grows from its low-slung beginnings into a towering sort of maximal soul as Dose sings of guilt as "a fearsome church built from black stone." His voice is alternately a mighty choir, a friendly whisper, a jilted growl.
The last fifteen years have seen Doseone build up a body of work that fully deserves to be the envy of any of his contemporaries and he can also lay claim to possession of one of the most distinctive voices in modern music, however, this latest LP comes off like an assault on the senses. While the terrible, cutesy pop aesthetic, and the arid lyrics can be forgiven, the overuse of synthesisers and erratic melodies cannot be, it feels too try-hard and disorienting.
The album has its moments but they are lost amongst a myriad of noise that fills up the rest of the time. G is for Deep is good for one or two listens but pretty soon the novelty wears off and it begins to grate. While it pains me to say this (I am a fan of Doseone) Adam should have taken some advice from the famous, 20th century German-American architect, Mies van der Rohe – less is more.