Don’t Sleep | Dos Monos – Dos City

Don’t sleep on this latest album from Dos Monos. These guys are a Japanese rap trio signed to Deathbomb Arc, who are pretty much the go to label if you’re looking for experimental music. They began teasing this album about halfway through 2018, but it wasn’t officially announced until February 10th this year.

The album starts with a pretty short instrumental intro that segues really smoothly into the first actual song, Theater D. This track is fucking awesome. Obviously there’s a major language barrier. I seriously value lyrics when I’m listening to music, but it’s not like I can’t enjoy this at all just because I have no clue what these guys are saying. One of my favorite albums of all time is by a French artist. The production is the selling point of this album for me. The beats on this project are fucking insane. I’m pretty sure they’re all done by 荘子it. I might be wrong about that though. Theater D sounds like an off-kilter, experimental boom-bap beat. It’s like something you’d hear from a producer in the 90s if he was high off bath salts when he made it. The following song is even better.

This was the lead single from the album. It was also the first song I ever heard from these guys, and it seriously blew me away. I knew I had to check the album out after hearing this shit. The song itself is amazing, but the music video is fucking awesome too. That’s definitely one of the best music videos that came out last year. It’s on par with This Is America in my opinion. The song really reminds me of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Everything from the production to the ad-libs gives me the impression that he’s a big influence for these guys. Especially with the way that one member of the group sings along with the beat during the chorus. It’s impressive as hell that they managed to make a song that I enjoy this much when I can’t even understand what the fuck they’re saying. I mean, they slid a few English lines in here and there, but for the most part it’s all in Japanese. It just goes to show that even if you can’t impress me lyrically, you can win me over with a commanding delivery. I don’t even think their flows are that impressive to be honest. I mean, they’re certainly not bad. They’re not amazing or anything though. Their eccentric deliveries and production are what make this song so fantastic to me. It’s followed by the second single from the album, Clean Ya Nerves.

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I definitely don’t like this track nearly as much as the previous couple, but it’s still pretty good. The beat is dope as hell. However, it’s the kinda beat that I’d really wanna hear a dope lyricist murder. Dos Monos sound pretty cool over it though. I’m not crazy about the hook, and the beat is honestly a little repetitive, but I still think it’s a very good song. It’s dope. It’s followed by another one of my favorite tracks on the album, Daimyō. The actual beat is pretty much just a drum loop, but one of the members is humming a melody along with it, and it sounds fucking insane in the coolest way possible. It’s a really bizarre track. I love it. It’s the second shortest song on the album if you don’t count the intro. I think the short length works really well with the strangeness of the song though. If it lasted any longer it would’ve gotten stale. The following song, Bacchus, is another really great track. The beat is really awesome. Since I don’t even speak Japanese, I can’t really put a name to a voice. However, that guy with the highest voice in the group is probably my favorite member. His flow on this track is really nice. It’s an awesome song. The next track is one of my favorite songs on the whole album. It’s called Muffin. The beat is incredible, and the ad-libs at the beginning make me think they were trying to do an impression of a chicken. It sounds like they’re saying “bok bok bok.” The guy with the deep voice on the second verse had a really dope flow. It’s an amazing song. The next track is an instrumental interlude called Do Not Freeze! It’s another one of the best songs on the project in my opinion. 荘子it really put his ass into this album. Dude is super talented. I’d love to hear some English speaking rappers spit over an instrumental from him. This track in particular sounds like a bunch of video game sounds. It even samples the chorus from 20XX which is pretty cool. It’s an awesome beat. The album kinda loses its luster after this track. The next four tracks aren’t nearly as impressive as most of the other ones in my opinion. They’re still good though. They just don’t blow me away. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the beat on EPH at first. It kinda reminds me of the joke beat from this video.

It’s easily one of the weakest beats on the album. I still like the track overall though. I wouldn’t say the beat is bad. The farty horns just take a while to get used to. The following track is better to me.

It’s definitely the most traditional sounding beat on the album. It’s not nearly as unconventional as every other instrumental. It’s still a good beat though. It’s kinda jazzy, and the percussion is pretty hard hitting. The guy with the deep voice has a pretty nice flow on the first verse. It’s a dope song overall. Again, it doesn’t blow me away like a lot of the more unorthodox tracks on this project, but it’s still good. Schizoidian probably has my least favorite beat on the whole project. It’s not bad. It’s just a little too repetitive in my opinion. It gets old pretty quickly. I probably wouldn’t mind it as much if I could understand what the MCs were saying. However, since all I have to go on is the flows and production, the repetitive beat is what holds my attention the most. Abdication B4 He Dies has a pretty cool beat. The weirdest thing about the track is the vocals from each member of the group though. It sounds like there’s some slight autotune on the verses, and it sounds pretty strange. It’s not super distracting though. It doesn’t bother me. I like the song, but it’s another one of the less interesting songs in my opinion. Things thankfully pick back up for the closing song, which is also the title track. I think it has one of the best beats on the whole album. It’s a really incredible beat. So yeah. That’s the album. As far as non-English Hip Hop goes, I think this is the first time I’ve listened to a full album. I really enjoyed it quite a bit though. I think this album is fucking great. There’s not a single track that I don’t like. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: In 20XX
Least Favorite Song: Schizoidian

86

80-89
Grade: A-

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