Straight out of 1992 comes Dave Dub, the San Jose emcee with a penchant for 12-bit drums and dark imagery. His latest effort The Treatment is his debut for Stones Throw Records and is certain to command a following amongst those with a nostalgia for the avant garde/stripped down hip-hop of the early 90′s (think pre-Anticon with a dash of early Freestyle Fellowship).
With a flow reminiscent of fellow California emcee the Grouch (I promise I’ll stop making references to other rappers soon), Dave envokes altered mindstates, death and the proper amount of swag you demand of a rapper without being obnoxious about it. His voice is often monotone but his patterns are all over the place. As he says on “Escaping my Voice”- looking at the emotionless crowd/fuck gratification, I predicted terror and bowed/response means nothin’/you never actually want the beast to know you’re huntin’. Whenever he ventures into overly derivative territory, he finds his way out again with cunning wordplay and is easily forgiven.
Tape Mastah Steph handles all the production on this album and is due at least 50% of the credit for The Treatment. Actually the E-Mu SP-1200 and Ensoniq EPS are owed some credit as well. These vintage pieces are responsible for the dustiness of the samples and the crunchiness of the drums. The beats are straight up hip-hop, no filler. No crazy faux dubstep drum drops or anything, just 4/4 rap beats in lo-fi. There are also a few instrumental tracks thrown in to showcase TMS’ craft. My personal favorite being “Much Gratitude”–an oddly looped, flute-like sample with a simple, tambourine-driven drumbreak that builds up layer by layer for 2 minutes and flows nicely in to the next track (“Escaping my Voice.”)
Dave Dub is certainly not for everyone and I’m not gonna lie; his style is fairly monotonous. But that’s also what’s gonna attract the actual fans of old school hip-hop. The Treatment is a cohesive piece of earlier west coast weirdo rap. It’s not terribly original but in an era of genre-bending software enhanced “hip-hop” I’m sure there’s a market of 35-year old hip hop fans that’ll embrace Dave Dub. (The cover art by Gustavo Eandi is dope too).