Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa
An album by Raw B
Review presented by Warren Peace
Listen to “Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa” by Raw B (link will be provided soon)
Raw B and myself became connected on social media several months before a review of this album was ever discussed. Fortunately one of the first artists to receive a review on this site, and biggest supporters since the site’s conception, Pest was kind enough to give Raw B the review package that he had earned from winning Most Viewed Review at The Write Awards. It is rare for an artist to give another artist the chance to use a platform that could expand their audience, but Pest didn’t think twice about giving another artist from the northwest the chance he felt was deserved. Now there’s only one thing to do, and that’s find out if Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa will capture the moment or just let it slip…
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Straight out of the gate, Raw B let’s the audience know he is far from your average emcee. After a short poem/speech, a steady rhythm emerges and allows Raw B to deliver punchline after punchline while revealing a little about himself here and there. “Dookie” has no hook to divide the barrage of bars Raw B busts onto the beat. Clever, witty lines keep things interesting, but more than anything, it’s Raw B’s comfortable way of talking about uncomfortable things that will cause the audience’s ears to stay glued to the speakers. Great way to open the album.
I cannot lie, when I first heard the instrumental for “Superbad”, I rolled my eyes and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Futuristic sound effects and random, odd additional noises do not make the best hip hop beats, in my opinion. There is always an exception to the rule, and I’ll be damned if Raw B doesn’t deliver the exception here. I have a feeling I’ll be hearing more of this creative funk behind the beats. He kind of eases his way onto the instrumental for his first stack of bars, deciding to leave the shock rap aside for more down to Earth lyrics. The hook for “Superbad” is clever and catchy. I’m sure anyone who gives “Superbad” a listen will find that Raw B is witty and entertaining on the track.
3- Frivolity feat. Shy Eazy
Returning to a more traditional hip hop sound with this instrumental, Raw B paints a practically perfect picture of “Frivolity” during the course of the track. Displaying more of his lyrical ability with fantastic multiple syllable rhyme schemes, an extensive vocabulary, and a smooth delivery. Shy Easy sings the hook, putting “Frivolity” into perspective, if anyone had any questions by the time the hook comes through the speakers. Raw B slams through lyrics on this song, and gains a Featured Track for the album.
4- I Can
Another funky beat full of random sounds slide by as the instrumental for “I Can”. More like an interlude for the album than an actual track, “I Can” is full of Raw B bragging over the beat. I feel this one is a little too short and could have been expounded on.
5- You Can’t feat. Shy Eazy
Following “I Can” is the full track titled “I Can’t”, which still uses some random sounds to assist with building the instrumental, but I don’t feel they are as unlikely to be heard on a hip hop beat as some of the other stuff that has been used. Raw B doesn’t slack on “You Can’t”, continuing his impressive lyrical display and multiple syllable rhyme schemes. Still, every song on the album so far seems to be centered around Raw B bragging about how good his is, and how he feels he is better than everyone else. I do feel “You Can’t” is a solid track, but just falls short of hitting the Featured Tracks list.
6- Keep It At The Playground
I really like this instrumental, which is full of random sounds but comes together in an intense and hard manner than almost forces your neck to nod. Raw B comes back with braggadocio, as if no one would’ve guessed, and does so while maintaining a lyrical edge with a fluid flow. The hook isn’t as catchy as some of the previous ones on the album, but is still well written. Raw B adds another solid track to the album, but falls short of stellar by a hair once again.
7- Get Down
“Get Down” has a lot of similarities to “I Can”. Both are not full tracks, but are more like interludes for the album. Both are mainly a verse spit by Raw B over an instrumental. And, of course, both are geared around Raw B claiming to have more talent and skill than all you other rappers out there. Otherwise, there isn’t much here that Raw B hasn’t already expressed before.
8- The Needle’s Eye feat. Shy Eazy
On “The Needle’s Eye” Raw B finally switches up the content…well, kind of. Instead of breaking bars about how great of an emcee he is, Raw B decides to change the game and talk about how horrible the producers in hip hop are right now. Well, on the second verse. The first verse is still a lot of the same content that’s already been expressed. The hook is pretty damn catchy as Raw B delivers the lead vocals and has Shy Eazy give some assistance with the background vocals. Raw B keeps a slick flow throughout the song. He’s demanding for the hip hop to step up, and while we wait to see if anyone does, Raw B notches another Featured Track.
Using a sample from a classic song, Raw B decides to take a completely different approach to open this than anything heard previously on Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa. Raw B dives into some personal thoughts, background, and past issues through most of this non-stop barrage of bars without a hook. His lyrics and flow are still coming through at a high level. He also speaks about the Northwest, specifically his city of Spokane, actually coming together for hip hop instead of continuing to push each other down and always having friction between each other. I really enjoy this change of content and how Raw B delivers his lyrics, although I feel it could have came earlier in the album. “Meraki” is a great addition to the album.
10- Alright feat. Shy Eazy
Another track that turns to a fresh concept, “Alright” features a more relaxed feel to the instrumental and Shy Eazy’s vocals on the hook. Raw B decides to deliver bars about his love for making music and how it causes him to feel like he can forget his problems and worries whenever he’s doing what he loves. This track would have easily been my favorite up to this point in the album, but after one round from Raw B and an extended (or one and a half rounds) share of Shy Eazy’s hook, the song is cut short. I feel this track has some radio appeal and can be appreciated by a large range of listeners, and is very likely to cause many in the audience to feel the desire for more.
11- The Spokanthem feat. Abbi Mae
This is a perfect followup to “Alright”. From the mood created by the instrumental, Raw B’s relaxed delivery mixed with positive lyrics, and Abbi Mae’s sweet voice on the hook to counteract Shy Eazy’s, “The Spokanthem” simply feels like it belongs after “Alright” on the track list. Raw B continues to show listeners his broad vocabulary and ability to rhyme multiple syllables with ease while finding a way to incorporate some humor along the way. “The Spokanthem” is an easy selection for the Featured Tracks list.
12- Spoken Word Murderer
More of an interlude an actual song, “Spoken Word Murder” explains this one perfectly. Raw B delivers like a lyrical leviathan line after line, displaying his vocabulary depth and intellectual insight. This could have been turned into one hell of a track.
13- If You Don’t Already Know feat. Shy Eazy
There’s enough bounce to this beat to get everyone moving to the music. Raw B goes back into his braggadocio approach, but it doesn’t sound as redundant because Raw B provided plenty of space between this track and the last one of a similar nature. After a round of well written lines from Raw B, Shy Easy delivers a great hook. Just as the audience gets pulled into the track even more from Shy Eazy’s vocals, “If You Don’t Already Know” follows in the foot steps of “Alright” and cuts short a song that many would have enjoyed to hear more from. Regardless, Raw B is proving he has the ability to branch out and reach a wide range of people.
14- Nickel and Dime
Another beat with bounce, “Nickel and Dime” also has a touch of intensity ties into the instrumental. A taste of the hook opens the track, putting everything in perspective right away. Raw B gets right to the business from the beginning, and the business is making sure everyone knows he is confident about being superior to…well, pretty much anyone. I do enjoy the hook and the humor tied into the lines of the song, but I have to admit I am growing rather bored with the repeated subject matter.
15- The Invitation feat. Shy Eazystrong>
“The Invitation” slightly switches the subject matter over another unorthodox style instrumental that Raw B and Shy Eazy somehow manage to turn into music that makes people want to move. Instead of spitting about how much better he is than everyone else, Raw B drops bars about how no one will be able to stop him from taking what he feels belongs to him. See, there’s some variation here. Shy Eazy owns another hook, displaying a consistency that is rarely found male vocalists. Raw B’s lyrics and flow are nothing short of impressive, but what’s even more impressive is his never ending bag of bars bragging about himself without repeating the same line twice. “The Invitation” actually found a way to grow on me tho, landing it among the Featured Tracks.
16- Hard As F-ck
“Hard As F-ck” is another braggadocio track, except for one dramatically effective difference that raises it above other songs with similar content- instead of telling everyone how good he is in a clever way, Raw B actually spits bars to validate how good he is without feeling the need to say so in every other line. If an emcee is going to show off or boast about their skills on a mic, this is the way it should be done. The quotes from Biggie, Busta, and Macklemore’s sidekick tied in with the instrumental is a fresh sound for the album that I really enjoy. This song definitely hits the Featured Track list “Hard As F-ck”.
17- It’s On Me
For some reason everytime I hear the song I think of “The Spokanthem” probably because of how they sounds similar when the song starts playing. I like how Raw B decided to go with a positive feel for the track. Is vs are definitely more friendly and have a funbapproach lyrically. The hook mirrors the fun approach, is very catchy, and is likely to be enjoyed by everyone who hears the song. “It’s On Me” finds a place among the Featured Tracks for Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa.
Immediately the song starts off with some heavy bass. Theres definitely some dance appeal. Raw B uses his verses to convince the audience to get on the dance floor and promote getting wasted. The hook is catchy. Although Ill admit that Im not much of a fan of “D.Y.P.O.”, the track shouldn’t have much of an issue finding some listeners to move with the music.
19- Sugar Rush
This beat is funky, combining an unusual mix of sounds to create a sound that could make its way to your local dance club. This one appears to talk to the ladies, using candy as a metaphor. Raw B’s lyrical ability makes everything about this song easy for him, and seems effortless to the audience. While the metaphor itself has been used before, Raw B is able to not only give everyone a song they can jam with, he also shows another side of his repertoire with “Sugar Rush” in his vocal range. Yes, I’m including this one with the Featured Tracks.
Comtinuing with the lighter lyrical approach and more of a sing-song style, Raw B brings another track geared toward the ladies. “Walkaway” transitions very well from “Sugar Rush”, but plays on direct lyrics instead of metaphors. The instrumental doesn’t have nearly as much going on, either. Still, Raw B flexes his vocals again and does surprisingly well. This is another track that is for any age and has potential to land a steady spot on the radio, and easily finds a spot among the Featured Tracks.
21- The Weight of My Touch
He continues his sing-song approach, but this time it’s more against the ladies than for the ladies. He uses a more direct approach here like the last song then he uses metaphors to spell out his feelings. Overall this is a good addition to the album but I don’t feel like it’s on the same level as the last two songs. This track is more of a complete track than the last two, and Raw B switches things up by bringing a rap delivery to the last verse.
22- Happiness Takes Practice
I really like the whole idea and meaning behind this song. This is a more of a motivational song than anything and I like how he addresses different points while he’s delivering his verses. The hook is really well written and delivered. Happiness takes practice makes the Featured Track list for being an original song and bringing an issue to light that isn’t usually talked about.
23- My Legacy feat. $limm Trees
$limm Trees does a really good job of capturing the emotion and giving the audience a mood to set the tone for the track. This is a very somber song. Raw B matches the mood $limm Trees brought onto the track, flattening the excitement and energy he usually brings on a track. “My Legacy” seems to be another one that ends a little suddenly. After Raw B’s verse concludes and $limm Trees throws another round of the hook down, just as everyone should be feeling the track, the instrumental continues to play briefly then cuts out.
24- The Datachi Experiment feat. Shy Eazy
Shy Eazy kicks off rhe track with an easy flowing hook over an instrumental that brings bounce. I can see kids dancing along with this one. Raw B does say a lot of contradictory statements, working them together in a harmony of sorts throughout the entire track.
25- When Doves Cry (A Tribute to Cory Michael Moss)
For Raw B to do a remake of an iconic song such as “When Doves Cry”, whether or not it’s a tribute to a friend, is a bold move to say the least. Prince, the artist who created the original version and sold an incredible amount of singles with this song, passed away earlier this year. If the pressure to nail this wasn’t enough already then Prince’s death is definitely is. (R.I.P. Prince) Raw B has been impressive so far, but I would be lying if I denied my doubts about this one. Still, I kept an open mind and hit play. Within the first minute, Raw B had not only changed my mind, he had made this track his own for its duration. Don’t misunderstand me; Raw B’s version is not on the same level as Prince’s but I don’t think anyone would be comparable. However, Raw B delivers a pretty great performance all the same, and did so with ease. Fantastic way to complete Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa.
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Frivolity, The Needle’s Eye, The Spokanthem, The Invitation, Hard As F-ck, It’s On Me, Sugar Rush, Walkaway, and Happiness Takes Practice
The Write Up
Throughout the breakdown, I pretty much nailed all of the areas I feel this album was lacking, other than not having a truly breakout original concept for a track. When it comes to beat selection and lyrics, Raw B is nothing short of impressive. The featured artists on the album are as well. Besides some repetitive subject matter, Raw B does a great job of showing diversity as an artist and with subject matter. He has a pretty unique sound and delivery, although sometimes it seems like he’s talking rather than rapping. I know that I’ll be looking for the next album he drops though, and it will be interesting to see how he branches out with his talents just as much as it will be to see what type of topics will be touched upon. Dookie Trackshoes presents: Tabula Rasa is officially approved by The Write Reviews.
🌟 🌟 🌟 .5
(3.5 out of 5 stars)
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