An album by Dag
Review presented by Issac Sandoval
Listen to “Daggystyle” by Dag
Here at The Write Reviews, we really enjoy seeing when artists take advantage of a special offer we may be having. I’m not being sarcastic. We provide hours and hours of working for the bare minimum in return because we enjoy music and we enjoy writing, and we understand how difficult it can be to fund everything yourself as an independent artist. Dag was one of the artist who captured our discounted offer (through a friend of his, actually) that helped a family in need. He was one of five artists who got the discounted package we provided, and the proceeds from those five artists helped a family of five get their only vehicle out of the mechanic shop. It was because of these artists that we were able to help a family in a very big way. Everyone here at The Write Reviews would like to give Dag and his friend Mika a couple of huge shout outs for their part in making this happen.
That being said, there’s still an album to review. Daggystyle is the title of the album brought to us by the emcee known as Dag. On behalf of The Write Reviews enters the “Expert Examiner” Issac Sandoval, who is possibly the most focused to detail when it comes to the members of our staff. Will the Expert Examiner be disappointed in Daggystyle or will Dag prove to be an artist worthy of a thumbs up from Issac Sandoval?
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MEMOIRS OF A CINCINNATI MANIAC
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1- Let Go
We begin with a track that should speak to a lot of you young men making a fool of yourself out here. She’s not that into you bro! The piano instrumental provides an easy intro to the album, along with the simple and relatable subject matter. We also have brilliant use of sound effects before and during the first verse of the track. While the flow may not be technically unsound, it’s certainly not my favorite style. All in all, Dag brings us a decent album intro.
2- No Boundaries feat. Bola and KDot204
The hook that brings track two to life reeks of rebellion and self-assurance as well as being a tad-bit catchy. Our first verse is from Kdot204, whose voice bears resemblance to SwizZz of Funk Volume, but with much more vivid rhymes. The effect used to fade in the second verse makes it very indistinct prior to reaching full volume. Despite that small detail this is an enjoyable track.
3- The Climb feat. Abstract Artform
The majority of underground artists that I’ve encountered and reviewed struggle with hooks, so it’s quite refreshing when you get great hook. While the singing voice isn’t the greatest, I believe that can be overlooked thanks to the quality of the lyrics and the melody. Not everyone will be able to look past it because of their own personal tastes, but for me it actually works well. Thank heaven for the great hook because the first verse from Dag is simplistic to the point that it takes you out of the listening experience, it’s not fun to listen to. The second verse is a little better, still simplistic in rhyme, but the better word choice allows the second verse to keep the listener’s attention.
Ahh the title track, the song that has to deliver. KRS-One defines Hip-Hop as: peace, love, unity, and having fun. So many underground heads neglect the having fun aspect of Hip-Hop music, but not Dag. Daggystyle is exactly that, a fun Hip-Hop track that can be played at a house party or a laid back environment while smoking with friends. If you’re focused, the song is of high enough quality to not ruin the album, but if you’re only looking for fun, this track is the one you want to play!
5- Summer Funk feat. White Rhino and Gary Gach
“Summer Funk” keeps the fun from Daggystyle rolling without missing a beat. The instrumental is funky, whimsical, and provides the perfect backdrop for a joint titled “Summer Funk”. Dag delivers perhaps his smoothest and most impressive flow of the entire album. We get another good hook that ties the track together perfectly. The second verse is an improvement over the first and keeps the track on an upward slope of awesome!
6- Funkin’s You Up ft. A-Fix and Vikki G
Whoo-hoo! More funk, an element that is utterly underused in modern Hip-Hop, save a few scattered artists. “Funkin’ You Up” mirrors the vibe and house party style from the two previous tracks. The old-school eighties/Too $hort/Common flow feels more at home on this record. Then we’re introduced to a hook that’s smooth and encourages the listener to move their body, which for me is not an easy thing to accomplish. A-Fix brings a different flow that comes from the same lineage as Dag’s. This works well by allowing us to distinguish between the two emcees while keeping the track cohesive.
7- Low Funds Is No Fun Pt. 2 feat. Khan Vikshyn
The instrumental to “Low Funds” is definitely going to get your head bobbing from the jump. Dag and Khan Vikshyn take us through the average day living “the life of a broke rapper.” The perfect song to play while chilling at home or while riding around the neighborhood (especially if you’re a broke rapper hanging with broke rapper friends). The flow game is stepped up, the hook is fun, and the chemistry displayed keeps the track laid back for sure.
8- Better Know
I absolutely love this sample, it’s sped up more than you would typically encounter, and it’s a lot of vocalization. I’ve been hearing these more lately from guys like 40, Logic, and 6ix, and I’m quite fond of this trend. Given the style of this instrumental and the subject matter, I would’ve liked to hear a more aggressive and faster flow from Dag. This change of pace might encourage some listeners to check out until the break comes back around and steals the show.
9- Cross The Line ft. Drezden and Tek-Pro
Have you ever been pleasantly confused? Because that’s exactly what this hook does to me. First of all, the melody is going to have you enraptured. Some people may be turned off by the gruff voice that’s complimented by the vocoder, but I for one think it’s a brilliant move. The part that throws me is that the singer’s voice sounds like a mix of Mark Hall and Austin Winkler, the lead vocalists for the bands Casting Crowns and Hinder respectively. Sadly for Dag he is outshined by both of his counterparts on this record as his verse fails to strike chords the way the second verse does, and the hook is so beautifully constructed.
10- Our Demons ft. Olu, Babble’On, and Abstract Artform
We deviate of the path of funk into something dark, and right down to the drip/squish sound we get fully immersed in the darkness. Sadly Dag loses his flow several times over the course of his verse; it may be that the slow beat is throwing him off as it’s far slower than what we’ve heard to this point. Another great hook however, with even more impressive use of the vocoder. The second verse is able to redeem the song as far as the flow is concerned, but the lyrics aren’t as vivid as Dag’s. The third verse brings the song to its peak as we see the flow and lyricism brought together.
11- Planet B ft. Moka Only and Dan Emerson
We’re introduced to “Planet B” with a smooth, easy-listening instrumental that is met by equally smooth vocals as the hook begins. As with many of the songs on Daggytstyle we have high quality hooks with verses that miss the mark. The choppy old-school flow does not cooperate with the soft flowing instrumental, and the simplicity of the lyrics make Dag come across as preachy rather than sincere, unfortunately. The second verse is more technically sound, but veers too far off topic for me to say that it measures up to the standard set by the hook. I do find it a curious coincidence that an artist named Emerson is featured on the track about environmentalism.
12- Carry On feat. Skryp tha Keeper and Vikki G
The hook for “Carry On” has a lot of potential that it did not quite live up to. Vikki’s delivery is shaky, not in a sense of vibrato, but in that she may be trying to reach where her voice cannot go. Skryp and Dag sound a little too similar, and until Skryp mentions his name, I thought he was Dag. The song attempts to leave us on a high and inspiring note as we conclude, but it falls short in every aspect. From the lack of conviction and believability in the voices of all three performers down to the instrumental cutting off far too abruptly, this is not the way you want to conclude your album.
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The Climb, Summer Funk, and Cross The Line
THE WRITE UP
Daggystyle deviates from the albums I typically review and was a breath of fresh air. Most underground artists idolize and emulate higher tier underground artists, and as a result their albums often carry with them the same underground sounds. If I had to guess, I would say that Dag has a heavy West Coast influence in his artistry. Daggystyle has many funk and alternative Hip-Hop elements to it, which allows Daggystyle to stand out in a world where so many people unwittingly sound the same. Poetry In Motion definitely hit a home run on this album’s production.
Where Daggystyle misses the mark for me is the inconsistency within the tracks themselves. Many of the records have good hooks and great concepts, but the verses just don’t deliver the same quality. There are too many features that do not add to the song in any way and would have been virtually unchanged had Dag been the only emcee to rap. In the end the hooks and production are the things that will get you to listen to this album again, while Dag and the other emcees bring performances that are forgettable.
(2.5 out of 5 stars)
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