While the 90′s are often referred to as hip-hop’s golden era, the dark, sample heavy beats that dominated New York rap at the time is a sound long lost. While artists like Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson have successfully sprinkled that sound into today’s style, a lesser popular crew called The Doppelgangaz have embraced the sound in full, as if the millennial clock never turned.
Hailing from Orange County and New York, hooded figures Matter Ov Fact and EP have embraced everything about the early east coast boom-bap style, with self-produced beats that might sound like something from an early Mobb Deep, Black Moon or Dr. Octagon LP. Their rhyme style also throws back to that era, blissfully using dated 90′s slang, meshed with darkly humorous, third person, MF Doom-esque narratives. It’s no wonder the title of their fourth studio album is Hark.
While the sound of the NYC 90′s has evolved into today’s backpack beats, for older heads, there is a “holy shit” factor here, once you first hear some of the tracks from Doppelgangaz. Tracks like “Hark Back” and “Oh Well”, for instance, present that cold, off key sound that was so prevalent back then, while “Us 2 Da Man” makes you feel the Ill Street Blues all over again.
It’s clearly not a gimmick for these cats, whom have been producing tracks with this sound since 2008, however the novelty does wear thin after a while. While not as polished or as their forefathers, many of us that were there in the era while feel that sense of nostalgia, and appreciate where they are coming from. Unfortunately, many will overlook this project due to their subterranean status and lack of powerful affiliations. Perhaps to claim that coveted rap authenticity the crew so obviously desires, a wise move for them would be to collaborate with some of those very rap legends with a full on production-based LP.
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