Dub Sonata

We love new music, and in this modern landscape we get a LOT of it, flooding our headphones and speakers with nothing but hip hop fire – but Dub Sonata isn’t one to churn out large quantities of new music (especially his own) so we took our time with this joint, just like he did, and let it sit with us a bit before diving into the review. Hip hop heads know Dub Sonata, from his 2012 release Media Shower, to his production work for Sage Francis and plenty more, not to mention we covered the first single from this album almost a month ago, but now it’s time to digest the full project – ‘Tranquilizer Dart‘.

The album starts off with a really punchy beat on ‘Cold Alliance‘ featuring Double A.B. who brings the bars from the jump. It’s a dope track that gets you engaged mentally while uncontrollably nodding your head. Next up Nature and Rhymefest demolish the key-laden ‘My Song‘ which is home to some really initricate and interesting production which is really refreshing, then it’s ‘The Butterfly Effect‘ which was the first single and really knocks especially as this album is building in terms of sonic energy and intensity. That Vordul Mega flow is so dope and the cuts are brilliant.

It’s more of a traditional, boom bap knocker on ‘Somebody Shoulda Warned Ya‘ which sees Craig G, Sadat X and Craig G deliver some braggadocious bars on the mic over the delightfully dusty soundscape from Sonata. ‘Everywhere I Go‘ is an anthem, the production has a sense of urgency and excitement that draws you in, then Muja Messiah, Guilty Simpson and Copywrite get to invading your grey matter with hot sixteens. The hook is haunting with it’s use of synth and reverb and the beat slaps – this track is fire. There is no repreive for the neck as the title track ‘Tranquilizer Dart‘ featuring Nickelus F and Swigga drops with robust drums and synth effects throughout the hook that make you feel like you’ve just caught a dart in the neck.

Amen‘ is a more laid back and reverent track, simple staccato drumwork, ethereal vocals and just a nice interlude and sonic break from the hardcore bar work that has been hitting relentlessly. The plucked strings have a feeling of their own and this is a delightful instrumental. The energy gets turned back up when Cannibal Ox, Double A.B. and Copywrite get together for ‘Rubik’s Cube‘. Each emcee brings their own vibe to this, but collectively the result is nothing short of brilliance while Dub creates something sonicly special with oan flutes, beat changes, snappy snares. Epic.

The Aztext & Mopes team up to bring the verbal ferocity on ‘Deleted Never‘ which is a high energy joint that really keeps the vibe upbeat and the production on this one has so many layers and elements, you need a few spins just to catch the creativity! ‘Another Day’ features Revalation, Bobby J from Rockaway and M-Dot. These cats spit bars and the hook is soulful to break up the deliberately delivered verbals, and the track just builds and builds and could find a home on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. The final track is a bonus, a remix of ‘Everywhere I Go‘ which trades the more traditional, ominous hip hop sound, for a high-energy, colourful and vibrant joint – and the track STILL slaps!!!

Bangers: Everywhere I Go, Rubik;s Cube, Deleted Never, Cold Alliance.

Score: 9.5 / 10. This album is special, not just because it has been a long time coming, but because the diversity of sound is so fun and complex, that every spin is a musical journey that you take something different from each and every time. Dub Sonata is a brilliant producer, and I don’t just mean that in terms of dope production, I mean the way these beats and instruments, effects and layers are composed. The emcees bring the fire too, not one of these artists takes the foot off the gas, but always bring their own personality and vibe to their bars. Get this one in rotation a LOT, and enjoy it.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!