Bedford MC Dotz teams up with Hitchin producer Richy Spitz for this new EP. ‘The Life & Times Of John Rockwell’ is a six track project, serving as a prequel to a full length LP to be released next year, that showcases Dotz’s ferocious, raw MC skills and Richy’s versatile, hard-hitting touch behind the boards.
The punchy, vibezy ‘Lights Out’ is a perfect opener; the charismatic, percussive delivery and complex rhyme schemes sound heavy over thumping kicks and expertly handled sample-work. The beat is textured and in-your-face, and the same can certainly be said for Dotz as he drops bars with wit, intent and precision.
‘Beat Me Down’, which features a beat that sounds like a twisted version of Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Simon Says’ that’s been revved up to the nth degree, is one of the standouts from the EP. Dotz means business on this track, and his delivery and writing are both faultless. The chemistry that exists on this MC/producer partnership is easy to see; the energy, both musically and vocally, is at a consistently high level throughout the project.
‘Scarecrow’ goes in a more bouncy, electronic direction; the piercing synths, crisp snare and subtle kick pattern are a perfect match for Dotz’s aggressive, enthusiastic lyricism. The versatility on display is impressive, as is the cohesiveness that runs parallel to the eclectic production and entertaining flows. Dotz is at his best when showing off just how well he can rap. At times across the EP the content gets a little deeper and more thought-provoking, but his ferociously sharp writing as well as his animated tone, shine when they’re delivering braggadocio, cocky lyrics.
‘Forgetful’ is brief and uptempo, and Dotz packs his lyrics with humourous content, and Richy’s lively production is guaranteed to start that familiar back and forth rhythm creeping in your neck. ‘Bleak Old Track’ closes the EP, and the double-time spitting, where Dotz raps about the trials and tribulations of painkiller addiction, is really impressive, and is dropped over a tasteful, spacious production from Richy.
This is a dope project, and it serves as a great appetiser for the full length album in 2016. Dotz is a really entertaining lyricist, and his writing is always captivating. Richy’s production suits Dotz’s style, and his layered beats have a unique sound. To label them as boom bap or electronic would be too simplistic; they’re a fantastic blend, and the synergy between the rapper and producer makes for a compelling listen.
By Sam Bennett