DWHB – Dog Park
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: April 16th 2013
Most people who know me know I’m not a huge fan of hip-hop or rap music. That’s not to say I don’t listen to it at all, but I don’t listen to a lot of it. Heck, we’re almost into the fifth month of 2013, and I’ve only listened to one hip-hop record, and that’s A$AP Rocky’s debut album “Long.Live.ASAP,” which was a pretty solid record, may I add. Other than that, I haven’t listened to any other hip-hop records, but that’s where Texas hip-hop group DWHB come in. A couple of years ago, I listened to and reviewed the band’s debut record True Facts, and I really enjoyed it. To sum it up, it was a very fun, and relaxed hip-hop record that didn’t take itself seriously. I’m all for music that’s fun and catchy, and is light-hearted. Not all music needs to be thought provoking, but there’s a difference between being mindless and just being fun. This band is the latter, and instead of being mindless, they’re actually clever and tongue-in-cheek. True Facts was a very fun and catchy record with clever and silly lyrics that poked fun at the hip-hop clichés of today, and really unique and engaging beats. The same can be said for sophomore record Dog Park. This record doesn’t really do anything different, but the one thing that is different about it is that I enjoy just about every song. While True Facts was rather hit or miss for me (I enjoyed the record as a whole, but a few songs just didn’t do much for me), every song on here is crafted nicely, and most of them are quite memorable, even if the lyrics are silly. This record seems to have the group, composed of Travis Riddle, Andrew Atwood, and Dean Thomasson, hone their sound a bit more. It’s not completely different, but it seems as though they really honed in what makes them awesome, and this record definitely proves it. I didn’t even know the band had a new record coming out soon, but one of the members that I’m friends with told me about it while I was at work, and I definitely had to check it out for myself. I’m glad I did, because it’s a very enjoyable record. With that being said, let’s take a walk through the dog park, and look at this record, shall we?
The record begins with “Bupkis,” and this song is a nice introduction to the record, as well as the group in general; it just has Riddle, Atwood, and Thomasson rapping over a really funky beat with silly, nonsensical, and cliché lyrics that plague the genre of hip-hop. The same can be said for the entire record, really. But this record does a few different things, thankfully. While “Bupkis” is a rather bland opening track, despite being a good opening track, because it’s rather straightforward, second track “Colder Every Day” showcases what I’m talking about; this song is still the same old thing that fans heard on True Facts, but it also throws in some clean singing for the hook in the chorus, and surprisingly, it works very well. It adds to the overall song, and makes the song much more memorable if there’s a hook that gets stuck inside your head. While the idea of using a catchy chorus in a hip-hop song is nothing new, it’s new for this band, so I like it. While it is new for the band, they do use it on a majority of the record, so it does grow rather stale towards the end of the record, but they still do manage to keep things fresh. Like I said, though, most of the tracks do sound rather similar compared to one another, but there are some highlights. The few tracks that do stand out most to me are fifth track “Black Silk,” seventh track “Underdog (feat. Doug F. and Cheldon McQueen)”, ninth track “Grip,” and tenth track “Light It Up (feat. Awsten Knight of Waterparks).” These are the tracks that really stuck out to me, and show the group at their best. Not to mention, they also show the guest spots of the record, and they’re done insanely well. These artists have appeared on True Facts, but it doesn’t make their return any less wonderful.
The only problem with this record is that it does sound quite similar throughout; even with the added addition of clean choruses and catchy hooks, it doesn’t quite save the record. They have honed in on their sound, and it works, but only for so long. There are some stellar tracks on this record, and as a whole, it does hold up, but if you’re not a fan of hip-hop, it might be hit or miss for you. However, if you are a fan of hip-hop, this should hit a very nice sweet spot for you. I may not the biggest fan of the genre, but I certainly do enjoy it.