For the Record: You Can’t Rap Forever by Dadadoh

rap forever 700by Mark Anderson

You Can’t Rap Forever, the latest album from local phenom Dadadoh is a punk rawk, hip hop, melodic rock mind-bender and currently presiding as my new favorite release from the Phoenix artist.

More radical then Radical (his last release and first full length) and, for this new album, Dadadoh went back to basics – writing, recording, and producing everything himself. The result I feel is something uniquely him.  It bears the stamp of an artist striking out on his own creatively.

In order to present the album to an audience, however, he needed to form a band. And, not just any band with refillable slots to be taken up by “Musician X”, but rather, one that functions as an actual statement to the music and message that Dadadoh represents. Thus, Dadadoh + The P.o.C. was born. But more on that later.

Jumping right out the gate with “Trouble”, the album sets a brand new tone for Dadadoh, one full of distorted guitars and crashing drums. With a quick gear change, “Give You The World” offers an ode to a now former love: “I wanna give you the world/I gotta let you go.” Featuring an upbeat rhythm and shuffling, jazz drumming; this is one that gets your head nodding for sure.

Proving that he’s just begun to break it down, Dadadoh goes full on acoustic guitar mode with “Just What You Like”. Another tale of romantic intrigue, Dadadoh’s story-telling ability shines as bright here as it does on the previous track.

“FOH!”, the first single from You Can’t Rap Forever and our first glimpse at the new Dadadoh sound just blew me away the first time I heard it and it still does now. Hearkening the sounds of early Beastie Boys and Run D.M.C. but with a modern sensibility and language Dadadoh breaks it down: “I know what it really does/And I does what it really did/I tried not cursing on this record homie/So i had to put it down just like this.”

Hand percussion, acoustic guitar and Dadadoh’s vocals are all that make up “The Reintroduction”. Now I’m not sure if that sounds appealing to you or not, but trust me, it works. The song contains my favorite line of the album, “I’m in the magazine/They callin’ me the feature/See me out with 20 Ft. address me as the deacon/Givin’ Erick Sermons/Paid in full like a preacher/If you wanna buy the music then I beseech you.”

Closing with “Not Yet”, the last time I had heard this song was acoustically for YabYum’s very own Songs From the Reading Room session so I’m completely excited to hear it in it’s full-on rocknroll glory here.

At only six songs in length, I have the cliché critique that I simply wish there was more tracks to this album. Needing to know more, I contacted Dadadoh and asked him some questions about the new album and band and he was kind enough to send back his response. Read the full interview below.

YabYum: You Can’t Rap Forever [YCRF] seems to be a play on words in that not only do you seem to be broadening your horizons by singing more and rapping less on this release, one can literally not rap forever due to death (I first heard this expressed by you at the YCRF release show). Is this the case?

Dadadoh: When I’m working on projects I always approach them as if it’d be the last thing I’d ever make and that’s kind of funny to me when I think about that being an ever present influence in my creative process. I couldn’t help but feel like that’d be the perfect title for something being so sonically different from my previous work.

It also answers the question of why I decided to go that route. All my solo albums are one word, three syllable titles and I wanted you to know based off the title alone that it would be unlike anything else I’ve released thus far.

Although not exactly expressed on your Bandcamp page, for the release show of YCRF, and subsequent live shows after that, you now seem to be performing as Dadadoh + The P.O.C. Is this the same band that recorded the album with you or did you play all the instruments for the release and have the band learn the songs afterword? (I know you play drums, bass, and guitar so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case…)

 I recorded everything myself as a blueprint for the type of sound I wanted. At first I sent it to people to see what they thought. This album was never intended to be released at all but by the time I was finished with it came off as really cool. It’s a fun listen. The more I listened to it the more it grew on me. At times the music comes off as a sound collage and I really like that. It’s essentially what a band would sound like if a beat maker executive produced their album. It felt like something Rick Rubin would do and he’s easily one of my favorite producers.

What prompted you to form a band and release music that sounds like nothing else you’ve done before? I remember when you brought your acoustic guitar to the Songs from the Reading Room session; was this the beginning of you playing instruments or have you been playing them awhile?

I’ve been playing guitar in bands long before I moved to Phoenix and became a rapper. Becoming a rapper in a city I wasn’t from seemed very impossible at one time in my life and I think that’s what drew me to it. My idea of what’s impossible changes all the time because I repeatedly give myself these extravagant goals as a way to push myself into places I’ve never been. Putting together a band was the next impossible.

I told myself I’d never do it again but I eventually thought about it and the exact way I’d want to do it if I ever decided to. I knew I’d have to have demos of what I wanted or it wouldn’t work because I think representation is really important. You want to see yourself in the world you live in. Before I put the band together I knew it had to be unlike anything else out. People love options and they want an alternative and that’s exactly what had to happen with the band.

Growing up in a small town I was surrounded by ignorance and intolerance. There were people in my life who told me I couldn’t do things because of my race. It was important that the band reflected that part of myself. I’ve had this idea for this exact type of band ever since I was 15, so to see it come to fruition after all this time has been very rewarding. 

Who are the members of the P.o.C.? Did they help write any of the material on YCRF or will they help with writing credits going forward?

Once I wrapped the songs I sent them over to Jimmie Lewis, David Giron and Andy Warpigs because I respect their opinions and they were honestly my only choice for possible band members. Andy was the only person from the band who actually made it onto YCRF. During the mastering process he felt like “Give You the World” was lacking more depth so he laid down another guitar track and it really linked everything together.

I don’t want this to become a jam band and all our influences are so different that if I was to allow more influence in the song writing process the vision would get diluted. We are working on new music but the majority of it I’m still writing and arranging most of it.

My only complaint about this album is that most if not all the songs seem to be one sweet riff that you figured out and then play with different dynamics throughout the entire thing. It reminds me of hiphop however in that the beat and melody are established and don’t differ during the course of the song. Was this done on purpose for that or any reason? However, your lyrics completely carry each song so perhaps that was the focus anyway?

The lyrics have always been the most important thing to me when it comes to writing. The human voice can create a connection unlike any other instrument. If you really listened to what I’m saying you could really learn something and that’s important to me. I wanted the music to remind you of some of my favorite rock sub-genres without fully committing to the aesthetic of that sound.

It allows me to do what it is I do in another space, which has opened the doors for me to continue pushing myself creatively. I’m still working on making the music more intricate but the lyrics will always be at the forefront of what I’m doing.

Where does Dadadoh go from here? More releasees? More bands? Any touring in the works??

We’ve got a few more shows this month and then we’re going on a hiatus until next year. We’ll be recording music for a full length album that will include all new originals and re-recorded version of the songs from the EP as a full band. In my mind The P.o.C. will become its own entity but right now it’s clearly just me with a band. We’re currently booked until March of next year but we’re also working on booking a few gigs during the summer out of Phoenix.

I’m also working on the follow up to Radical and I’m taking my time with it to make sure it’s got that same vibe as before but elevated to that next level. I’ve got a few wild ideas for merch that I’d like to see happen too.

Is there anything about you or YCRF that I failed to ask that you would want folx to know?

DaDadoh + The P.o.C. has been really fun and I look forward to all the crazy things we’ve got coming. I’m a firm believer that you’ve got to do something different if you want different results and this band is a testament to that.