Review: “Black Rome” by Dough the Freshkid

Dough the Freshkid (DTFK) is a hip-hop artist out of South Central, California who works under his own independent label, Every Penny Counts (EPC). On Thanksgiving Day of 2018, DTFK released his 15-track album titled “Black Rome”.

As a hip-hop lover, the very first thing that stood out to me about this album was the production. DTFK’s use of sampling and boom bap beats creates an old school sound that my ears personally love. The use of real jazz instrumentation helps add to the overall musicality of the project. Also, DTFK utilizes record scratches at times which again results in that sweet old school sound.

The album starts out with the song “Sunday Service” which uses a Gospel choir sample. It almost reminds me on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”. This lively track helps to set the initial tone for the album; however, there are several tone changes throughout.

The project has many features; however, I feel that they are well placed and that they all hold quality. The songs “We Rich” and “Cookin” both have multiple features and it’s very clear that DTFK only chose extremely talented artists to spit verses on his tracks. (Shout out to Top Dolla, Wink Loc, and 1 Shot Dealz on “Cookin”)

Speaking honestly, I’m not sure if there is a single bad song on the album. “Black Rome” has delightfully woke messaging without sounding too forced or too preachy. DTFK raps about politics throughout the album but uses facts to get his messages across. There are segments where he speaks over the beat in order to get specific points across without having to actually rap them; similar to Jay-Z on his recent album 4:44. (a tactic used in hip-hop for decades). His subject matter ranges from church and religion, to drug dealing, racism, the state of hip-hop and even his opinion of Instagram models (lol check out “Unverified Models”)

Although DTFK is independent, after listening to this album, I could easily see him fitting in perfectly with TDE. He has a similar sound to Isaiah Rashad and at times raps similar to 50 Cent, and he has the lyricism to compete with the top tier emcees. At the same time, his choice of production and song topics make me feel like he could also fit in easily with the rappers of the 90s.

This album is an example of hip-hop still being alive and well despite all the trap rap on today’s radio stations. It is also proof that there are many independent, underground artists who are much more talented than the mainstream rappers of today.


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