Dotz, a former battle rap champion hailing from Bedford, emerged onto the UK rap circuit in his late teens, before impressing the likes of Sway by winning the Jump Off 2013 final. Dotz then went on to compete in the Don’t Flop battle rap charter, before making a momentous move by unifying with legendary Luton lyricist Si Phili to form the mighty Phili ‘N’ Dotz duo. Together they released their collaborative full length album ‘Phil ‘N’ The Dotz’ in 2014, achieving huge new-found acclaim throughout underground hip-hop across both sides of the pond.
Last year alone saw the release of three solo EP’s from Dotz, not to mention many more collaborations worldwide. Currently set to release his 6th solo project ‘Bring The Soul Back’, Dotz is showing no signs of stopping. ‘Bring The Soul Back’ is a fresh five track offering, entirely produced by Philadelphia based producer Elbe Kim, which will drop June 26th on True Unity Records.
Although Dotz’s last EP ‘The Life And Times Of John Rockwell’ was full of synth-heavy bravado, ‘Bring The Soul Back’ essentially depicts the speaker at his most vulnerable. According to a press release, half of the lyrics were wrote before Dotz went to rehab for help with a major opiate addiction, whereas the other half were wrote after.
The introductory single, ‘Bring The Soul Back’, demonstrates Dotz’s verbal finesse with raw, rapid flows over an uplifting hip-hop instrumental. The boastful first verse is predictable with what we’ve become used to hearing from Dotz, however he pulls it back on the second verse, relieving his experiences as a youngster and evaluating the impacts, which are relatable for the listener.
The following track, ‘See No Evil’ featuring JabbaThaKut on the cuts, is powerful because Dotz turns the pain he’s endured over the past year into hard-hitting wordplay with brazen transparency, providing the listener with a real insight into Dotz’s mindstate under the grips of drug addiction:
I’ve buried friends this year, I watched a brother OD
I’ve been to hell and back but then you’d know that if you knew me
Addiction’s got a grip on me, anxiety controls me
But mostly, my reclusive nature leaves me lonely
Track three, ‘We Need You To Fight’ also featuring JabbaThaKut, is a motivational anthem which beckons the listener to fight against the odds. Throughout the track Dotz doesn’t focus solely on his personal woes, instead he urges the listener to actively challenge political and social issues which we all encounter.
‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ is a change of pace as Dotz rhymes a realist love rendition to his soulmate, reminiscing the emotional times as craftily converts his heartfelt passion into words:
All in all To the one that saved my life right after she saved my heart
And gave me a safe haven when I was falling apart
To the woman that believed in me, seen me torn to shards
Every good project needs a good cypher. The final single, ‘Box With Gods’, is a relentless fisticuff of flows over an apocalyptic instrumental from Elbe Kim, featuring the likes of Blizzard, Tony D & Blak Twang among others who feature hard-hitting lyrics alongside Dotz to finish.
Picking up the pieces, turning them into art, ‘Bring The Soul Back’ is another dope demonstration of Dotz’s capabilities as a lyricist. Dotz never really had issues with making himself heard before, however freestyle flows become all too familiar, so it’s great to hear something different which really resonates after the music stops. The hardest thing for any rapper to do is rhyme from the heart, to narrate true stories from their own unique experiences. It’s a talent which segregates boys from men – one which even Dotz is still mastering – but if ‘Bring The Soul Back’ proves anything, it is that Dotz will only come back stronger and more determined when he is set to release his long anticipated solo LP.
Review by @EthanEverton
Bring The Soul Back is out 24/06/16 and available on here