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Beer and a Shot: Dorner vs. Tookie

I think Hellfyre Club’s recent compilation’s title has a typo in it.

Shouldn’t there be an ‘x’ where the ‘vs.’ is? Usually, vs. implies conflict: That the two elements are engaged in a battle. X, on the other hand, symbolizes multiplication: Individual pieces being combined to create something greater.  The emcees of the Hellfyre collective — imprint — whatever-the-fuck word you want to use to identify a group of friends, musicians, creative collaborators, and entrepreneurs — are unified by their Dorner x Tookie philosophy re: Rap music.  

Each rapper is a marriage of Christopher Dorner’s (R.I.P.) anti-establishment aggression and Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams’ (R.I.P.) life affirming belief that you can be the change that will make the difference.  They are also a bunch of unapologetic assholes who are making rap music the way that they want to.  Well, except Open Mike Eagle, who actually has a track called ‘Apologies’ featured on the compilation.  Too soon?  Fuck it.  

The title track (2nd after the intro) serves as a barometer for what’s to come (lyrically, at least).  Hellfyre Club’s core members: Nocando, Open Mike Eagle, KAIL, Rheteric Ramirez, Busdriver, and VerBS (why isn’t there more VerBS on this album… just sayin’), all drop Mike Tyson part sharp verses in a banger that would make Wu Tang posse cuts proud.  What follows is some of the best and most interesting rap music to peak its head out of the indie-hop sphere since the release of one of the compilations highlights, Open Mike Eagle’s ‘Qualifiers.’  Check ‘Fabian Cortez’ and ask yourself why Rheteric Ramirez and Nocando haven’t done a full project together.  Listen to Milo’s ‘Ecclesiastes’ and hear what PM Dawn would have sounded like if they smoked DMT and majored in philosophy (this is good thing by the way).  The entire project is imbued with charismatically confident, intelligently crafted, insightful lyrics that are delivered in impeccable deliveries over beats that confidentially march into the next era of rap music.  Old School craft married with New School vision: Dorner x Tookie. If you like what you hear, support the artists and buy the album by clicking here.

For more Hellfyre Club, just click here.

Written by Manny King John


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