Last Saturday night, we went with some friends to see Themselves play a show at Bottom of the Hill. If you don’t know, Themselves is rapper Dose One and beatman Jel, both of the Anticon label. I’ve been digging these guys and others in their crew for about ten years now, and Michelle and I have enjoyed many shows, all of which greatly exceed any other hip hop live acts we’ve seen (Anti-Pop Consortium included).
So they just released a free “mixtape,” (theFREEhoudini) full of collaborations with other rappers in the family, and some songs off their upcoming album, Crownsdown. Dose has been straying from straight rap a bit in the past years, with Subtle and 13 & God projects, and I enjoy that stuff, but it’s great to hear him get back to some pretty badass fast rap (delivered in his famous nasally voice). And Jel…damn! He mans an MPC, a sampler that he triggers by playing it like a bongo (check out this video, really). Incredibly deft, he makes button-pushing a real musical art.
Lemme just say they had me captivated. Between each song (they played stuff from all over their career thus far), Dose would chat with the crowd, throw out strange nonsense jokes, and just generally be uniquely entertaining. Then back to the next song, where he would spit incredibly fast rhythmic lyrics with such ease. I wished the show was longer, I wished the crowd had joined our calls for a second encore, and I wish that opener Odd Nosdam’s set hadn’t been such an utter trainwreck. Otherwise… damn! Thanks for the great music, guys.
Oh yeah… Pitchfork just posted an interview with Dose One about his various projects and current activities here.