B. Dolan - Fallen House, Sunken City

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Sage Francis' artist brings organized chaos over-top of some sinister beats from Anticon's Alias.

If you wonder what Providence, Rhode Island rapper B. Dolan’s raps about, just peep his resume: activist and slam poet, known particularly for a very revealing article about American Apparel CEO Dov Charney (needless to say, Charney wasn’t happy with it). Running the website KnowMore.org, which concerns itself with workers’ rights and business ethics, it’s clear what subjects inform B. Dolan’s rhymes. On Fallen House, Sunken City, released through Sage Francis' Strange Famous Records, Dolan delivers his newest raps over production from veteran Anticon producer Alias.


B. Dolan’s journey begins with “Leaving New York,” an apocalyptic-sounding joint with electric guitar stabs and military drums. The topical matter is fitting, as personal battles, scriptures and pilgrimages all get mentions. “Fifty Ways to Bleed Your Customer” twists Paul Simon's '70s break-up message and criticizes everyone from weapons manufacturers to pharmaceutical companies for their unscrupulous business activities. It’s certainly a good lesson in the uglier side of capitalism, and raises a number of important points that few discuss these days.

“The Reptilian Agenda,” has B. Dolan in a furor, introducing itself with a sample of a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney, B. Dolan wastes no time taking the political right to task: “The camera’s eye dilates, focus escapes / A sweeping brush coats the face, petroleum base / Cover up, conceal it in blush / Make the cheeks look flush, at least real enough / Every night, watch it built up in the light / Through the tube in the vacuum / Broadcasting the detached rooms / The suicide cure, the miracle fix / In my guts I know…I try to resist.”

While the aforementioned songs all have the content to be outstanding, they unfortunately suffer due to the fact that they’re essentially interchangeable. Musically, there’s little variety in the first half of the album, and Dolan’s delivery and overall emceeing is exactly the same on each track – that’s why “The Hunter” is such a relief, as it provides a change of pace for the album in both of those departments.

“The Hunter” is an extended metaphor where Dolan assumes the role of a vampire hunter. Over otherworldly production (courtesy of Anticon's Alias) complete with screams and some wicked percussion, B. Dolan waxes sinister: “They’re not human, they’re not the people you remember / They’re the undead, the beast, the cannibal, the predator / They are diseased, they feed off death / There’s a sacred mutilation that’ll lay them to rest.” As the story progresses, the listener is lead to a somewhat shocking conclusion, which makes for one of the album’s most rewarding moments.

“Marvin” sets the gold standard on Fallen House, Sunken City as B. Dolan explores the death of Marvin Gaye at the hands of his father. In fact, just the song’s haunting hook tells can tale all by itself: “Because his father was a man of the Cross / Who said that his son was a slave to the flesh / When the argument ended, the music had stopped / Marvin was left with a whole in his chest.” Over remorseful piano keys, Dolan tell a sale of abuse and anger, which builds to an incredibly powerful climax.

Anyone who listens to Fallen House, Sunken City can hear that B. Dolan has a slew of considerable talents at his disposal. He is a deft lyricist, and knows had to spin a tale that’ll leave the listener’s head spinning. That being said, a good portion of the album just doesn’t engage musically, and Dolan sometimes zeroes in too much on one particular delivery. If you’re into hyper-progressive, occasionally dogmatic rhymes, this Fallen House… is definitely to you. However, others may have more difficulty digesting it – ferocious lyrics or not.

10 Comments

  • hey lame ass

    dont be a punk and take people's comments down just because it hurts your feelings. hahaha. wackest review on this site hands down. go review kitchen appliances. they'll make the type of noises you can handle

  • josef riley plaxton

    This is a 2010 classic IMO, the rawest conscious hip hop shit, even if you don't agree with his political satire. His delivery is nice and beats are sick, disgusting, hot to def...do yourself a favor if you like that raw shit that makes your lip curl and head nod right when you hear the first beat drop....cop that.

  • Gemini Se7en

    I disagree somewhat with the review, I think he changes up his delivery somewhat throughout the album, moreso than other rappers. I personally think this is a really tight and intelligent boom bap album. Alias' production is definately a love or hate thing, but if you want someone with a little more lively of a flow and delivery than your average anticon rapper over some dope alias beats, check it out. Also the song "Fall of T.R.O.Y." deserved some recognition I thought, P.O.S. and B.Dolan both tear that track up

  • Take 92

    Thanks to your review, I have a new album in my top 10. I was surprised to find it at my local record store and was equally impressed by the album. Props to guys like Alias and B Dolan for making original music in a seemingly uninspired age of hip-hop.

  • panos2p

    maybe not alias best productions ever and maybe b. dolan has injustice his self by being a 100% rapper in this album but still for the content only, this record deserves 5 stars.hiphopdx reviews are ridiculous though and star rating is a joke. i hope they make another record though in the near future were b.dolan will do what he does best - spoken word - as he did in his first lp and he totally blew my mind away - (anyone here or anywhere who didn't like still electric????) and alias will use 100% of his talent not making decent banging boom-bap beats but music carpets to escort b.dolans unique work spitting performances, rapping or spoken word. i know that dope content with no traditional hip hop beats and rapping don't make money in our days but what the hell nothing brings money to real artists any more (if your name is not Eminem that is).But as Becket said: try again fail again fail better. next b. dolan & alias record will change the history of rap, remember that.let's just give them a chance now buy buying this brilliant lp (out in vinyl also!).

  • Chris

    Wow. Hip Hop DX - 1.... First of all, proof read your reviews if you want people to take what you said serious, guy. Second, all one can surmise from your review is that if you're not smart, don't buy this album....? This album is produced by Alias. The Fucking Dr. Dre of Anticon (and sadly thats an insulting comparison in retrospect). Nuff Said. And Dolan is a whiz. The man is as intelligent as they come and his raps display that. "Difficulty digesting..." - give me a break. If you want to be commanded by your hip hop i.e. do this dance move or put your hands up, then no this album is not for you. But if you would like a break from hip hop’s monotony and the nastiest rap anthems of 2010 so far, buy FHSC. Matter of fact go to strangefamous.com. You're doing it right Sage!!!! I GET BLOODY!!!!!!!!!

  • LAfine

    http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_videos/659615?sel_song_id=3407393&autoplay=1