Despite being the United States’ fourth largest metropolitan area, Dallas has never experienced a sustained Hip Hop movement. While several hits have charted over the past 18 months, none of which have surpassed the city’s latest major label artist, Dorrough. As a product of the Triple D‘s mixtape circuit, his rise to stardom was launched in 2007 with his Prime Time Click crew’s hit “Do Tha Muscle” and followed up with last year’s “Halle Berry,” which would later be scandalously reworked by Hurricane Chris [click to read]. Signed to a one-album deal with E1, Dorrough enlisted nine producers and six guest features for his debut blandly titled Dorrough Music, nearly all of which are Texans. Kicking off with “Boy I Grind,” Mr. D-O-Double R stays true to his mixtape fan base, freestyling over the hard-hitting Todd Hamburger-produced track.
After signing with the label earlier this year, Dorrough released two singles simultaneously. Inspired by the party scene at Prairie View A&M University (one-time home of DJ Premier), “Walk That Walk” was performed at the 2009 BET Awards after peaking at #20 on Billboard‘s Hot Rap Tracks. His other single, the 2Much-produced “Ice Cream Paint Job,” is Dallas’ biggest hit in recent memory, reaching #48 on the Billboard Top 100, dethroning last year’s “Stanky Legg.”
Featured on the “Ice Cream Paint Job” remix, Dorrough and E1 labelmate Slim Thug [click to read] rejoin for his third single “Piece & Chain Swangin,” alongside Houstonian J’Pen Jail‘s Auto-Tune vocals. Having worked together on “I Stay,” played during the “Ice Cream Paint Job” video, Tum Tum and Dorrough are reunited on the Todd Hamburger-produced, “Trunk Bang.” In addition to contributing to the “Walk That Walk” remix, on “She Ain’t Got It All,” Lil’ Flip [click to read] and Dorrough tell a revealing tale of female fans’ initially overlooked imperfections.
Like “Walk That Walk,” Dorrough offers a variety of tracks about the opposite sex, from several different angles. Released as the album’s street single, the interracial anthem “Carmel Sundae” appears on the album as a bonus track, after being featured on another E1 release. On “This Time You Was Wrong,” pleads his faithfulness, after raised accusations due to previous infidelity. For the Recka-produced “What’s My Ringtone,” Dorrough and Prime Time Click‘s Tomeka Pearl trade verses about selecting the perfect ringtone for their significant other.
Unlike his mixtapes, Dorrough illustrates a more personal side of himself on Dorrough Music. With the assistance of Tomeka Pearl on “Hood Song,” Mr. Yeah Buddy expresses his closeness to his Dallas roots. Delving deeper on “Never Changed,” a repentant Dorrough sends a P.S.A. to his older half-brother, whom he had a falling out with. On the powerful rap-rock fusion “Feel This Way,” a depressed D. Dorrough outcries to the Lord about difficulties with coping with his daughter’s disorder, while elaborating on his dysfunctional relationship with his brother.
With several album leftovers surfacing, underwhelming tracks like the Mista Mac-assisted “Flashout,” and “A Whole Lotta” should have been substituted with better songs from the cutting room floor, such as the Chalie Boy-assisted “Rap Game Kick Door” or “Ms. Parker.” In addition, Dorrough‘s extensive mixtape career has unfortunately prevented standout tracks, such as “Texas Boi” and the Miss Keke-assisted “Swangin Beatin Down Blvds,” from appearing on his debut album.
Clinching #4 on iTunes‘ Top Hip-Hop/Rap Albums chart, the 22-year-old is no doubt a foot soldier in Dallas’ Hip Hop movement. However, it is questionable whether D. Dorrough is the “ultimate artist” that production duo Play-N-Skillz and other Dallas natives are praying for. Despite his aptitude for success, his unmemorable and often undistinguishable style; lukewarm lyricism; and relatively low industry support, leave Dorrough with plenty of room for improvement for his sophomore album.