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I haven’t exactly been getting a lot of albums coming at me lately, which has had me looking around for albums to review. While I’m cutting back on my duties as staff writer at the Reader, I’ll still be doing album reviews for the near future. While some might say that Facebook isn’t exactly a good use of time or rather distracting, that’s how I’ve found out about a number of new releases including this new full length album dropped on December 1.
Bryan Wick (aka Dubz) has been around the Twin Ports’ hip-hop scene for a number of years now and just released his second album titled “Throw It On My Tab.” I have to say this album is pretty ambitious at 17 tracks and exclusively features just Dubz himself. I’m not certain how much he help he got with the beats, recording and production on this album, but it stands out as another solid hip-hop album out of the area. The album is released by W.D. Entertainment. I’m guessing this is with Willie Diction, another hip-hop artist in the area.
If there’s one thing about local hip-hop, there tends to be plenty of area shout-outs. The album starts with the track “Rhyme Sayer.” Dubz brings up that he’s from the home of the Rhyme Sayers (Minnesota), making a reference to the Minneapolis hip-hop label. However, “I’m better being indie, and WD is the label that pays me,” raps Dubz. As far as I know, hip-hop artists up here make about as much as punk rock groups, which is just about nothing, but it’s a nice sentiment that original local music makes money.
The title track on the album “Throw It on My Tab” is kind of a tongue in cheek song. “If your girlfriend bought my CD, throw it on my tab/If your little brother want to be me, throw it on my tab.” Lines such as “chilling with the Packer fans eating cheese curds” and a line about Crocs, as in the footwear, I get the feeling that the track isn’t meant to be serious, but perhaps taking a jab at other hip-hop that is materialistic and money oriented. Looking at the cover of the album, Dubz is wearing a Northstars jersey over a button up shirt and a tie while holding an umbrella with money raining down on him.
While the album does have a sense of humor here and there, it does get a little more real with tracks like “Good News.” The song reflects on everything from a cancer diagnosis, to divorce, to death and suicide. “Whatever the issue/realize that the reason you’re still here is cause you found a way to persevere”, raps Dubz.
Two tracks that somehow correlate with each are “Being Single Sucks” and “Emily Kay.” “Single” goes over some the pros to be single, but the overall downside to being perpetually lonely, while “Emily Kay” is about finding someone and a bit more hopeful, at least for Dubz. Local references such as the line, “Pretty crazy that we met on Tinder, we went bowling after Thirsty Pagan pizza dinner” pop up in this song and here and there on the album overall. The songs being back to back makes me wonder exactly how long Dubz has been working on this material.
One thing I’m certain of is that there was a good amount of work put into this album on many levels. The beats and production to the lyrics hold up pretty well for a local indie hip-hop album. With 17 tracks, this isan’t an album that happened overnight, but rather highlights a selection of some decent hip-hop out of Dubz. While it seems that a lot of rappers from this area have moved to the Twin Cities, it’s only a matter of time before Dubz gets on stage again. In the mean time, check out www.dubzmusic.com for downloads or how to get a physical copy. I honestly just listened to it off of Youtube where the entire album is available track by track.