Jacob Piercey, aka dopepiece, is a local hip-hop artist who has been steadily garnering an impressive buzz for himself. His music videos are littered with nostalgic VHS aesthetic, and his cadence comes equipped with a weirdly tolerable high-pitched swagger as he manages to deliver his punchlines with a rapid fire technique between each bar.
As peculiar as this city’s relationship with local hip-hop has been over the years, there are undoubtedly a few factors that make this particular emcee stand out.
His new album “Dopeace” is being released on Saturday, June 18th at Factory. He was kind enough to give me a sneak peak of the album before his grizzled lo-fi homage to 1990’s rap music graces the streets of St. John’s and abroad.
What makes this album a homage? The most definitive factor of his grassroots approach is that he works exclusively with the same beatmaker, Mike Lambert, aka Mike’L. This dynamic duo’s approach is something you’d often see in early rap groups, such as Gangstarr, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Eric B and Rakim, and more popularly, Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
Secondly, the use of sampling in Mike’L’s beats are undeniably traditionalist at the core. They’re gritty, the drums are dissonant, and the high-end is usually a repetitive jazzy loop sample (which is very typical of 90s era New York rap music).
“Sunroof” is the first track that Jacob has leaked off his new album, and for good reason. It’s undeniably one of the stronger (if not the strongest) endeavours on the album. With summer just around the corner, it serves as appropriate accompaniment for playful summer hedonism and breezy vibes.
My personal favourite track on the album, stylized “Out 4 Da Gu$to” featuring Yung Wise, represents some classic materialistic content juxtaposed with a feeling of loneliness and distrust for those around. A few of his other frequent collaborators are featured, such as Irwin, Maze, and Mak11, whose “New Atlantis” mixtape is making some moves around the country in its own right.
The only aspect of “Dopeace” that somewhat misses the mark for me are the multiple interludes. As someone who grew up listening to trashy Wu-Tang style interludes full of aimless conversations that serve no purpose other than shock value, I do appreciate what the duo was going for.
With that said, I feel this album could have been executed just as well with less interruption. Regardless, Mike’L’s productions stay catchy and intriguing at the very least, so the interludes don’t throw off the flow of the album too much.
Ultimately, what Dope Piece and Mike’L succeed to do with this 18-track album is combine the trials and tribulations of Fogtown with a wash of classic hiphop style . While locals seemingly cringed in the past whenever our homebred rappers attempted to take this angle, somehow, Dope Piece and Mike’L make it work. Catch their CD release at Factory on June 18th.