BAD DOG is a new alternative hip hop duo consisting of rapper DURSO the PILGRIM and producer extraordinaire, Old Eskimo. They fuse together Philadelphia alleyway drunken hobo rantings, and the gutters and sludge of depression, anxiety, cocaine addiction, and alcoholism, paired perfectly together with light humor, and some heart. This is an excellent and refreshingly tense album that will be hailed as a masterpiece in some quarters from people who really, really want you to know that they know where it’s coming from.
Not that they shouldn’t know. Though the sounds here are quite odd there’ve been few rap albums of any era that sound so confident and so anxious at the same time. Compared to the many trap-styled records these days that try to be weird but end up sounding pretty boring, “Anxiety’s” brisk insularity — 11 tracks in just under 35 minutes, with only one going over the four-minute mark — feels not only genuinely strange, but pretty eclectic too, and eclectic isn’t something we get much of, even in experimental hip-hop.
The “Anxiety” title isn’t meant to pander to the hip-hop hipsters, it’s appropriate to the over-arching paranoia. And while the songs swarm over your head like a batch of twitching lab rodents holding industrial buzz-saws, BAD DOG still wants to party hard, rapping and rhyming, and not giving a fuck about the consequences.
While some of the music feels like straight-up nihilism, especially on “Run Rabbit”, “Anxiety”, and “Spiders” (ft. philly cab driver) isn’t as damn-it-all as transpires on the first listen: it’s filled with dread, but it’s the dread of knowing there are consequences that do have meaning.
It’s like BAD DOG broke out of the cage, and are experiencing the ‘bigger and better world’, yet can’t shake the knowledge that this same ‘bigger and better world’ is the one that fucked them up in the first place. This vision is easier grasped on revelatory tracks such as “Heightened”, “Unusual”, “Feel Good/Feel Bad” (ft. Phenomenon) and “Polka Dot”.
BAD DOG excavate the mind and soul’s deteriorating formation and detail its malignant influences, accompanied by tenebrous, psychedelic soundscapes and sonic effects.
The subject matter is mind-bending and sometimes bleak, but the album elides monotony, as Old Eskimo (who produces some absolutely monstrous cuts), constructs a rich sonic palette for DURSO the PILGRIM to manically inhabit.
It’s a compelling blend, as the dark sonics furnish the tracks with a synthetic warmth and dexterity, while the lyrics dwell obsessively in the frigid realms of the twisted and debauched. DURSO the PILGRIM’s rhyme schemes and flow blend the sharp wickedness of Eminem with the out of control rapid-fire of Tech N9ne.
Hence it comes as no surprise that the album consumed by incessant momentum, as BAD DOG explore the outer limits of being wide-eyed and unhinged!