NEW ARTIST FINDS: DPBTS! Are DPE!
So, the first thing I have to address with DPBTS!, aka Dopebots, is why don’t they just call themselves Dopebots? Not everything needs an acronym to go with your hashtag nowadays, kids. I just saw a hat yesterday that abbreviated Brixton Academy to BRXTN; this obsession with taking everything down to 140 characters is really starting to get to me. Though it would be interesting to see if it could, I don’t think a language can survive on consonants alone. I will thus, in protest spell Dopebots’ full name out for the entirety of this article.
Old lady grammar admonishments out of the way, new hip hop(ish) artist Dopebots are delightful, and we must thank curator Brian Hadsell for bringing it to BitCandy. A mashup of the elements I think are actually good about today’s indie music culture (there aren’t many), they combine soulful vocals, slow, simmering beats, and early 00s hardcore dirty south sampling in a way which not only speaks to multiple genres, but kind of makes its own genre up along the way. It’s an urban music collage!
The title track from Dopebots’ 2012 album, Punches, is an exemplary collage, first and foremost showcasing Elle Leatham’s soulful, Alicia Keys-like vocals, while beatmaker Darrell Pate’s minimalist, slightly trip-hop drums carry them effortlessly. This is not terribly unconventional nowadays, but the ironic twist is the introduction of a hard dirty south, Lil Jon-esque vox sample. This adds a surprise element to the tune, and wakes up the listener: don’t be fooled, fool. This is hip hop. Check out Dopepeats’ foundations on their SoundCloud stream, which also includes a free download of the entire EP.
DpBts! (ok, it’s kinda fun to type it that way) most recent album, called Easy, was released in January, and expands upon the base they built with Punches. The first track, “Beast of Resistance,” contains beats so minimal and stripped down that they sound like they were made on an old Casio keyboard, which I’m not knocking; I wish I still had mine. Leatham’s soulful lyrics are present, strong as ever but the lyrics themselves seem to carry a more political and thoughtful strain, taking the duo’s Bay Area sensibilities out for a test run. The surprise sample is there as well, with a warbling spaceship tone that sounds like it came off of an old Nokia cell phone, or perhaps out of George Clinton’s toilet tank. Stream “Beast of Resistance” on Bandcamp:
The rest of Easy isn’t quite as serious. “The Hoodie Song,” for example, is about hoodies, and who wouldn’t love that? Fascist hoodie-haters, that’s who! This track also features a fun and very experimental beat which, combined with my love of hoodies, makes it easily my favorite track on Easy. Throw your best hoodie on and jam out on their Bandcamp page.
Easy is available to stream in its entirety on Dopebeats’ Bandcamp page, and is also available to download in multiple file formats, and fans can name their price – I will never stop thanking Radiohead for coming up with that.
Despite my moral qualms with their acronymed name, DpBts! are the perfect chill-out-smoke-a-spliff-in-your-hoodie hip hop fusion, and I recommend streaming or copping both Punches and Easy as soon as you can get your hands free from the sleeves of your sweatshirt. Enjoy!
About Layla Marino
Layla Marino is a music and street art blogger with 17 years in the industry. She focuses exclusively on underground music, art, and culture, and loves working with BitCandy to find and bring new artists to a wider audience.