ALBUM REVIEW: DTMD – Makin’ Dollas

It seems that in 2011 people tend to shudder at the notion of “old school hip-hop.” Instead of the Maybachs and bottle service of popular rap, “old school,” conjures up a connotation of 40 year old grumpy  men sitting in a room head-nodding to the rare Japan Pete Rock vinyl.

But then there is DTMD.

No doubt the Maryland duo’s sound is steeped in nostalgia. In fact their name is a direct play off of EPMD and their beat selection is most certainly a throwback to the non-gentrified DC era of the mid-90s. But the similarities stop there. The duo–composed of rapper Toine and producer Dunc–use the sound a a palate, a jumping off point if you will, and their full length stands out from the literally thousands of rap projects out this year.

From day one it seems, DTMD were students of the game. What really stands out on this album versus prior projects is Dunc’s beat selection. The kid goes deeper this time around, utilizing more samples (“Untitled,” “The Struggle Is Real,”) and crafting a sound that runs the spine of the whole album. But more impressive is when Dunc gets on the keys as with tracks like “95 Live,” “The Flame,” and the standout single “You,” adding an added touch to the production.

Equally as impressive is Toine’s accession as an MC. The 21 year old still retains his everyman style, but on this project it has a bit more swagger. With lines like “lyrically I’m Coltrane /You’re Kenny G/Ain’t got no damn soul/just empty similes” the dude is proving to be a feisty battle rapper as well.

With standout tracks on this album such as “A Loan for the Lonely,” and “The Struggle Is Real,” Makin’ Dollas will get spins on my iPod for years to come. Don’t be fooled, these guys are changing the game. And did I mention they were barely 21?

9 out of 10