GUESS WHO’S BACK!GUESS WHO’S BACK!GUH-GUESS WHO’S BACK! There’s some unintended pathos to the opening track of Crowns Down, the new album from Themselves. Yes, it’s been seven years, and this is a kickass album by anyone’s standards, but did the reputation of Jel, Pedestrian, and DoseOne (as maestros of indie- and/or white- hip hop) actually grow in the interim? In a parallel universe, Adam Drucker didn’t come second in that legendary battle-rhyme contest with Marshall Mathers III, but went on to fame and fortune, and his weird quacking speed-rap brought sophisticated satire to the masses and intelligentsia alike, instead of pimping the romance of poverty, and reclaiming underdog-as-hero status for white trash. Okay, that universe doesn’t make much sense (and 8 Mile remains a feelgood classic, for not having a climactic contest between two white guys), but you’d have hoped that the existential concept-trilogy DoseOne made with Subtle would have sealed his rep.
My elementary school teacher told my class that he believed you were granted a certain number of words in your life, and once you've said them all, you die. (Yeah, in elementary school-- he was a pretty weird dude.) The fact that Doseone is still sucking air contradicts his theory. The motor-mouthed rapper would have used up any reasonable allotment after Themselves' 1999 debut, Them, and he's continued to vent his glossomania with Subtle, cLOUDDEAD, 13 & God, and other projects over the ensuing decade.