D.O.G.: Champagne Dreams: The Prequel
Over the summer, South Baltimore rapper D.O.G. was lifted out of obscurity to local fame when his single “Hello” hit 92Q’s regular rotation and became one of the station’s most requested songs, landing him the opening spot for Young Jeezy’s recent show at Hammerjacks. Gliding across a sample of Ronald Isley’s voice, “Hello” is a romantic R&B crossover track as smooth as Christian Dior velour. But little else on his mix tape The Prequel is so cuddly, as D.O.G. specializes in the kind of grimy street-rap practiced by New York crews like the Diplomats, right down to a voice that resembles that of Dipset’s Jim Jones. Released in advance of D.O.G.’s forthcoming album, The Prequel is mixed by DJ/producer Clinton Sparks, fresh off the success of recent high-profile mix tapes with the Clipse and Eminem.
The Prequel is peppered with freestyles such as “Welcome to Baltimore” (over the beat from Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock”), but the highlights are D.O.G.’s own songs. “Higher” is a strangely catchy anti-snitching anthem, and “Slug Life” and “Soldier” are promising showcases for John Boe and Landlord, members of D.O.G.’s Invisible Set crew. But for all the tough talk, D.O.G. is at his best on “Foot Prints of a Dream,” an introspective flashback to the golden-era hip-hop that ignited his passion for music and made him start rapping in the first place.