As we enter March, most would agree that 2021 has been a pretty quiet year for hip-hop releases. Save for a few choice records, this new year has been severely lacking in hard-hitting hip-hop and genre-pushing instrumentals. Luckily, this week Virginia rapper Al-Doms ends this musical drought with his newest EP NEW DREAM – his first project since 2019’s New Day. On this release, which as of writing is one of my favorites of 2021, Al-Doms delivers 25 minutes of masterful rapping that sounds somehow both hard-hitting and effortless. NEW DREAM’s production is flawless and its mixes are varied enough to stay consistent without becoming stale. Certain tracks like “RAT RACE” carry hints of a distinctly Houston sound, “ICE CREAM” moreso that of early 00’s NY hip-hop, and fan-favorite “SLANG!” balances melodic inflection with a mix so smooth and bass-laden that Chicago heavyweights like Smino or Saba could have easily been guest stars.
What sets Al-Doms apart from the competition, however, becomes transparent from the earliest moments of the project: his undeniable energy and talent for dynamic flows. Whether on the Awful Records-esque “JUST ANUTHA” (remix with Father, please?), or the six and a half minute closer “I WONDER” with Eric Penn, Al-Doms provides fans with an energy so infectious and uncommon that this new EP should be an instant-add for any fan of hip-hop or modern production. In case you missed it this week, be sure to check out Al-Doms’ NEW DREAM, you won’t regret it.