Updated: Aug 5, 2020
One thing about the rapper Vern Dolla: He's adaptable. Without everyone needing to stay home because of COVID-19. Vern Dolla has been able to create music that fits the times and the environment that people are in. Nine times out of ten means staying home and smoking weed. And lots of it. And now that he's established himself as one of the stars of an ascendant Internet-friendly stoner-rap scene, he's released a small E.P titled "$hit 4 U 2 Smoke Too".
Dolla's verses aren't punchline marathons; they're stoned reveries, and it can be riveting to hear him depict certain situations with loose, unhurried narrative precision: "Catch a fist to your face and that's word of mouth pussy".
But he's also great at coming up with sharp, unexpected ways to address standard rap topics. On his weed-smoking capacity. His lyrics are full of slick little tricks, tiny turns of phrase that sneak up on you after multiple listens but which dazzle in their economy when you parse them out."These niggas switching, switching, they stay Nintendo switching".
And his rap style doesn't employ the sort of attention-grabbing punchlines that leap through club speakers to grab you. Instead, his delivery is more an unhurried run-on that hits various ideas and images along the way without pounding any of them home. And it's remarkable how completely at home he sounds on just about any form of beat that he attempts. So maybe the best thing about Dolla's new E.P is the way these unassuming beats give him room to operate. You can hear the man better on this album than you can on many of his recent efforts. And that gives us plenty of room to admire his slick little turns of phrase.
While some that prefer their hip-hop to be more socially conscious may not be fond of Dolla's lyrical content, even they could not deny that he spits with the best of them. His flow is not particularly fast, and he isn’t a master of wordplay, but his power is undeniable.
However, there's plenty of zoned-out atmosphere on the tape, but it's a strong, focused, unified piece of work, not just a lava-lamp soundtrack. It stands on its own.
Stream "$shit 4 U 2 Smoke too", now available on: all streaming platforms.
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