Visions of strange hip-hop collaborations ran through my head looking at this album’s title. I can hear Noreaga and Styles P singing “WE SMOKIN’ SOUR DIESEL, LIKE EVERYDAYYYY” while Vinnie Paz raps about massacres in Tiananmen Square and UFO’s created by secret government agencies. The man they’re attempting to present on this album may be a fan of the chronic, but that doesn’t mean he rolls with N.O.R.E., nor does being presented by JMT make him a Verbal Hologram. Doap Nixon forged his own identity with an appearance on the second Army of the Pharaohs album, but to be honest it didn’t immediately occur to me that performance justified an entire solo release. That’s not a diss on Doap in any way, but by way of comparison it’s not like hearing Redman on an EPMD album and thinking “HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS GUY’S SOLO ALBUM WILL BE THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD.” Some rappers are great cameo artists, and some are Busta Rhymes in Leaders of the New School – you just know that sooner or later they’ll break out on their own.
Doap (rhymes with soap) may not have struck me as that type of MC, but sometimes you just have to break out on your own whether it’s expected or not. “Sour Diesel” benefits from the Jedi Mind Tricks affiliation, as it creates the expectation that some ominous rhymes and overpowering beats will be found on every track. Thankfully for Doap Nixon this short 12 track album isn’t track after track of beats from Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind or cameo raps by Vinnie and Jus Allah. That’s not to say any of the above would be unwelcome, but if you’re trying to establish Doap Nixon as a solo star he needs the BRAND to create interest while his RAP retains interest. The Stu Bangas produced “Behind the Music” sets things off on a good note with the same kind of grimy eletronic New York track you’d hear Prodigy on (think Alchemist) while Doap’s flow comes off as a cross between Paz and Sabac Red.
“Tryin to juggle shorty and a hustle
Rap career plus addiction to a substance
It’s gettin ill, I ain’t seein no progress
Lights shut off I gotta crash at the God’s rest
Wakin up on the couch, notebook on my lap
Need a good jux just to get back
But small problem, when you in the hood with drama
Niggaz put a price on your wig like Osama
I had to get on a route, that was all about spittin heavy
Gettin fetti, plus movin out”
It’s not the most progressive rhyme scheme ever seen on wax, but when combined with a natural intensity in delivery and breath control above average Doap Nixon manages to come off charismatic. There’s no question that Nixon has more respect from his hip-hop peers than the President ever did because the underground heads come through to help put him on the map. Reef the Lost Cauze and Demoz help Nixon “Get Dirty,” Cauze and Planetary get “Gangsta” over a heavy guitar rock track from Vanderslice and on “Tis the Season” both Good Money and Nature take the time to shine on another banger from Stu. Even though Doap could easily be overwhelmed with this many guns on wax, the latter track proves he’s got enough firepower to hang even with an underground Queensbridge legend.
“Most of these rappers are lame, this game pussy
And I’m off my twist so don’t push me
I think it’s time to get knee deep in this conflict
So sick when the darts spit, I live where Saddam is
Don’t make me plant this foot right in your ass fucker
And make you clean it off, like you ate at the last supper
From B&O to QB, more realer than Kool G.
European joint with two speeds”
Doap Nixon’s album isn’t the easiest to summarize. It’s clear that fans of Army of the Pharaohs or Jedi Mind Tricks will appreciate this album. It’s clear that Doap Nixon is a raw talent that in the future could develop into an MC as rugged as Vinnie Paz. It’s also clear that he relies heavily on good beats and sheer charisma to make up for some shortcomings as a lyricist, and that without the family connections he has he could be just another charismatic unsigned underground MC. While “Sour Diesel” is a good album, it’s probably not as potent as what Noreaga and Styles P were smoking on their joint.