With a name like The Dope Factory, I expected something hard hitting, powerful, as dope as the original Dope Factory depicted in the Cheech & Chong movie “Up In Smoke”. Blazing, so amazing, everything.

The back cover of the CD shows an illustrated version of what I assumed was the group itself, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The CD booklet featured various shots of the guys in the group in the studio, hanging out, getting high, falling sleep. Could be something promising.

As we all know by now, “never judge a book by its cover”. “Take Over” begins with an audio manipilation of U.S. President George W. Bush, call it a metaphorical truth serum. Then they start up by turning on the mic, by stating they’re going back to 1992 and 1993, not that “shit that you don’t want to listen to”. “Take Over” was very promising, but instead becomes an introduction for about six of the members. I was waiting for them to drop a few words of wisdom about the state of the world, but came out empty.

Unfortunately, most of “Throw a Dollar on the Beam” comes off empty too. “Sandwich Bags” is a reference to the way one stores illegal drugs for easy transport, and the song tries to make a plea that “living fast” to make ends meet is the way to live. Instead, it comes off harder than a medium shirt on a woman with a 60 inch waist. The lyrics itself, making references to “fast life, fast death, fast bitches, fast cars”, would sound believable if these guys weren’t so busy trying to disguise their voices as cartoon characters. It sounds silly, I wouldn’t want to hear a full rap album with someone who sounds more like a gangster sidekick. Not unlike Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony.

Some of the rappers also handle the beats and production, and while this style of keyboard/synth production is not to my liking, I think they are better off being a Dope Factory for other rappers. Some of the flows sound dry and dated, and by the time you catch a pretty good line or two (found in songs like “Killin’ In The Cornfield” and “Cold Cuts”), you’ll want to skip to the next song. To me, rap music is all about telling your own story in a unique matter, and I can’t find anything about this CD that is distinctly unique, outside of the George W. Bush recording. It sounds like the same stories I heard on a rap record 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. It is The Dope Factory, but it’s “dope” in the original definition of the word.

The Dope Factory :: Throw a Dollar on the Beam