Solo For Dolo is a twenty-one year old rapper from New Jersey who has been on the mic since he was ten. Not that he was genius at eleven by his own admission (his first song was called “Fuck This, Fuck That), but still, that’s a long time to hone your craft. Those years of practice show on his debut, “The Truth For the Youth.”
The album starts with an intro that is basically Solo coming out swinging, dissing “fake ass rappers all sound the same.” He then goes into his first single, “You Can’t Say This On Demo Tapes,” in which he continues his tirade against phony rappers over a banging Ru beat. Solo’s flow is passionate and venomous, equally full of hatred for his enemies and conviction of his own skills on the mic. “Crown Royal,” produced by Domingo, samples a vocal choir, and Solo’s rampage goes unchecked. “I hear a whole lot of fucking rappers,” he claims. “My own mom’s a rapper. There’s too many of you.” It makes you wonder what Solo considers he’s doing, being that he’s speaking rhythmically over a beat and all. He’s part of the group of young and hungry musicians trying to make their dent in the industry.
He finally relents his attack on “Babycakes.” The beat, structured around a guitar chord, is more subdued that the previous tracks, and features a sung chorus. More importantly, he takes a break from verbally eviscerating other rappers to talk about the pain of a breakup. He takes the intensity and skill he uses to dis other rappers, and applies it to talking about things affecting him, resulting in the strongest songs on the album. “Wake Up!” features a KRS-One sample, a piano line sampled by J Dilla on “Donuts”, and Solo uses the beats to rap about teen pregnancy. “Glass House Theory” deals with the struggles in his life, and on “Just Be” he talks about his childhood and his lifelong love of music. He offers the positive message, “be whoever you are/glad you made it by far.”
Solo can rap, and the production, provided by Domingo, RU, and Chris Glover, is consistently good. I wish Solo didn’t waste so many of his rhymes dissing other rappers, especially with lines like “You ass clown…faggots need to back up.” He’s a lot more interesting to listen to when he’s talking about real issues rather than just taking out other MCs. But then, I’m just a guy criticizing a guy for criticizing guys. The bottom line is that Solo for Dolo is a promising rapper, and “The Truth For the Youth” is worth your time.