The Doppelgangaz are an easy act to recommend yet remain one of those crews that rarely get discussed. Their production is frequently exceptional, sitting somewhere between the murky grit of Da Beatminerz and the refined heft of The Heatmakerz, but managing to sound like its own beast entirely. What marks The Doppelgangaz out as unique however is their rhyming – both Matter Ov Fact and EP aren’t afraid to get weird and drop references not just from left field, but from the field in the next county. The way they stack rhymes within rhymes and start crafting their own “Doppel” language, you start to see why they may be a bit of a niche act. But for those of us who get the Doppelgangaz and will happily put our hoods up and nod to heavy beats with raps about knee-jobs and stealing tinned food, it doesn’t get much better.
After ten years, “Dumpster Dive’” snuck out like most Doppel releases do, with their usual message to fans on Bandcamp (lovingly referred to as the Shark Nation) delivered like a Whatsapp message to mates. It’s the very definition of a cult following but unlike an act like Insane Clown Posse, the quality of music is usually high and always replayable. With “Dumpster Dive”, Matter Ov Fact and EP have created their most DoppelGangaz-ey record yet, and it improves on their previous albums in every way. Every which way, if you will…
Doppelgangaz production always sounds like it was made in a proper studio, defying the very premise of two creepy guys in black hoods. But that’s the beauty of the duo – their whole schtick is built on the inverse and a sense of balance. The yin and yang. All the music videos are set in daylight, often in pleasant surroundings, belying their dark, atmospheric sound. Their language is frequently goofy and playful, despite rapping over pristinely engineered production. The content often veers into sexual scenarios without ever feeling coarse, but still feels normalised. What The Doppelgangaz have created over the past decade is their own universe, where influences from Hip-Hop run amuck but aren’t cited or forced down the listener’s throat.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed The Doppelgangaz albums, but they often have two or three standout songs that can overshadow their projects. When I think of “Hark” it’s “Barbiturates” (one of the greatest beats of all time). “Lone Sharks“? It has to be “Doppel Gospel” with them haunting monks chanting. “AAAAGGGHH”? The head-caving insanity that is “Mootah Feekah”. But with their latest album, it’s a constant stream of screwfaced eargasms.
Even the title (“Dumpster Dive”) is the name of a track from their debut “Lone Sharks” LP declaring their unabashed attitude as “chumps conniving and dumpster diving”. And what started as something they wrote about after seeing it on television, became part of their imagery.
Regular guest Thonio returns for “Come See Me”, “U.D.I.O.” and the bonkers “Doo-bai”. I say bonkers because it’s about women that say they have been to Dubai (and I know a few myself) but for the purpose of earning large sums of money by conducting sexual favours for rich Emirati men. And when I say sexual favours, I mean obscene acts concocted up by these two lunatics. It could feel ludicrous or even disgusting, but they deliver it with enough goofiness that I couldn’t help smiling throughout.
“You’re gettin’ sprayed down with some butt butterMatter Ov Fact
They don’t care about your muff, they don’t care about your udders
Diarrhoea with the splutters
Have your ass lookin’ like you finished up a Tough Mudder
Closin’ all the blinds and the shutters
N****z who confide in each other
Minds in the gutter
Take you out to play the Front 9 and then empty your behind with a putter”
They are a descriptive duo that’s for sure, and with Thonio crooning away on the hook it’s easily their funniest idea. If toilet humour isn’t your cup of tea, “Balderdash” follows and will have you spitting that cup of tea all over your laptop screen. There’s some serious heat in The Doppelgangaz catalogue and if anything is a highlight on “Dumpster Dive”, it’s this neck-shredder.
Women and their engagement with the dwarf (EP) and the born ectomorph (Matter Ov Fact) is a frequent theme throughout the record, as the misfits revisit their experiences with the colourful characters of the Doppel-verse. We don’t know what these women look like or what their backgrounds are, but the pinpoint details tell their own stories. One has a Queen of Spades tat on her “a crack”, another “slaps it around like E Honda” while one even has inflamed fingernails on every finger (the brilliantly written “Vicky won’t licky uh, icky she’s too picky uh, on each piggy a paronychia“).
“Salacious” is full of great words like epicure and legumes as the two wax lyrical over ideal dates, with Matter Ov Fact even mentioning he has friends that are borderline hunks. The beat though. The fucking beat is simply monstrous. EP’s fascination with fingernail terminology takes his “gettin’ a handy from a chick with clip-on stiletto nails” (2017’s “E.W.W.”) into rarely used medical terms. If you gain anything from this project, at least you learned some biology.
“Hot Hand” highlights their penchant for melody, something Thonio ably assists with despite being more than capable of doing on their own. I went in thinking it was about an incident with a lady that had an STI, but that would be too straightforward. So instead EP brags about his shooting ability (with a gun) as Matter Ov Fact shares his sporting achievements, but as I think back, they could just be boasting about their fingering. GOD-DAMN.
If you recall The Beatnuts and their brand of super-dope production with fun, sometimes stupid raps, The Doppelgangaz will be right up your street. The vocabulary is a lot more complex and can take some getting used to, but Matter Ov Fact and EP have helpfully added their lyrics to Genius. That’s probably the biggest criticism of the rhyming, that the verses aren’t as clear or easy to hear as the rest of the mixdown. Where “Dumpster Dive” succeeds more than any other Doppelgangaz record is the production maintains such a high bar throughout. Just be warned that you’ll need two things: a twisted sense of humour and some expensive headphones.