Another year, another dope Doppelgangaz drop. It continues to perplex me why The Doppelgangaz isn’t a bigger deal, considering their brand of dense, darkly comical rhymes and warm, speaker-splitting production is hard to ignore. If you ain’t feeling Matter Ov Fact and EP’s beats, may I suggest a visit to your local audiologist’s? Those that know, are aware of how satisfying a Doppelgangaz album is, and “Black Cloak Lifestyle” is no different. What the duo does, continues to astound, as they build upon their world of sexual promiscuity and cloak-adorned dumpster divers, all dressed up in layered vocabulary that can initially sound like another language entirely. They have created their own universe, and “Black Cloak Lifestyle”, more so than any of their other work, leans into this and feels like an album for those of us that get them. There’s a lot to unpack here, as the two emcees share more creativity in individual bars than some emcees manage on whole albums.

New listeners may want to visit earlier offerings (2020’s “Dumpster Dive’” is highly recommended) as this record feels more entrenched within the lifestyle the so-called ‘black cloaks’ live by. For such a sinister visual as Grim Reaper-like druids roaming the countryside, there’s a clownish underbelly that portrays this lifestyle closer to horny teenage boys than it does to anything truly sinister. I do wonder if they have been studying the British sitcom The Inbetweeners (popular amongst American YouTubers) with its vocabulary of vulgar, original additions to the lexicon of slang. It’s the first time I’ve heard an American cite ‘bellend’ in a rap song, and frankly, I’m here for it.

Of all the previous Doppelgangaz reviews I’ve written, there are obligatory ‘bangers’ that catch your ear immediately upon a first listen. “Death x3” has a wickedly funky bassline, an element of hip-hop production that is frequently overlooked, but drives many of The Doppelgangaz’s best work. As bleak as the topic of death is, it doesn’t stop the lads from crafting a track guaranteed to have you singing along. Join in now everyone – “We’re all going to die one day DEATH DEATH DEATH”. The interlude titled “Usury” describes it all as lunacy and tomfoolery, which isn’t far from the truth.

“P.O.T.” isn’t quite the apex of Doppelgangaz humor (that would be “Doo-bai”), but it’s a close second. The video is ludicrous, but don’t overlook it on the basis of the bars, it’s a worthy addition to any summer playlist, as you cruise the block with your window down. The fact it’s about admiration for the older woman (Pretty Old Thing) shouldn’t be a problem, with such innocent lines as “my POT can barely eat solid food“, “she could have been born in 1903″ and “don’t drink, don’t smoke, she’s a square hag”. There’s even the trademark fingernail line from EP as he boasts about his woman having an ingrown toenail! If you pull up to a red light and this is blasting out of your car, you may even get a smile from those pensioners waiting in the parallel lane, instead of being told to shut that shit off. Hell, you may even get a flash of wrinkled areola. Let me know how that goes…

Speaking of which, “shut that shit off” is the exact phrase used on “In The Black”, another wicked addition to the Dopp Hopp pantheon that will have your neighbors pounding on the walls. The same can be said of “Round Midnight”, a warped blend of The Purge and Cinderella as they live up to the mantra ‘all the weirdos come out at night’. Ghastly is a word frequently used in Doppelgangaz music, and it rears its ugly head again on “Crudo”, a song I’m still figuring out but assume is a reference to unprotected sex. It’s predictably catchy and sounds fairly typical of their style, which is something a few tracks do suffer from.

The thing is, The Doppelgangaz have a formula that remains effective for their thousands of fans. Albums and instrumental projects continue to appear on the conveyor belt of hip-hop, and theirs display a ton of personality in their rhymes that cannot (and shouldn’t) be ignored. This review will inevitably possess some levels of bias considering I’ve been a fan of their work for over a decade now, but it goes without saying at this point that you won’t be disappointed, even if you don’t possess the necessary sense of humor to appreciate their characters, there’s always an instrumental version available (released as the Deluxe edition).

Come join us, and embrace the “Black Cloak Lifestyle”.

The Doppelgangaz :: Black Cloak Lifestyle
8Overall Score