Baltimore rapper and producer Butch Dawson has created a standing in his city and the underground scene for quite sometime; ever since his first tape “Swamp Boy” was released last August. Today he released the long anticipated, self-produced project “Ollieworld” which was teased with a video for the track “Word on the Block” that gained him a co-sign from JPEGMAFIA.
“Ollieworld” definitely lived up to the hype and is a much more refined, focused, and grandiose effort than his previous tape. Butch switched up his sonics by rapping exclusively over beats with clear punk influence and feel. He stretched this aesthetic not only as far as the beat choice, but also in the cover art, his “Word on the Block” visuals, and his sole feature selection of ‘white beast’ (who are an actual punk-rock band).
Butch does an excellent job of maintaining a balance between mainstream and experimental sounds in this project. This point is exemplified in the tape’s second track “Trigger” (feat. white beast). Butch implements a catchy, yet playful aggressive chorus over a simple melody of dark bells and lively ad-libs. This song is extremely clean, following a simple song structure: chorus to verse to bridge to chorus to verse, with the transitions all being close to flawless. However, once the last chorus hits, we hear a shriek, followed by that classic skate punk feedback. Then BOOM, ‘white beast’ comes roaring out with distorted guitars, fuzzed vocals, abrasive drums, and a disgustingly rude energy that provides an impeccable contradiction to Butch’s first half of the song.
Even though the project is just 21 minutes long, I was fully captivated through the 9 tracks thanks to Butch’s refined taste in vocal samples, implementation of engaging drums and catchy haunting melodies, and his profound vocal delivery. I will say that the only department in which Butch is lacking is the creativity of his lyrics. He predominantly explores the conventional topics of having his city behind his back, not giving a fuck about anything, and just being THAT DUDE. I think he makes up for this in how creative his beats, flow, and arrangements are. Overall I believe that this tape cemented Butch’s status as the face of new Baltimore rap, and that it could prove to be instrumental in his path to becoming a nation-wide underground icon.