B Dolan’s third album “Kill The Wolf” was released to rave reviews back in July. The Rhode Island rapper hails it as his strongest work to-date and this month he takes his new material on the road for the very first time. Kicking off the tour at Bestival on the Isle Of Wight, Dolan hits the rest of the UK before heading to Europe and the U.S. We caught up with the man himself to get the lowdown on the rapper-come-activist’s current position.
For those who’ve yet to discover B Dolan, can you sum up your music for us?
“I create rap music cause I never dug disco. ”
You’ve said your new album “Kill The Wolf” is your best yet. What makes it better than your previous records?
“It’s the best representation of where I am at this point in my life and career. I’m a better songwriter, rapper, and producer than I was 5 years ago. Better is a relative term, obviously, and I’m sure some people will prefer my old stuff. But you know, for my money I prefer what we’re making right now.”
You’ve more collaborators on this LP than ever before. What were your reasons behind this?
“I wanted to see what would be possible, and didn’t cut any corners while making the record. So that meant, if I knew a great guitar player and we were replaying a guitar sample, I invited them to be part of it. Same goes for vocalists I could hear being part of a particular song, or in the case of “Jailbreak,” other rappers. Luckily, most of the people I reached out to said yes and lent incredible parts to the record. I sort of saw my role as producer to bring all these threads together.”
You’re a dedicated activist and founder of knowmore.org. What initially inspired your need to educate people on ethical consumerism?
“Rap music helped form my early political awareness, and I was ‘radicalized’ I’d guess you’d say by living in New York City on September 11th. I was active and protesting even before that though. I worked for the John Kerry campaign in 2004, and when that was over I told myself it was the last time I’d campaign for the two party system. I was thinking about other ways people vote, and realizing we voted everytime we opened our wallets.”
Do you think there’s a lack of socially and politically aware artists in todays music industry?
“Not really. I think maybe among pop artists, but not among hip hop artists. There are some very powerful important voices speaking in my genre at the moment, and I’m thankful for that.”
I don’t expect every artist to be socially and politically aware, but I sure enjoy their music a lot more when they are. I think it’s the type of thing that shows over time, in the decisions artists make and the art they produce. I think it actually benefits the artist more than it necessarily benefits the public at large.”
Who/what were your most significant musical influences growing up?
“Organized Konfusion, John Lee Hooker, Michael Jackson, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Talking Heads, P.J. Harvey, Redman.”
What’s your desert island disc?
“I’m gonna go with Toumani Diabate & Taj Mahal’s “Kulanjan”
How are you feeling about touring in the UK once again?
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never really crafted a tight MC/DJ set, and I’m going to be putting one of those together with Buddy Peace, my longtime friend and DJ. We think we’ve got a formula to make it sound and feel really huge, and we’re excited about that.”
“Salmon Belly. I’m a bear at heart.”
What’s your most treasured memory?
“Jesus. I don’t know. I treasure a lot of them. Several of them involve sex, others involve rap.”
What portals would you recommend for staying up-to-date on current affairs?
“Democracynow.org is a great source for daily news.”
Any new artists you’re particularly into at the moment?
“Both of the labels I’m associated with, Strange Famous and Speech Development, have got a roster full of great new music. I recommend people visit those websites and find out more about groups like Sage Francis, Warren Peace and the Metermaids. Other than that I ain’t riding nobody’s dick!”
B Dolan performs at the Haunt, Brighton on September 24, 7pm, £10adv, 14+, thehauntbrighton.co.uk
Follow B Dolan at bdolan.net