March 28th is the 20th anniversary of the Old Dirty Bastard’s “Return to the 36 Chambers”. In tribute to the legendary emcee, B. Dolan has let the lid off this video of “Who Killed Russell Jones?”
This ODB tribute by B. Dolan borrows the style and format of Bob Dylan’s “Who Killed Davey Moore?” to examine the brilliant, controversial and tragic arc of Russell Jones (AKA Old Dirty Bastard.) The repeated question of the song’s chorus demands an answer, though the verses suggest there might be enough blame for all of us to share.
This footage was taken from a performance in Hull, UK (October, 2013) when the venue blew a fuse halfway through B. Dolan’s first song. In an attempt to appease a room of 500 restless fans, Dolan switched gears and gave spoken word performance of a new song, “Who Killed Russell Jones?” A photographer in the front row named Carl Spring switched his camera to ‘video’ mode and recorded this footage, which was then edited and animated by motion designer Alex Dobbin.
B. Dolan will be touring with Atmosphere on their “Fortunate Tour” this May, before dropping his 3rd studio album in July 2015 (Strange Famous Records / Speech Development.)
Welcome our new baby to the world! HOUSE OF BEES 3 is now fully streamable and can be purchased immediately via BDOLAN.BANDCAMP.COM and in a variety of physical forms and packages from STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS.
We’ve been waiting a long time time to let you hear some of these tracks and tell you the stories behind them, so grab a copy in your format of choice and dig in to B. Dolan’s track-by-track breakdown below.
The trilogy is complete mannnnn. It’s a celebration. Let’s get into it!
1. CARETAKER ft. DAN LE SAC, HOWABOUTBETH
The reason I’ve come to love the House of Bees series is the opportunity it gives me to chart the progress between albums. Sometimes, without the restrictions or pressure of making 100% original, sample free songs for an official collection, things come a bit easier and breakthroughs just sort of happen.
I chose to open the tape with ‘Caretaker’ because in making it with Dan Le Sac, I accidentally learned to write a new kind of song, gave myself a direction for the new LP, and co-created one of the favorite joints I’ve ever made. Dan’s synth-heavy beat is an absolute monster, which allowed me to write a more personal kind of story than I’d told in awhile. I’d also been wanting to write better choruses, and suddenly found myself singing the hook! Woah. I can do that? Yeah, fuggit I can do that! We hollered at HOWABOUTBETH who’s a real singer and brought incredible life to the words and melody I’d put down, and voila!
I’ve put this method of writing hooks and hollering at talented vocalists to bring them to life to good use, which you’ll hear more of later on in the year. “Caretaker” was a new kind of insect once it came to life; a high powered cyborg propeller-headed purple Bee, even. It banged in the whip but had a new kind of musicality, and felt like a new kind of song. It set me on a path, so it gets to kick things off.
2. NATURAL BORN TROUBLE
Oh, BUDDY PEACE. Please never stop sending me fully formed songs that I just need to fill in the spaces and rap over. I’m pretty sure Buddy sent me this instrumental in it’s finished form days after we completed VOL. 2. I’m blessed to work with collaborators who know me not only in an artistic way, but on a personal level due to the years we’ve spent in tour vehicles together. Buddy heard the source material and knew this’d get a good song out of me. That’s a rare connection to have with a producer, and why we’ve come this far, dammit!
Also, that bit about taking promoters to the cash machine? Absolutely true. In fact, I once took a promoter to his mother’s house 35 minutes outside Minneapolis at 2AM. Trouble.
3. HON3Y FROM A B33
Here’s the thing: I don’t wanna stop making songs with Buddy Peace until 20 minutes before both of us are dead. Don’t think the end of this series is the end of our collaboration. But when I heard this beat I was like ‘hot damn another dope bee song! Jesus… How many more of these can there … Bee.” Also, 3 is a psychologically pleasing number, no? The father, the son, and Return of the Jedi.
Shouts out to Market Basket. Streetwear brands stop biting my shit!
4. THE DEVIL IS ALIVE
You hear that bass? No, seriously. Turn it up in the whip. Don’t you dare listen to that bass on laptop speakers. That’s DS3K, the new engineer we’ve been working with on the new material coming out this year. Buddy expertly reconstructed the beat and 3K made it bang properly. Get ready for sonic mayhem this year.
As for the subject matter, it speaks for itself. When I heard the original Rick Ross song on which this joint was based, something finally snapped in my brain. “BITCH IM THE TRUTH!” said a former correctional officer who poses as a real drug kingpin for a living. I’d been baffled by the cognitive dissonance going on in with this dude’s career for years, but the brazenness of that statement was really just… Too fucking much.
Minus the political realities of the crack epidemic and the Iran-Contra affair’s connection to Freeway Ricky Ross’ story, what an incredible case-study of stolen identity and schizophrenic American culture.
It was a daunting task to tell Freeway Rick’s story, knowing he’s a real dude walking around in the world. I was in Europe when we released “The Devil is Alive”, and I received an email requesting a phone call from Rick himself. I braced myself for some bullshit; we’d sampled his voice, said he ‘sold death to the deaf dumb & blind.’ Imagine my relief and validation when I found out he liked the song. A lot. Fuckin a. Job done.
5. RADIO STOCKHOLM FREESTYLE
This was recorded in 2010. When I was drunk on the internet? Sage & I were on tour in support of L(I)FE and FALLEN HOUSE, SUNKEN CITY and doing a radio show somewhere in Stockholm. I’m sorry I referred to women as “females” in this verse. I’ve since come to regret that. But such is the danger of freestyle, totally off the dome raps. Wink/nudge.
6. SOLDIER BOY ft. SCROOBIUS PIP (YOU BETTER RUN RMX)
Another favorite collaboration that’s happened in the past few years, reworked by Buddy. Is that oil dripping in the beat? I like to think it is. That drum & bass ass break. Shittttt. Props to SCROOBIUS PIP for inviting me onto the original, and on a number of tours during which we’ve started big sweaty mosh pits with this one. Oi!
7. SEAT AT THE TABLE ft. WORLDWIDE
Matt Sonzala AKA Pushermania introduced me to Worldwide’s stuff on a trip to Austin last year, and I was instantly a fan. The beat on this one was produced by myself & DS3K and was originally part of a batch we created for use on the official LP. For whatever reason, a song never came together on it until this December when we were finalizing HOB3, and I took the opportunity to speak on some rappers and personalities who’ve been grossing me out of late. Anybody can take it however they want.
Turn. That. Shit. UP!
8. MADGE TRIES TO RECORD A DROP
Dear Madge of Honor. You are so intentionally bad/good at things. This lady edits my life. I owe her more than you’ll ever know. You made the album, ma!
9. STATE TROOPER
At least once per mixtape, I gotta be allowed to indulge in some Failure-y self indulgence and let my freak flag fly. I hope the Hip Hop Police let me off with a warning. “STATE TROOPER” is a Bruce Springsteen song that I’ve deeply loved and drawn inspiration from for years. For me, it’s a study in how to tell the biggest story with the fewest words, and haunting in a way I can only hope to someday equal.
Talking about this song with Buck 65 years ago, he mentioned that it had always sounded like a Suicide song to him. If you’re not familiar with that group, check out “Frankie Teardrop” for one of the more fucked up things you’ve heard ever.
And so it was that some late night in the studio, we decided to turn “State Trooper” into a Suicide song for real.
9b. EVEL TALKS ABOUT BUTTE
I have literally no memory of creating this. Can’t tell you the When, the Why, or even the How. It was just on my hard drive… For many years. I can attest that that’s my voice.
10. THE HISTORY OF ATLANTIS
This is a demo that was created for FALLEN HOUSE, SUNKEN CITY, probably sometime around 2009. That album was an exploration of the idea of Atlantis from a bunch of angles: people that are like lost cities; pre-apocalyptic civilization; etc. etc. Something about this track, which talked about hip hop as a lost civilization, seemed a bit too literal at the time. It got cannibalized into a couple separate ideas.
The first verse sort of became Earthmovers, with it’s third person telling of colonization, and the concept as a whole sort of became The Fall of T.R.O.Y. If you like this one blame Sage, who kept reminding me of it and urging me to put it on a HOUSE OF BEES release.
11. YOU CAN’T WIN ft. SAGE FRANCIS (EPIC B-BOY RMX)
“When are we gonna get an Epic Beard Men album?!” they cry. Well, I can only say that I’ve got a folder on my desktop that’s filling up with beats and song concepts. So you know, that might mean anytime from next year ’til 5 years from now.
In the meantime, I love this remix. It’s crafty. Just my style.
I’ve already gushed about BUDDY PEACE quite a bit, so I’m not gonna do that again. Just kidding. I love the dude, and he’s a fucking genius. This series has meant a lot to both of us and it’s been incredible to experiment and create with him on it over the past 6 years. We have made some legendary tapes, goddamit, and the man will always be my motherfuckin’ DJ. For chrissake, I asked him for a sample of a cartoony voice exclaiming “Thanks!” that perfectly matched my cadence on “HON3Y FROM A B33″ and HE HAD ONE. IN DAYS. I love ya, bruh. CODA means “end,” but this is far from that.
13. THE DEVIL & JACK MCCARTHY
This track took me 5 years to make. Let me say that again. This single track. Took 5 years.
Jack McCarthy was the poet who inspired me to try spoken word, many lifetimes ago. Those who saw him read will forever remember his voice and style, which were both instantly comfortable and full of presence. In 2009, Jack was on a tour of New England and I asked him to pay my studio a visit on his way through the region. We recorded this poem, written by a famous songwriter and poet who must remain nameless due to how often his shitty heirs sue people.
Finding music to fit this acapella was no small task. That’s the part that took 5 years. We tried numerous approaches with numerous iterations of my production setup, but it was only last year when I finally had the right musicians for this job in my circle. Along with ADAM SCHNEIDER, Myself and DS3K created the epic, Ennio Morricone inspired backdrop a dice game with the devil required. We recorded live guitars, violins, and upright bass. We enlisted ALIAS’ help for the vocal processing and final mix. It had originally been my intention to make this the first or last song on the official LP, but the aforementioned legal issues ultimately made that a bad idea.
Jack McCarthy passed away in 2013 at the age of 73. I strongly urge fans of spoken word to check out his incredible body of work, which can be found at STANDUPOET.NET. A painting of Jack hangs above my writing desk. He is sorely missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him.
14. KING BEE (LIVE IN LIVERPOOL)
To close things out, we’ve included a preview of the new live band setup. With any luck, we’re taking this motherfucker around the world in 2015, and as you can hear the sound is huge. The setup was engineered by DS3K and arranged by Adam Schneider under my direction, and this recording features Warren Borg on guitar, Paul Glover on drums, and Buddy Peace on the 1s & 2s. The energy created by this setup live is nothing short of explosive, and I definitely hope people get a chance to experience it before the years out.
Annnnnnnd that’s it! Hope you’ve enjoyed listening and reading. Thanks as always for your incredible support and see you soon!
B. Dolan will tour w/ a LIVE BAND down to Austin this March, in support of HOB3 and the new material, supported by RUBEDO and WHEELCHAIR SPORTS CAMP.
2015 TOUR DATES
FEB 26 – DENVER, CO – WALNUT ROOM – TICKETS
FEB 27 – COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – FLUX CAPACITOR
FEB 28 – FORT COLLINS, CO – ILLEGAL PETE’S – FREE SHOW!
MARCH 1 – SALT LAKE CITY, UT – URBAN LOUNGE – TICKETS
MARCH 2 – BOISE, ID – CRAZY HORSE – TICKETS
MARCH 3 – SEATTLE, WA – VERA PROJECT – TICKETS
MARCH 5 – BEND, OR – DOMINO ROOM – TICKETS
MARCH 6 – RENO, NV – HOLLAND PROJECT – TICKETS
MARCH 7 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – THEE PARKSIDE – TICKETS
MARCH 8 – SANTA ANA, CA – CONSTELLATION ROOM – TICKETS
MARCH 9 – LOS ANGELES, CA – REDWOOD BAR – $10 @ Door, No Pre sale
MARCH 10 – LAS VEGAS, NV – LVCS
MARCH 11 – MESA, AZ – Club Red
MARCH 12 – ALBUQUERQUE, NM – SISTER BAR – TICKETS
MARCH 13 – LAS CRUCES, NM – EL PATIO
MARCH 14 – SAN ANTONIO, TX – KAROVA – TICKETS
MARCH 15 – FORT WORTH, TX – LOLA’S – TICKETS MARCH 19 – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW – SOHO