Being personal friends with Al Hostile makes it easy to notice his progression. From being on stage along side him to being in the studio with him I've been able to watch first hand as the 3rdiiiuth standout grows toward being a notable independent artist. On his latest project, Dugla, Al gets back to his carribbean roots with tradition island percussion throughout along with some referencing and wordplay relating back to his native Guyana. For those not aware, Dugla is a Guyanese term that means "mixed race", usually of Indian and African decent. So from top to bottom Al took us on trip to the South American paradise.
As far as track ratings go, my favorite are as followed (in order): Steve, Safety Off, Oak, All4Me, Walk, 7Days, Cook Up, Brenda's Song, Still. On a scale of 1-10 I give this album an 8. The features were strong, the production was well pieced together, and the tape was sonically very fluid. This is defintely the best work from Al Hostile and possibly from the 3rdiiiuth camp. Hostile is emerging to be quite the standout among the Uth and 30-Whop and I'm personally excited to see what he has coming up in the near future. Make sure you take the time to listen.
Also keep an eye out for the Oak music video shot by JR Rubin coming soon.
- Kiah Fields
Being relatively new to the music scene in DC, I hadn’t heard Al Hostile’s music until I actually met him. We were shooting the video for his song “OAK” with Kasey Jones in some forested areas around DC. I would merc him and his friends from 3rdiiiUth in Tekken in between shoots. I kept a lookout for his tape since then.
The mixtape titled Dugla, a word in the West Indies used to describe multi-racial people, is Hostile’s second project and that’s exactly how I poised myself to listen to it with “OAK” giving me a very general idea of what to expect.
The tape opens up with a steel drum melody (which is definitely appropriate given the rapper’s and the mixtape’s connection to Caribbean roots) that becomes riddled with a grainy synthesized bass. Crisp 808s give the beat a nice forward momentum as he starts rapping. The track, “Steve”, is an ode of recognition to his father and the people who have supported him. The endearment lasts throughout the track even as it takes a more aggressive, more trap-oriented turn wherein he warns his haters that he’s just about to make it. Watch the man.
The second track continues much in the same vein as the latter half of the opener as he lets everyone know that he’s just on a path trying to get it (and smoke a bunch throughout). I felt like the Lady Saw snippet at the end of the track was key - it’s been a while since I’ve seen Belly or heard it on any rap tape and very few artists could have made it relevant anyway. The sample plays a bigger role in the third track where it’s fully used as a melody underneath jokingly arrogant self-empowering bars. It isn’t until the fourth track that we hear the first feature performed by 3rdiiiUth member Dark Nimbus and at this point these guys are just having fun. They’re just trying to have a good time and smoke and they’re doing it over some phased synths that make you feel like the world around you is pulsating.
“All4Me” is probably the most angsty record on the tape as we hear Hostile rejecting any and all external forces and consistently turning to himself as the only one he looks up to, and essentially cares about. He doesn’t give a fuck about clubs, “idols” or anyone that’s on some hateful shit as he delivers bar after bar of blunt honesty. The tape’s drug-laden banger “OAK” comes around the 7th track as Kasey Jones makes his second feature and they both trade verses talking about their shining moments as rappers intertwined (and almost directly correlated) with smoking habits that would put Action Bronson on his ass.
The mixtape closes with a smooth full-bodied saxophone melody over bumping kicks and congas that sees Al stop and reflect and amidst all the visceral energy – that raw hunger – that you could hear across the tape, he let’s you know that it’s just another day and he’ll do as he does.
Throughout the tape there has been a clear focus on a few subject matters – the color green (money/weed), West Indies culture (having been touched on in some shape or form), vagina and the rise of Al Hostile, with little distorted “on the phone” type harmonies heard as a motif throughout. A certain freshness floated around the mixtape as I was surprised to hear that this very Caribbean-rooted tape nicely blended the sounds of the American black youth and the sounds of their counterparts in the islands to the East without sounding like an obvious emulation of Bounty Killer or Shabba Ranks. Instead, the nods were neatly tucked away behind hypnotically rhythmic choruses and subtle samples and instrumental choices. In the modern realm of the rapid sharing of files it’s incredibly hard to find a mixtape that doesn’t sound like it was put together in just under 3 hours and you have to sift through all the bullshit tapes even more to find the ones that make you think that mixtapes should be put on the same level as albums. With such a solid second effort, Al shows you that at the age of 20 he’s well on his way to the latter, if he’s not there already. It’s tapes like this that make people want to see where the artist’s journey takes him as he explores his growth and his artistry beyond and Al is definitely one whose journey must be watched.
Keep eyes on the boi.
And keep a lookout for that “OAK” video.
Cop the download aqui.