Elevator 15: DoseOne

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Back in 1997 I made predictions about Adam ‘DoseOne’ Drucker’s rap career. I was dead wrong and I’m happy I was wrong. I told my brother and various other hip-hop heads, ‘Wow, this Dose-1 has to be one of the best rappers in the world; it’s just a pity so few people are ever gonna hear him.’

I love his demeanour, his imagery, his multiple complex flows, his voice, his ready-to-pounceness, his unabashedly theatrical delivery.

I guess I thought that other people just wouldn’t dig him. There is no one quite like DoseOne. My wife calls him ‘The Worm’. This is what he sounded like in the late 90’s.

I first met him a few hours before he freestyle-battled Enimem at Scribble Jam 1997. We planned to hang out during the months I lived in Cincinnati but it didn’t work out. I still have a tape of him freestyling on a radio show called ‘B-boys Underground’ from around that time. His intensity clearly made an impression on a number of like-minded left-fielders. He co-founded Anticon, moved to Northern California, worked his ass off, toured extensively and sure enough, he’s made many colourful, ambitious, experimental and dynamic records since. I was wrong. Other people do dig ‘im.

Here’s his man-being-chased-by-a-? collaboration with Slug

This is the doused-in-angst, perfectly delivered ‘Soft Atlas’

I love his work with Jel as the group Themselves.

How ’bout Good People Check or Oversleeping?

To call his shows [especially with his band Subtle, which is really a deluxe version of Themselves] engaging would be an understatement. Dose’s stage presence is immense. He beguiles the audience by cracking surreal jokes, by pulling plastic forks out of a painted skull and by whispering in individual audience members’ ears. He dares you to mock him. He might not have the same exact motives as comedian Andy Kaufmann, but he clearly wants the audience to be impacted by the show, by the interaction, by his carnivorous poetry filtered through growls and roars, by Jel’s nifty finger work on the MPC, by the spectacle even if it means being heckled and misunderstood.

By the way Subtle are the best hip-hop band I have ever seen: tight, epic, surreal, melodic, ethereal and funny.

Amazing in the studio too:

In this interview with close friend and collaborator Yoni Wolf, Dose talks about his early musical journey and his childhood.

Dose will treat you, the listener, like his sparring partner, his local corner store owner, his ex-partner, his best friend, his therapist, his art teacher, his rap battle nemesis, his muse, his fellow wanderer. Listening to a DoseOne record is like stumbling through The Wood between the Worlds in C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew dotted with mystery pools, some leading to worlds of hope, beauty and innocence, others to sloughs of existential doubt, nightmares and ‘deathiness’. Dose One is undoubtedly a disorientator and an elevator.

Here’s his artist page on Anticon.

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