Music

Playdough: Hotdoggin

Playdough's self-awareness lends well to his confident, funny, and painfully real new outing Hotdoggin.


Playdough

Hotdoggin

Label: Writer Dye
US Release Date: 2011-04-26
UK Release Date: 2011-04-26
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

If hip-hop isn’t dead, the categorization of its subgenres certainly is. In a postmodern music realm where adjective-laced genre definers have become as played out as adding a “#winning” hash tag at the end of your every tweet, there’s no more room (or need) for silly prefixes to assist the listener in pigeonholing the latest underground release. It’s either hip-hop or it’s not. Thus, before we tag the newest album from Texas rapper Playdough with the ridiculous “Christian rap” moniker, perhaps it would be wise to delve a little further into his latest effort Hotdoggin in hopes of discovering something more than a catchphrase to print on a sticker and slap onto the front of the album.

What is Hotdoggin all about? A lot of things. It’s about being broke, riding in your Cadillac, keeping fools away from your girlfriend, being a dope emcee, and just enjoying your life regardless of circumstance. At the heart of Hotdoggin is an incredibly talented rapper who has a penchant for wordplay, a snarky sense of humor, and the much desired ability to turn lemons into lemonade. Many of these things come with experience, which is something that Playdough has in abundance. Whether it be his time with instrumental rap group Ill Harmonics, his current role as emcee in rap-supergroup Deepspace5, or his countless appearances in freestyle competitions, mixtapes, and guest spots, it’s evident that Playdough is well versed in the art of crafting solid hip hop.

On Hotdoggin Playdough takes this experience and expands on his past sounds, adding a few new tricks to his repertoire. On “No Angel”, Playdough drops a smoothly sung chorus that’s as catchy as anything you’ve heard this year. Within the first four songs, he’s already shifted his flow several times over several different tempos and showcased a variety of rhyming styles. It seems as if there isn’t a beat in the world that he couldn’t own. By the time “The Business” hits your speakers, there’s little question left as to whether Playdough means it. The eerie-sounding, Freddie Bruno-produced track opens with the rapper spitting, “I got a bucket list, short cuz I spit big / Cut a jig and a rib off of this pig / Executive, I own the shindig / Off the top toupee, I’m the big wig” before later informing us that “Me, David Blaine, and Gandolf had a stand-off”. Playdough’s over-the-top self-confidence comes both in the form of dead-serious and tongue-in-cheek. It’s up to the listener to decide which is which.

It would be easy to classify Hotdoggin as a testament to today’s ADD culture, as the album itself winds through various thought patterns, emotions, and tempos at breakneck speed. Playdough stands atop the world on “My Cadillac” before becoming depressed over finances with Gift of Gab on “Franks & Beans” and then once again finding hope near the end of “1 Day”. Perhaps this sort of rollercoaster ride is just the life of an underground emcee. Or maybe just life in general. Either way, it forces the listener to stay focused in order to grasp Playdough’s purpose throughout the album’s 16 tracks. Likewise, with production credits ranging from Mr. Dibbs vs. the Black Keys to Beat Rabbi and other Deepspace5 natives to Playdough himself, Hotdoggin is a melting pot of spot on production that ranges from unique sampling to snappy instrumentation.

Near the end of the track “Ya Heard”, Playdough proclaims “Everybody raps, nobody emcees / Guess the exception is me”. While this statement about the current culture of rap in general seems a bit bold, Playdough is certainly one of a small fold still creating hip-hop in its truest form. Hotdoggin is more diverse than his 2002 solo effort Lonely Superstar and more daring than 2006’s Don’t Drink the Water. In short, it’s Playdough’s best offering to date and showcases a rapper who is only getting better with age. Call it “positive”, call it “conscious”, call it “Christian”. Call it whatever you want, really. At the end of the day it’s hip hop and that’s all we’re really asking for out of our emcees.

7

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.