Dope or Dog Food?

Hip-hop icon Big Daddy Kane’s rating scale for rap records was a simple one: “Is it dope or dog food?” Years later, San Francisco’s own Z-Man has posed the same question in his first project with national distribution. Z’s flow is rich in charisma, texture and slang—most of which will fly over the heads of even seasoned listeners. The lyrics and style are very much rooted in Bay Area gangsta rap, but the cadence and subject matter are much more forward thinking and “underground.” Themes include your standard subjects: parties, girls and substances. But there are also tales of car crashes, interracial romances, veganism and insomnia. Added for flavor are guest appearances by Taj’ai from Souls of Mischief and the Gingerbread Man. A short review in no way can fully capture what was easily one of the best rap records of last year, this year and the next to come. So with a nod to the Kane, I’ll say it’s dope.