I’ve been listening to DoobieDaLil’s “Let ‘Em Know” on a perpetual loop since discovering it and it’s never left rotation. Unexpected production for a Chicago-based artist formally rooted in drill. The hypnotic loop is a great canvas for an artist whose approach seems to ebb and flow in energy, a gentle build in intensity over waves of piano. Unlike many artists in this vein he seems less interested in rough edges than craft and precision, in a calculated lyrical style.
“Let Em Know” is all armor, anchored only by opening lines about dead friends & self-aware asides (We don’t know what feelings are) that suggest a reflective artistic mind. Other records hint at further dimension, like “CopOut,” recorded after video of Laquan McDonald’s murder by Chicago Police was released.
I am less interested in this for the fact that it is *coughs, embarrassed* woke than the terms on which it is so, and the breadth of his perspective. The intensity of emotion honed into the focused precision of his delivery. His active rejection of the black-on-black crime cop-out; the way his first-person experience peppered throughout shifts the narration from the abstract to the here-and-now, giving this indictment real-world weight, from the gun pushed in his mouth to the friend forced to do 40 years for a crime he didn’t commit.