A new EP from Dreamville’s latest signees’ have arrived. Robots by EarthGang is a swing for the fences and this duo is just getting warmed up. After being announced of their deal via Twitter, J. Cole‘s newest members of the Dreamville roster released Rags, a 5-track EP exposing Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus for those who had slept on them. While Rags perked up the ears of any new listeners to their presence, Robots has broken into your car, taken the aux cord, and blown out your speakers with its strong production, witty lyricism, and inspired delivery.
Story | William Rivas
Robots opens to the sound of Atlanta’s own DC Young Fly, picking up a girl during his Lyft day job and making his move on her while he has the opportunity. Throughout the album this story unfolds in a very different direction than Young Fly had in mind. These interludes are appreciated as DC Young Fly’s hilarious commentary has you invested and laughing in between tracks.
The first song on the EP is “Artificial”; a statement on dealing with all of the artificial people birthed by fame. Hip Hop’s most common themes are thrown out the window immediately with the opening line, “Money, power, pussy, fame; it don’t mean nothing”, in which the duo makes it known they’re not in it for the usual suspects.
Johnny Venus takes the lead after Dot’s simple but catchy hook. Johnny is clearly aware of all his newfound “Family & Friends” and he is not having any of the new artificial people coming around. The pressure is overwhelming and he’s finding himself smoking to deter it. Even commenting on his relationships going south as he finds himself having nothing in common with the women in his life.
On the album-titled record “Robots”, Dot champions the track as the opening hook, chorus, and verse are all crafted by the rising artist. Clearly there is a feeling of numbness as they’ve matured and grown. The empty feeling has the recently turned 27-year-old feeling “like a machine” as the disconnect between the dream of being a famous rapper and the reality of the cost seems to grow.
The R&B feel to the chorus shows Doctur Dot’s harmony and melody shine with help of background singers and Anonxmous’ spectacular production. Anonxmous synth keys, catchy claps, hi-hats, perfectly timed drops and breaks really offset the “numb” theme as the infectious beat has you swaying before you even realize it. Meanwhile, Johnny Venus’ contribution is as deep and evocative as his cohorts with powerful lines such as:
“Boys don’t show emotion / Only feel those 808s / come blow on my cartridge / all we got is games to play” Even though the team is feeling some mental and emotional wear they clearly have no intentions of slowing down or stopping.
TDE’s own recent signee SiR shows up in the mellow, insightful produced “Underwater”. Venus hits notes that flex his capability to sing as well as rap. It’s always nice to see any collaboration between Dreamville and TDE while I turn blue holding my breath for the Millennial’s Detox; J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s joint album.
“So Many Feelings” has EarthGang showing their mixed feelings as the paradox of fame and stardom reaps its toll on them. They’re obviously torn with the path they’ve chosen. There’s no sign of remorse, just a pensive introspection they were able to bring to the foreground.
The finale, “Flickted” shows the pair paying homage to most apparent Kanye West “Addiction” chorus, “What’s your addiction? / Is it money? Is it hoes? Is it weed? / I’ve been afflicted / Not one, not two, but all three / What’s your addiction? / I’ve been afflicted”, as well as The Fugees “Ooh-la-la-las”. The two find themselves trying to fill the void with money, sex, and drugs, whereas in the beginning they denounced the necessity of things like money, power, and fame, Dot and Venus find themselves falling into a very familiar pattern whether they like it or not.
The EP is a strong show of what the future holds for EarthGang. Vulnerability, musical prowess, a respect for hip hop and R&B roots, and an unmatchable chemistry. Since the group’s inception, to their time with Spillage Village, to their present status under the wing of one of the current greatest rappers in the game, Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot are perfecting their craft with each and every venture.
EarthGang and Dreamville signee J.I.D. will co-headline the Never Had Sh!t tour slated to begin in Tallahassee, FL on October 29th, through and ending in Atlanta, GA on November 21st. The tour will also feature Dreamville’s Lute and Chaz French.