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is a talented and educated professional who rose to success while growing up in Oakland, CA.

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By:Rami Bensasi

Hailing from the Bay Area,
Ike Dola is no newcomer to this game. Appearing on several West Coast projects as a member of the original hyphy trio, The Farm Boyz, as well as boasting a few solo tapes of his own, the 29-year-old’s latest offering, Idiom, is set to drop April 24th. As a teaser for this release, two tracks have leaked: “Funk It Out” and “Poppin’ Champagne.” But do these two songs truly “give a deeper insight into Oakland life and the true definition of the word hyphy,” as Dola claims to do?

For those just familiarizing themselves with the hyphy movement, it has been associated with the Bay Area since the 90s, and unless you grew up around the culture, it is definitely an acquired taste. Known for gritty, pounding rhythms, hyphy music is full of raw, almost uncontainable energy. In keeping with this spirit, “Funk It Out” sets the tone by attacking listeners with a barrage of bass, drums and intense vocals. Though the hook is a bit less than original, Ike Dola makes up for it with his unique delivery and uncanny ability to keep up with an often difficult, almost sporadic rhythm. As the backdrop for a Bay Area “sideshow” event, this track would fit the bill perfectly.

“Poppin’ Champagne” slows things down a bit, but not much. The celebratory, energetic mood is still center stage and listeners find more lyrical superiority from Ike Dola than on the previous track: “Top to bottom, full throttle that’s my motto, off a bottle semi-auto,” he raps, as his infectious flow remains apparent throughout the song.

To the untrained ear, this style of music will initially sound overwhelming, even intimidating, because there is a lot to absorb at once. But once you get comfortable with the pace of hyphy and the intense, almost chaotic instrumentals that accompany it, you will find that Ike Dola has a flow that can match even the most indecipherable of rhythms, a skill that many emcee’s search their whole career for. If we are meant to receive Idiom as a collection of songs similar to these, he will surely make the Bay Area and hyphy culture proud. But if Ike Dola delivers a project that also has some accessibility to those more distant from hyphy culture, he may succeed in transcending the Bay Area and carrying his city back into the ring of hip hop trend-setting contention once again. Idiom drops April 24th.


Tim Lewis
Jinx Shame
Frank Nitty Nill
Josh X
Bobby Brackins
J Goodz


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