Essex pioneer Dogzilla is firmly back with new project ‘Old Dog New Tricks’
On the same day that his former crew members and fellow Dagenham legends Devlin and Syer B released their joint tape ‘Channeling Rain’, Dogzilla has dropped his eagerly-anticipated return project ‘Old Dog New Tricks’.
After a long hiatus, in which time he devoted his time largely to fatherhood (something he briefly spoke upon in a highly-illuminating recent interview with The Shed Podcast), Dogzilla is back releasing music again. It is clear that Dogzilla is looking to channel that original grime essence in his return to the scene; following up the announcement of his return on Instagram with a series of throwback musical photographs (featuring the likes of Devlin, Ed Sheeran, Skepta and Pay As U Go) and a freestyle with old-school MC Preshus. The first single to drop from the project ‘Take the Throne’ (produced by Term), which dropped 3 months ago and marked Dogzilla’s official return, was very clearly in that vein; with the track featuring a new makeup of his legendary OT Crew (containing some of Essex’s brightest up and coming talents Rolla, TCDAGENIUS and Meshie) and with visuals done by the iconic Risky Roadz.
Dogzilla gives a full introspective update on where he is now in this project, with deeper cuts such as ‘My Whole World Fell Apart’ and ‘Its So Much Pressure’ touching upon topics such as the grief of losing his father, his parents’ separation and internal feelings of helplessness. Although Dogz is able to talk about these more grave topics, his trademark cheeky personality and charisma still comes through brightly on the project – something that is especially clear on tracks such as ‘Drunk on a Song’ and ‘Losing the Plot’. This personality is really what unites the project, even as the production widely varies – even taking on influences from more rock type sounds on tracks such as ‘Breath’ and ‘Its So Much Pressure’. Dogzilla’s off-kilter, tongue-in-cheek humour complements that disparate production perfectly.
The project does not only provide us with an updated perspective on Dogzilla’s life and current situation, but also contains official releases of some old classic tracks – such as ‘Lost Ones’ (a track featuring Jendor, Rema and the late great N.E originally intended for an Essentials Crew album) and the aforementioned ‘Breath’ (originally from the ‘A Dog is for Life, Not just for Christmas’ mixtape) and ‘Drunk on a Song’. Tracks such as ‘Rainbows’ and ‘Breath’ also see Dogzilla take on a nostalgic viewpoint, giving wonderful retrospectives on childhood stories.
‘You Never Put a Dog Down’ is a personal standout from the project, again featuring Rolla and TCDAGENIUS – two of Essex’s new heroes. They both kill their verses, not wasting the opportunity to shine on the return project of a local champion.
It is great to see Dogzilla’s larger than life personality back on the scene and this project gives an excellent representation of where he is at now, musically and personally, and what we have missed from him. The blend of new tracks and old tunes that did not get official releases and the mix of nostalgia and future-looking is a great balance for the long-awaited return of a luminary now looking to build something afresh.
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