drugstore cowboys, k-dot-o-dot, 9th uno, dj shamann, norman krates

Thomas Quinlan (Exclaim.ca)

Drugstore Cowboys (2010)


A free digital download, K-Dot-O-Dot and 9th Uno’s collaboration project was released to online controversy when Kdot informed the HipHopCanada community that producer Norman Krates had passed away, a week-long rumour that spread to other sites. Amidst that, executive producer Critical Bill split with the group due to creative differences.

But Krates is alive and Bill is back to his brilliant marketing and promos. Born of Buckwheats, the Kdot solo album featuring numerous 9th Uno appearances, the duo tackle the roles of depraved, drug-dealing douchebags willing to get high on their own supply for Drugstore Cowboys. The album is filled with over-the-top humour delivered with a straight face, most obviously on the self-explanatory “Coke to the Kids,” with the two MCs complementing each other’s lyrics, flow and voice, effortlessly trading bars on many of the songs, a technique made even more impressive when joined by D-Sisive for “The C is Still Free.”

Norman Krates lays down a backdrop of gritty, blues-inflected East Coast bangers, although closing track “Twatface,” a highlight on an album bereft of filler, introduces a new direction, with heavy, hard rocking guitars and drums. DJ Shamann is the go to guy again, taking things up a notch with perfectly picked, precise cuts, such as the choice of Kool Moe Dee for “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.” Krates and Shamann add as much to the group as Kdot and 9th, and together they might just have released the best Canadian hip-hop album of the year.


Drugstore Cowboys (2010)

Coming at hip hop from the exact opposite side is the profanity-laced and darkly humorous “DrugstoreCowboys” by K.O. and 9th Uno, two Canadian rappers with budding reps.  It’s all about drugs and sex–better living through chemistry, and all–with a grimey flavor and decidedly R-rated lyrics.  But it’s hilarious.

“Drugstore Cowgirl” is a perfect example, with it’s chorus: “Hey how you doing/I can see right now your life’s ruined/You don’t give a fuck who you’re screwing/But those holes in your arm/Is turning me on . . .”

But it’s not like this is the only good cut.  The album is full of bars like that.  Songs have titles like “White Vans Full of Mexicans” and “Coke for the Kids.”  You get the idea.  If you think that’s funny (I do), then it’s for you.  If you don’t, it’s definitely not.

Thomas Quinlan (PolarismusicPrize.ca)

What record that’s perhaps local or under the radar did you suggest to the jury and would like to plug here to the whole world?

K-Dot-O-Dot & 9th Uno’s Drugstore Cowboys. It’s a gritty ode to drugs and the drug-dealing lifestyle that somehow avoids the clichés prevalent in most hip-hop on the subject, but it’s also filled with over-the-top humour delivered with a straight face.

The interaction between the two emcees appears effortless, especially as they opt to trade lines while most collaborating emcees prefer to trade verses. And the blue-inflected east coast bangers courtesy of Arkeologist Norman Krates are a perfect fit, as are the precise cuts of DJ Shamann. Unfortunately, it might have been a little too raw for most of the non-hip-hop jury members, and the crew sort of suck at promo, too.


K-Dot-O-Dot – Buckwheats (2010)

Names can be deceiving in hip-hop. Rappers with cool names can suck, and rappers with weak names can be great. Heck, even “Eminem” sounded like some boy-band to me when I first heard it.

The point is, it’s not unnatural to expect little from Rexdale’s K-Dot-O-Dot. But the truth is this guy is colder than Gary Coleman, hungrier than Precious, and I haven’t heard a Toronto rapper make such a ferocious album in a long time.

Buckwheats represents a sort of ’90s rawness today’s older hip-hop fans like to complain is missing in rap now, and K-Dot-O-Dot is unapologetic — at times sounding like Ill Bill or R.A. The Rugged Man. He’s got such brilliantly offensive songs as “Dick Punch,” “Douchebag” and “Bad To The Bone.” In the latter, he paints the imagery: “Is there Heaven for a scumbag, paradise for trash?/At the airport, wifey got a kilo for that ass/Scorpion hash in my baby daughters Dora backpack/She look adorable, jack.”

But a big part of what makes Buckwheats so enjoyable is its gritty production by The Arkeologists and cuts by DJ Shamann, who team with K-Dot to put together this amazing 10-song package.

Buckwheats has serious replay value, and there’s not much else to say other than it’s free. Download it and you’ll be glad you can tell your friends about it later.


K-Dot-O-Dot – Buckwheats (2010)

Apparently a “buckwheat” is the act of killing in a painful way, often with a bullet up the anus. For his third free digital album, Toronto’s K-Dot-O-Dot attempts to do the verbal equivalent of just that to wack emcees in his city and worldwide.

After his introspective The Life And Times of Lucha Lonely, everyone’s favourite Mexican wrestling mask-wearing monster returns to prove he’s a big douchebag who just doesn’t give a fuck.

The centrepiece is “Molly Ringwald,” a braggadocio posse cut filled with quotables from guests Bambino, Paradox and Caution plus a cool hook from 9th Uno, who also proves to be a perfect partner for K-Dot with guest verses on the anthem “Fuck Everybody,” the Wu Tang-ish “Cooking With K” and the sorta soulful “Bad To the Bone,” where 9th demonstrates an interesting stutter rap style.

With that being said, it’s K-Dot’s solo tracks delving into his trashy existence that are the real highlights, describing his failed attempts to conform to society’s standards on “Critical Bill” and bragging about the lows he aspires to on album closer “Douchebag.” His ode to drugs and excess, “Mr Brownstone,” is also a highlight.

K-Dot’s lyrics paint a vivid picture and come off as honest and believable, and his flow is monotone but also tight and confident. The Arkeologist once again provide him with a selection of catchy, grimey beats with a similarity of sound that creates a cohesive album, sure, but “Dick Punch” and “Cooking With K” sound suspiciously alike. Still, not bad for an album purportedly recorded over one weekend.