Dolla Bill Releases ‘Old Schoolin’’

Atmosphere is a big reason why Dolla Bill is so successful. “Old Schoolin’” hits with listeners immediately because Dolla Bill knows how to weave a musical spell – we’re scarcely a few seconds in before it’s clear he’s laid down an indelible groove that listeners will follow from the first. He brings together a variety of elements into an unified package; there are no holes in “Old Schoolin’” and it will resonate with both longtime and casual hip hop fans as the real deal from the first. Make no mistake about the title, however, because Dolla Bill isn’t a completely retro minded performer. “Old Schoolin’” mixes the new and old together in a potent package that grabs your attention at the first and never relents, but there’s never any sense of things getting overwrought trying to draw listener’s attention. “Old Schoolin’” expects nothing and earns the listeners’ respect.

“Old Schoolin’” finds its groove early on and it’s an easy ride for listeners from that point forward. I love how the drumming soon switches character from a boisterous beginning into more laid back percussion style, but the bass more than makes up for a reduced drumming presence thanks to its resonant thud deep within the mix. As good as the arrangement is, however, Dolla Bill’s entrance into the song is even more memorable. He captivates your attention from the first. Dolla Bill has an easy going confidence, never suffocating, and it helps listeners cozy up to his songwriting character while never forcing him to sacrifice his harder edge. The lack of threat in his vocal isn’t any loss. Plenty of attitude comes through in Dolla Bill’s approach, but he balances it on a knife-edge with an obvious desire to assert his presence vocally.

He has a dexterous way of dealing with phrasing. There’s none of the halting, non-rhythmic way we often hear from lessers who try tackling material they can’t handle. He struts and rumbles through the lyrical content without even hinting at a second’s discomfort – indeed, the song almost sounds like something spontaneous erupting from him and captured on a recording. It’s the sort of maturity you don’t always hear from performers – of any age. Dolla Bill has risen quickly on his considerable talents, but he’s thankfully remained tethered to what made him first turn his hands to music and you can hear that in every second of “Old Schoolin’”.

It’ll likely remain a hallmark of his music as long as he records. After listening to “Old Schoolin’”, it’s difficult to imagine a day when Dolla Bill goes full on commercial and abandons his roots. It is obvious from this single that music is a passion, a labor of love for him, and he’ll enjoy material success on his terms if he enjoys it at all. We need more authentic performers like this. He writes and performs from the heart and that’s wholly appropriate for a song entitled “Old Schoolin’”. Dolla Bill has one foot in the present, another in the past, but his heart and

Gwen Waggoner

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