By Ana Gonzalez
This album reeks of Stones Throw Records. Everything from the subtle crackling of every beat to the floating nature of the computer-generated samples to Dave Dub’s odd history in the rap game lets the listener know that The Treatment could only have been released by the same label that brought you the likes of MF DOOM, Madvillain, and J Dilla.
Firstly, everyone should know that the entirety of The Treatment was recorded and produced on two vintage hip-hop appliances: an SP-1200 drum machine and an Esoniq ESP sampling device. This choice makes sense when analyzing Dave Dub’s career and history of condemning the rap industry and then exiling himself to Jamaica and then illegally immigrating back into the States. Not only that, but it should also warrant the respect of any true hip-hop fan. To record 13 tracks on two devices is a difficult feat and frankly unheard of these days. While some may scoff at Dub’s decision, claiming that newer technologies were invented for a reason, there are others like me who can recognize and appreciate the unique timbre and vibe of every track on The Treatment.
That being said, there is only one vibe throughout The Treatment. It is a boring album with no memorable tracks, and, though it pains me to come to this conclusion, it is true. Yes, I applaud Dave Dub for his efforts to bring hip-hop back to its bare bones, but that doesn’t change the fact that The Treatment is a one-groove album where all the songs sound the same. Dave Dub’s flow is tight, and the sounds he has made are interesting, but I had to force myself to listen to the entire album in one sitting. There are no standout tracks that peak the listener’s interest, making The Treatment little more than background music no matter the context in which it is heard.
I really wanted to like this album. This is the kind of album I could fall in love with, but it was monotonous to the point of being torturous. If Dave Dub could come out with a new project that shares The Treatment’s idealistic production method and sense of lyricism while also incorporating textural and musical variety throughout, he could reach broader audiences and have a greater influence in general. You’ll get ‘em next time, Dub.