Marvin Dolo's one of two ways is Prime Hip-Hop / R&B Transcendence
Evan Dale // Feb 21, 2019
Marvin Dolo has quickly become one of the most intriguing and underrepresented forces in the transcendent grey area between hip-hop and R&B. 2018’s Crctr Dfcts was a frontrunner for top projects by emerging artists last year and his interim single between then and now, Someone, has been one of the most heartfelt and genuine R&B tracks to come out in recent months. And now, with what he’s calling a playlist and thus far only releasing on SoundCloud though it boasts of album professionalism and quality at each change of track, one of two ways is a particularly mellow project cut with Dolo’s most dedicated vocal displays to date. Where Crctr Dfcts teetered on the edge of the hip-hop spectrum, highlighted by his vocal range, one of two ways pushes gently in the opposite direction.
It’s a poppy, synth-strewn R&B album texturally reminiscent to something like Drake’s 2013 Nothing Was The Same where hip-hop verses weave seamlessly in and out of R&B choruses, ballads, and pop radio hits. 4 Miles is to Dolo as Hold On, We’re Going Home is to Drake; petty freestyle is to one of two ways as Wu-Tang Forever is to Nothing Was The Same; skate rink – Furthest Thing. But, it’s also a nod to where music has come since that time and where Marvin Dolo seems dedicated on taking it next.
After all, as his own SoundCloud page states, there are no rules, everything is permitted.
And Marvin Dolo has never been one to follow the crowd. Existing in his own lane that finds itself inspired by but definitely differing from the production and vocals of artists like Travis Scott and Drake, his music has all the star power necessary to harness that kind of talent and promise. And one of two ways is the most genuinely unique, simultaneously crystalline project of his career. It sounds like an experimentally acclaimed project by pop hip-hop elite, and yet, it comes from a SoundCloud transcendentalist with something like 8,000 followers.
Which leads us to two findings: numbers mean nothing, and Marvin Dolo may very well one day be a superstar.
Like Travis Scott and Drake, Marvin Dolo has no issue displaying the absurd range of his musical talent, exceeding as an R&B vocalist, a rapper, a producer, and a songwriter whose lyricism never fails to elicit emotion. Also like Travis Scott and Drake who differ greatly from the rest of the pop hip-hop elite in this regard, Marvin Dolo is prolific when it comes to releasing his music. His catalogue is insane – 5 full-length projects since 2016 and an innumerable number of singles since the beginning of his career a year or two before that. Even more impressive are the growth and change that has visible throughout that career. With each new project, Marvin Dolo seems to master a new skill. Where Crctr Dfcts was a vibrant display of his ability to put together a poppy hip-hop collection, one of two ways is all about modern R&B. And even as the focus of his auditory aesthetic adjusts, each new project is still built on the foundations of what he’s created in the past. Just like hip-hop’s top transcendentalists, Marvin Dolo is always evolving without losing what’s got him to where he is today. And that’s why, with each new project, Marvin Dolo seems like a more and more impressive version of himself creatively.
One of two ways is a masterful exhibition of what some of the world’s most famous artists are pursuing – it’s smooth, it’s fluid, and it’s nearly indefinable while still appealing to a mainstream audience if they knew where to look for it. So, here’s to hoping they find it because Marvin Dolo deserves all the recognition he can get.