The Rose Tint: Deluxe Edition
What a year it’s been for David Dallas – and it’s no stroke of luck; his achievements come from hard work and canny marketing. Dallas has played the game by the new rules, working his music through various online channels before releasing the album proper. The Rose Tint is his sophomore solo album, making good on the promise that was offered with 2009’s Something Awesome and his earlier work as part of Frontline.
Dallas decided to give The Rose Tint away for free – offering it as a limited download. And 60,000 people said yes please so from there Dallas, building on earlier momentum with the American underground hip-hop blogs, was featured by no less of a name than Kanye West.
He’s also had songs featured in the HBO series Entourage and performed entrance music for WWE tag-team wrestlers, The Usos. Now all of this is clever but the real hook – and the reason there’s been this success – is the music. A smooth flow, slick beats, accessible songs – Dallas is making a version of hip-hop that celebrates his Kiwi roots and is also universal in its appeal.
This is not a New Zealand rapper trying to play with the big boys, this is an international hip-hop artist – with international recognition – who just happens to call New Zealand home.
Most impressively Dallas is really delivering on earlier promise. There are great, catchy choruses on The Rose Tint and several of the tunes feel like pop songs. But there’s no obvious sell-out moment. This is crafted and clever – but it’s honest. It feels right – and real. And that is the music’s biggest strength. It was a huge punt offering the album up for free but it’s worked.
Dallas, now based largely in New York, has been performing shows in America, even opening for Black Star (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) and this Deluxe Edition of The Rose Tint features the full 13-track album, plus bonus tracks and a disc of instrumentals so that budding MCs can test their skills.
None of this would mean anything if the music wasn’t good – and The Rose Tint is one of the best hip-hop releases I’ve heard this year.