Beats International - Frank N Dank Meet Dopeness Galore

Leader Line: Detroit hip hop ruffnecks, Frank-N-Dank return with a near-album sized EP, and The Skinny is on hand to discuss. <br/><br/>Pull Quote: ""The duo's speciality is street reportage, but unlike most, their colourful tales of slum life come off as credible, as-lived exploits.""

Feature by Colin Chapman | 11 May 2007
Frank N Dank, real names Frank Bush and Derrick Harvey, are former protégés of one of hip hop's greatest losses, the sadly departed Jay Dilla. They recorded a stack of much sought after 12" singles with the revered Motor City producer, including Everybody Get Up, Love Is A Thing Of The Past and Push Up.

"We met Dilla in 1984 when we were kids," recalls Derrick. "Growing up with hip hop, we worked so well together because everything was built on friendship. Now's he gone I really miss him, but his legacy's strong, thanks to all the music he's blessed us with." Frank and Derrick's own 21 year friendship has helped Frank N Dank build an obvious chemistry on the mic, best illustrated by their lyrical exchanges on Pause, from Jay Dilla's 2001 album, Welcome 2 Detroit. Like many hip hop artists, the duo's speciality is street reportage, but unlike most, their colourful tales of slum life come off as credible, as-lived exploits, rather than fabricated boasts.

Despite nearly two albums worth of well-received singles, touring with Dilla and support dates for A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Slum Village, Common and Ludacris, they've only released one album, last year's X-tended Play Version 3.13. An earlier release in 2003, the Jay Dilla-produced 48 Hours, was at first rejected by their then label MCA, reworked with new production and resubmitted, but finally shelved altogether. The inevitable bootlegs did eventually surface in the underground.

For their debut EP release on Amsterdam's Dopeness Galore label, they've hooked up with a host of Dutch producers, each crafting their own infectious, head-nodding backdrop. The project came about when Dopeness' producer, Wouda, approached the pair at an Amsterdam show, and asked them if they'd be interested in collaborating. Both were enthusiastic, and so the label circulated the idea among Dutch beat-makers, resulting in productions by I.N.T., Y'Skid, Elsas, Kid Sublime and Wouda.

"The Dopeness sound was different... it felt like early hip hop, so we approached it in the old-school format; no big glossy hooks just cuts from the DJ," explains Frank. "We took it back to when it was just about a beat, a DJ and an MC - you spit what you feel, not what's most marketable."

Indeed, the collaboration was so successful that both are open to the idea of more, as Frank concludes: "Man, if Dopeness is ready to do an album let's do it! They know how to get it crackin'."
The EP is released on 18 May on Dopeness Galore.,,