The longtime Madison MC plans to release “Cul De Sac Rap” this spring.
Some of us, namely me, have been patiently waiting for years for Madison MC and spoken-word artist Rob Dz to release an album that captures what he has called his “adult contemporary” phase. Not that he’s been stingy lately—the past few years have seen Dz collaborate with jazz pianist Johannes Wallmann, rekindle his love of rapping on the playful mixtapes Yacht Hop and Yacht Hop 2, and craft on-the-fly spoken-word improvisations alongside the New Breed Jazz Jam on Tuesday nights at the North Street Cabaret. He also ran for office and was honored by Michelle Obama for his work mentoring students at the Madison Public Library’s Media Lab.
Last week, he released “Summinlike,” his first standalone original in several years. Built on a lush, synth-heavy beat from Madison-based producer/MC DLO, the track offers a reflection on maturity, purpose, and community: “I’m too grown for all that buffoonery / Why cats thinking it’s sweet like perfumery? / Then I drip y’all with that knowledgeable jewelry,” Dz raps, with a delivery that’s at once laid-back and propulsive. The video for the song shows Dz rapping in a vocal booth, in front of those cool lights at the Central Library, and at Genna’s.
“Summinlike” is the first single from a planned album called Cul De Sac Rap, which Dz hopes to release this spring. Other collaborators on the record, he says, include Ricanstructa of Lucha Libre, DScribe, Midnite Beatz, Krash, Chris Wheeler, and Lasfeld.
For Dz, “adult contemporary” seems to mean soaking up some refinement and dimension while remaining sharp, funky, and thoughtful. See how he looks in that turtleneck-blazer ensemble? That’s what this track sounds like to me, and it suits him well.