When a new sub-genre of music starts to take over a particular genre, typically there are quite a few “underground” artists that influenced the sound of the artists who brought that sound to the mainstream. If you are a fan of new Hip Hop music in 2021, you have definitely heard quite a bit of Emo-Trap music over the last year or so. It seems like this style of music is everywhere in Hip Hop these days, and so many of the instrumentals you will hear are at least tinted with this sound. This is because so many people in the current generation grew up hearing a lot of Emo-Rock and Pop-Punk music, and these two genres have naturally started to influence and infiltrate all kinds of current popular music. There have been a few artists who have been a huge inspiration to everyone who is making Emo-Trap music today, (including Lil Peep and Juice Wrld. RIP to them both), and one of them was 6 Dogs. Although he did have a few songs go viral, he never got the credit he deserved for developing the Emo-Trap sound. Unfortunately, 6 Dogs passed away on January 26, 2021, while in the process= of finishing his new album, Ronald. Rest in Peace, 6 Dogs. Thank you for all of the music and art that you created. Normally, I would not do a full review of an album by someone who passed away since they did not have a say in the final cut of the record, but since this one was pretty much finished before he passed, I feel comfortable reviewing it. With that being said, here is my review of 6 Dogs’ new record Ronald. Please let me know in the comments below if you agree with my review, and also let me know what your favorite songs are from the record are in the comments.
Dyed my hair green when I was sixteen. Weird boy ballin’, Dennis Rodman on the A-team. Day dream, night dream, yup, that’s the same thing. See the sun fall, watch it rise while I’m waking… – ‘When I Was a Baby’
6 Dogs has stated that this record is a birth to death story(which is sad considering the circumstances and that the first song is almost like his birth and origin story. Those feelings do shine through on ‘When I Was A Baby.’ The melody on this instrumental does have a bit of a lullaby quality to it; it is calm and easy-going, it has a sweet, nostalgic feeling to it. This song also has a very atmospheric and dreamy feeling to it. This is partly because of the breeziness of the instrumental, and partly because of the tranquil nature of 6 Dogs’ vocals. In this song, 6 Dogs talks about how quick his come-up had been, and how he was trying to just take everything in because life can come at you super fast. ‘When I Was a Baby’ is a pleasant track and it is a great way to start this record. ‘Beach House,’ which features Riz La Vie, immediately departs from the gentle and soft feeling that the last song brings. This track has a sort of anxious-sounding guitar melody that truly does go with the theme of the song. This melody has a bit of a genre-bending quality to it, sort of sounding like bluesy R&B and distressed Rock music at the same time. On Beach House, Riz La Vie and 6 Dogs are rapping about having tasted a bit of success and having attained a bit of “the good life” and now wanting more. This song demonstrates something that any human who starts to obtain luxury goes through; once you obtain a little of this luxury, you will never think that you have enough of it. Following this, we get ‘Tesla Tesla,’ which once again has a very different sound and style from the last track. This song is more of a traditional modern Trap banger, with an instrumental that is similar to a lot of the other moody and atmospheric Trap music that is popular today. I could see someone like Future, Young Thug, or Lil Keed on this instrumental. The melody is very dark and synth-heavy, and the beat has that typical Atlanta Trap feel to it. On ‘Tesla Tesla,’ 6 Dogs brings out his more braggadocious side. He realized that he was about to break through into the mainstream and make it to the top of the Rap game, and he wanted everyone to know that he was coming up next. He had been working at his craft for a very long time, and he realized that he was very close to becoming a household name. ‘Post Malone,’ which once again features Riz La Vie, calms the mood back down considerably, having an atmospheric element that reminds me of the first track of this record. This song is not as sweet or gentle sounding as ‘When I Was A Baby,’ though; in fact, it has a bit of a sad and dark quality to it. This instrumental sounds a lot like something that Lil Peep or Yung Lean would love to perform on. On this track, 6 Dogs and Riz La Vie rap about not being certain about the future and trying to take advantage of the present. This back and forth feeling is something that everyone struggles with, making this song very relatable. ‘Post Malone’ has a very raw and honest quality to it that I know a lot of people can appreciate.
‘Starfire(Teen Titans)’ continues the melancholy and sort of dark mood that the song which precedes it has. The instrumental for this one is a bit more sophisticated and trippy and dreamy, though. I appreciate the weird background sound effects that this one has; the owl hooting sound and chimes are layered in a way that gives the melody so much more texture and volume. On this track, 6 Dogs was talking about heartbreak. Because of his fast life and rising career, his previous relationship did not work out. He tried to work hard all the time and spend his money to forget about the pain this girl caused him, but ultimately he could not stop thinking about her. On the next track, ‘Interstellar’ featuring Tahj Keaton, we depart from the somber mood the last couple of songs have had. The title of this song goes with its sound super well, as the instrumental on this one makes me feel like I am on a space trip to the moon. The synths that drive this melody are just so otherworldly and psychedelic sounding. Lyrically, this song is a sort of extension off of the last one. Since 6 Dogs decided to move on from his girl and dive headfirst into his career, everything was starting to look up for him. He was starting to blow up again and was living the good life that he had always dreamed of. Tahj Keaton’s verse also has a similar theme. ‘Interstellar’ is about working hard and ultimately starting to make it. The instrumental for the next song, ‘Genie In A Bottle,’ sort of seems like a key and calm extension of the song which precedes it. ‘Genie In A Bottle’ has a similar melody to ‘Interstellar’ which also makes me feel like I am in space; ‘Genie In A Bottle’ is way more tranquil, though, and it feels like I am on floating in space rather than being on a rocket ship. Lyrically, this track has a similar feeling to the last couple of tracks. 6 Dogs was still thinking about the girl he lost, and he was still trying to buy fancy things to numb the pain. It was kind of working, but ultimately it is very difficult to fill that kind of hole in your heart strictly with material things. Following this, we get ‘Indigo Daydream,’ which also features Tahj Keaton. Compared to the last few songs, this one is a bit more harsh and intense. It does still have a bit of an atmospheric and spaced-out sound to it, but ‘Indigo Daydream’ also has an abrasive quality to it. This track does have a very atmospheric and dreamy quality to it. ‘Indigo Daydream’ is another song where 6 Dogs is trying to use material things and his success to drown out his heartbreak. Even though he had gotten to the point where he could pretty much buy everything he wants, he still was not happy because he was not able to be with the person he needed.
I wanna know what’s at the bottom of the ocean. I’ma drop the top if the doors won’t open. Maserati trident, wet like Poseidon. We be makin’ waves, we ain’t really even tryin’… – ‘The Dash(Mindframes)’
After how melancholy and introspective the last few songs had been, the next song, ‘Spy Kids,’ brings a ton of energy and brightens the mood a bit. Instrumentally, this one has a big and bold Melodic-Trap sound that makes me want to party. The melody and sound of this track remind me a lot of Juice Wrld and Young Thug’s song ‘Bad Boys’ in a way; they are just both such good club-style party-Trap records. On ‘Spy Kids,’ 6 Dogs was letting the world know about how far he has come and about all of the things he able to afford and do now. It is very braggadocious and light-hearted and fun, and the energy of the lyrics match up with the instrumental so well. ‘Time Machine’ calms the mood down a considerable amount, bringing us back to the dreamy and otherworldly atmospheric sound that was more prevalent early in the record. The melody and sound of this track are so soothing. giving this track a very tranquil feeling. On ‘Time Machine,’ 6 Dogs acknowledged how even though he still did not feel perfect mentally, he knew he was in a much better place than he had been earlier in his life. In this track, he does mention how he feels pretty alone, but this is better than feeling used and abused like he had felt earlier in his life. He would have rather been alone than have these negative feelings again. ‘The Dash(Mindframes)’ is a song that is meant to bring the mood back to a brighter and happier place. This track is driven by an upbeat and cheerful melody that just makes me want to smile and dance. It also has a tempo and beat to it that kind leans more into the “Emo” side of Emo-Trap; the drum pattern on this track has a lot more of a Punk-Rock feeling to it than most of the other songs on this record. During the chorus of ‘The Dash(Mindframes),’ 6 Dogs said: this beat make me feel like I won’t go out sad… This track has a very optimistic tone and feeling to it. On ‘The Dash(Mindframes),’ 6 Dogs was trying to count his blessings and show that he was appreciative for his fortune. 6 Dogs’ Ronald ends on an optimistic note with the song ‘Good Wings.’ It is another song with a very optimistic and uplifting melody and tone to it. At the time this album was written, it seemed like 6 Dogs was very at peace with who he had become and where he was, and that he just wanted to keep grinding to become bigger and better. He knew that he was in such a better place than he had been when he was younger, and he has very proud of himself and appreciative of everything he had. ‘Good Wings’ is a very nice way to end the record, because it has such a positive and inspiring tone to it. It is an excellent closer to a very introspective record that touches on the many important emotions 6 Dogs was feeling when he wrote the record.
6 Dogs was one of the rappers who helped develop and shape the current Emo-Trap and Atmospheric-Trap sounds. A lot of the biggest artists right now who excel in this genre got a lot of influence and inspiration from him. He was still very young when he passed, though, and was just coming into his own as an artist. I feel like he had so much potential, and was only just starting to scratch the surface of how good he could be. Ronald is an excellent example of this potential. This is an emotional and cohesive record that lets you into 6 Dogs’ journey and how he was feeling at the time it was completed. Ronald shows how good 6 Dogs already was as well as how great he could have become. RIP 6 Dogs.