Shallow Graves For Toys: a vastly underrated project

Shallow Graves for Toys is Dreamville-signed rap duo Earthgang's premiere stuido album

Dreamville

Shallow Graves for Toys is Dreamville-signed rap duo Earthgang's premiere stuido album

Nick Bell

Shallow Graves for Toys is the first album released by Atlanta-based rap group Earthgang. Shallow Graves for Toys was officially released in 2013.

Earthgang is a rap duo consisting of Johnny Venus, whose real name is Olu O. Fann, and Doctur Dot, whose real name is Eian Undrai Parker.

Earthgang has seen plenty of success in recent years. The duo signed to J. Cole’s Grammy-nominated record label/rap group, Dreamville, on August 31, 2017. Shallow Graves for Toys only becomes a better track when you realize it was created independently.

The album cover, names of songs, and everything in between is done immaculately on Shallow Graves for Toys. Earthgang’s main strength, especially on this project, is their idiosyncratic, syncopated cadence.

Both Dot and Venus can manipulate their pitch and emphasis, all while telling a story. This leads to a completely unique album. The instrumentals and production on the album is very standard. This, however, works to Earthgang’s advantage as their lyricism, storytelling, and strange flow shine through as a standout of the project.

Another major appeal to Shallow Graves for Toys and Earthgang’s discography is how raw it is. In a hip-hop industry that is oversaturated with watered down lyrics overpowered by 808s, Earthgang is a breath of fresh air. 

Many of the things Earthgang talks about are abrasive, to say the least. They hold nothing back, as demonstrated on the fourth track No Peace. The main line of the hook reads: “Do this so my momma never have to wash them toilets.” This line is powerful, as it depicts a dark undertone to the entire album. A sense of being powerless, even fed up, resonates throughout the entire project.

Although Earthgang has seen plenty of success in recent years, one of their most powerful albums continues to get little to no attention in the mainstream. Shallow Graves for Toys is an album that leaves the listener refreshed and empowered.