Nov 30, 2023

The Essentials: Dope (The Albums)

Dope has a habit of putting out consistently excellent music. We all know that. But which albums are the ones we’d recommend to those starting out in the fandom? Which ones are the best of the bunch? The bar is already shockingly high, and with seven studio albums to choose from, the question is difficult to answer.

Today on The Essentials, edseldopefan.org attempts the monumental task of ranking our favourite Dope albums. Links to listen to each release are included, via Dope’s official Youtube channel. (You know the drill: sub if you haven’t already – it really does make a difference!)

A disclaimer: I’m not a professional reviewer by any means, but I am a long time fan. What all reviews have in common is they are just one person’s opinion. If you would have chosen differently, great! Differences of opinion make conversations about music more interesting. What a boring world we would live in if everyone agreed on everything all the time.

With that out of the way, let’s hop right into it!

American Apathy

Released: July 26, 2005 // Listen?
  • I admit, the fact that this album is so nostalgic for me is part of the reason why it’s ranked so high. Truthfully, this record was what made me fall in love with the band! American Apathy is often overlooked in the conversation about Dope’s albums, and that’s kind of a bummer. This is the album responsible for No Way Out, I’m Back and Survive – and all three are pretty essential Dope tracks. (Always is also on this album, which remains one of my absolute favourite Dope songs) In interviews from the time, Edsel stated American Apathy is an album that doesn’t take itself so seriously, which actually makes me like it even more. I’m dying on this hill: this album doesn’t get enough credit, it’s awesome. In fact, you should go listen to it immediately. Or at least… after you read the rest of this article.

Blood Money Part Zer0

Released: February 23, 2023 // Listen?
  • To hear me talk sometimes, one might think I listen to nothing but Dope all day. This is not the case, but I digress. We were all waiting a long time for this album, and in that time I listened to a lot of music from other artists. Some awesome, some lousy. When Blood Money Part Zer0 finally dropped, I listened to it from start to finish for hours without skipping a song. I genuinely do not remember the last time I did that. One of my favourite things about Blood Money Part Zer0 is how the record goes for it with new ideas while still remaining true to Dope’s style and aesthetic. Of particular note to me are Dope’s take on “Lovesong”, along with “Parasite” and “Row”, with all three songs feeling both fresh and familiar. People change and grow, that’s a good thing! We love to see it.

Blood Money Part 1

Released: October 28, 2016 // Listen?
  • When asked to name Dope’s most iconic album, many fans point to this one. It might arguably be the band’s most well known work: Blood Money Part 1 was Dope’s highest charting album in the US (ranking at number 27). It also produced some of their best known songs: Selfish, Hold On and of course, Blood Money were all on this album. To this day, the videos for these three songs are some of the most popular videos on Dope’s official Youtube channel. Blood Money Part 1 also has low key bangers like Lexipro and Numb alongside the eternal classic 1999, making it a must listen for any Dope fan.

No Regrets

Released: March 10, 2009 // Listen?
  • The fact that I named my hosting domain undevoted.org might be a clue to this album’s place in my heart. (undevoted.org is what hosts EDF.org, after all…) I’ve found that if people don’t name a song off Blood Money Part 1 as one of their faves, it’s usually something from No Regrets. And with good reason – this album has a lot of great stuff. Violence, Addiction and My Funeral were standouts on this album, as were the title track and Best for Me (both personal anthems of mine). Its simplicity is its strength. No Regrets is the kind of balls to the wall rock that Dope is known for: put it on and crank it up loud.

So, what do you think? Were your favourites on this list? Have your say at any time by contacting me. Until next time!