LAST WEEK Portland singer/rapper the Last Artful, Dodgr dropped “Oofda,” the first single from her forthcoming LP Bone Music with producer Neill Von Tally. The song’s production has a cryptic quality, and is about a relationship that’s gone stale. I wasn’t super blown away with the drop, but only because I’ve already heard the awesome live version several times before.
Since I first saw Dodgr perform at the Thesis’ one-year anniversary show last December, I could tell she was on a whole other level. It wasn’t just her commanding stage presence, unflappable confidence, and bars for days. It was that voice, distinctly raspy and soulful, and the quality of her songs. “Squadron” can make an entire room dance like they wrote it.
After releasing her first EP, Fractures, and killing her set at Girl Fest NW last year, Dodgr has continued to put in work, from her music video for “Jelly Hunt” to the cool EP Rare Treat she made in collaboration with EYRST labelmates Myke Bogan and Neill Von Tally. While many artists make the mistake of doing too many collabs and putting out a bunch of random songs that are merely listenable, Dodgr’s projects are super conceptual. Of this rising new wave of Portland hip-hop artists worth recommending—Mic Capes, Blossom, and Jon Belz, to name a few—lately the Last Artful, Dodgr has been at the tip of my tongue. Her stuff sounds and looks high quality, like she should already be a star outside of Portland.
Luckily, it seems she’s on her way, and the rest of the world’s starting to catch on. Last week, right after she and Blossom accompanied Portland rapper Aminé as backup singers during his performance of “Caroline” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Dodgr fulfilled a lifelong dream of appearing on the Sirius radio show Sway in the Morning. She appeared humble but excited, and talked about growing up in Los Angeles, her education in journalism and anthropology, her queer identity, and then did a stunning acapella performance that highlighted her soulful vocals.
Bone Music was selectively released earlier this month, and is due out to the public early next year, but 10 bucks says she has something else in store before then.