BVA’s 3rd Album “The Dam Builder” Prod. by Leaf Dog Improves from It’s Predecessors (Album Review)

This is the 3rd full-length LP from Glastonbury, Somerset, United Kingdom emcee BVA. Coming up as a member of The Four Owls, he’s also given us a couple albums & EPs of his own over the course of this past decade with the 2021 sophomore effort Lex Neville & his first EP BVA MC standing out the most of the few solo efforts under his belt. However after learning that Leaf Dog was fully producing The Dam Builder after dropping When Sleeping Giants Wake a month ago, I went into it expecting to surpass everything BVA had done previously.

After the intro, the first song “Charge It to the Game” officially begins the album with a soulful boom bap instrumental talking about being heartless in the face yet the calmest in his lane whereas “New Days” featuring Verb T takes the jazzier route explaining that it ain’t ever same as older days. “Out Here” featuring Benny the Butcher & Leaf Dog returns to the boom bap so they can talk about being raised outside leading into Leaf sticking around on the mic for “8 Bit Tales” dustily telling freaky tales like Too $hort.

“Desire” brings a whimsical boom bap vibe to the beat talking about there still a fire even when it’s cold ahead of Leaf Dog returning inside the booth once again for the orchestral “Take It Easy” likening the instrumental hitting like a wake & bake. “Nice n Crispy” works in more kicks, snares & orchestra elements to say shit like this is what makes them say these type of days be some of the best just before “1 in the Ashtray” talking about getting stoned during the day pretty much as soon as he wakes up.

Meanwhile on “Flying Daggers”, we have BVA over more classical flavored boom bap production refusing to allow anyone to burst his bubble while the solemnly “Dreamer” talking about how it don’t cost shit to be nice & people having their heads up in the clouds rather than in their vices. “Lost” has a soulful boom bap flare instrumentally explaining that every one of us is lost looking for a way out while “Over the Edge” takes a second checking what he knows in his head over more kicks & snares.

“Couple Clues” luxuriously observes the humor in these kids being told they were special & reality cutting them like sharp metal as they grew up while the organ-laced “Curse of the Liquor” insightfully breaking down the cons of alcoholism. “Still Rowing” soulfully talks about your respect owing while “Mightier Than the Sword” mixed a crooning sample with kicks & snares likening himself to a beast in his lair calling the feeling home sweet home.

Ramson Badbonez joins BVA on “Hiding in Plain Sight” continuing the sampling of soul music cautioning not to trust the government, the lawmakers or pharmaceuticals while the track “The Medecine” featuring Leaf Dog brings back the strings throwing kicks & snares on top of them explaining that it was never about anything else. And prior to the outro, the final song “Always Something” featuring Leaf Dog ends the LP brushing bad things off like nothing over organs.

His last couple albums have been a tad bit overloaded with the guests, but BVA really tones it down for The Dam Builder resulting in living up to my expectations outdoing B.V.A. (Be Very Aware) & Lex Neville in becoming my new favorite solo effort in his discography. Leaf Dog’s production fuses the raw drum patterns of the traditional boom bap sound with samples along with strings & organs so BVA provides some of his most focused performances.

Score: 8/10