In July 2019, Young Dolph and Key Glock struck gold when they dropped their first collaborative album, Dum and Dummer. The hard-hitting project put them on a path to succeed in a year that was otherwise tough for their hip-hop industry peers.
Dum and Dummer peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart and fueled them to release individual top 20 Billboard 200-charting sets in Dolph’s Rich Slave (No. 4) and Glock’s Yellow Tape (No. 14) in 2020, respectively. What pushed them to continue working as if it was a regular year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the outside world, was their ability to focus.
“We be in our own little world,” Key Glock shares with Billboard. “What was going on outside of that didn’t really affect us. We still have to feed our families, and even if there wasn’t anything happening, we would still be working our asses off. We don’t feed into what’s happening in the outside world too much.”
That laser-like focus Key Glock mentioned allowed the two cousins to lock in for Dum and Dummer 2, which they kept under wraps until unleashing the winter-inspired video for the project’s lead single, “Aspen.” The 20-track album is shorter than its predecessor, but the rap duo says they took the fiery energy from the first album and carried it to the next level for the sequel. They’re coming with a knock-out punch that they hope fans will feel.
Because Dolph and Glock seldom make music together, there was a sense of urgency while recording Dum and Dummer 2. The “Blue Diamonds” rapper says he didn’t want critics to put Glock under his wing and instead wanted him to grow independently; hence why they only have a few songs together.
“We were anxious to have fun on this album,” Dolph explains to Billboard. “There’s a song on there called ‘Cheat Code’ we recorded in LA, and we don’t record music together, but we played that one back over and over. The song was too raw and too hard, and we were like, ‘S—t, let’s make another 15 of these and put it out.’ We knew we had to make another one — so we said, ‘F–k it, let’s drop Dum and Dummer 2.””
With Dum and Dummer 2, Dolph and Glock are looking to surpass what they accomplished with the first album. Like the first Dum and Dummer, the sequel has solo records from the two MCs interspersed with the bass-heavy bangers they made together.
Young Dolph and Key Glock’s latest project isn’t just a new album for the Memphis natives, though — it’s a part of the first phase of Dolph’s indie label Paper Route Empire’s introduction to the game. Dolph has been working diligently behind the scenes to build a label with a slew of up-and-coming artists that are ready to hit the road running.
“This has always been my plan and my vision, to build a strong team and build artists like Glock,” Dolph says. “I always knew I could do it with artists, because I saw what I did for myself as an artist. I got the green light, and it’s the beginning of what we are doing. Everyone is going to see this journey we’re going on.”
Dolph continues, “It was a strategic plan, because prior to us doing Dum and Dummer, me and Glock never had music together. So I planned it that way — because I always wanted Glock to take off and go big on his own, without a Dolph co-sign or Dolph feature. Once Glock got himself to a certain status, I felt like the people wanted it, and I don’t have to worry about people feeling like Glock did this because of me.”
With Glock placing himself in a formidable position, he’s also getting a front-row seat in learning how to run an independent label. One of the most important lessons Dolph maintains is letting his artists grow and flourish on their own, which in turn, has allowed Glock to lead the way for his new labelmates.
“I’m the quarterback or the point guard,” he says. “I let the coach and staff do their job, and everybody has a job and a role to play. I do my thing regardless because I’m not here to play. Like when COVID hit, I just had to go in.”
Dolph adds, “It’s a one-of-a-kind thing. I like seeing new artists with no buzz, because I can give them game, and they’ll take that and run with it. It’s not like someone who’s been around that feels like they know it all. I just signed a lot of artists within the last four months, and we got a lot of new music and content coming out. We’re going to run circles around people at major labels.”
Paper Route Empire is in a great position at the moment: They have a band of new rappers and a plethora of content ready to be unleashed on fans. They aim to be the next big empire in hip-hop, and Dum and Dummer 2 is the start of that. According to Glock, Paper Route Empire lets the music speak for itself.
“We know what’s going to happen when we drop,” Dolph added. “There’s a lot of people in this game that wait for Paper Route, Dolph or Glock to drop just to get that new lingo and style and see what type of creativity we on. They either take it and run and bite off our shit, or they want to do that. Either way, we’re having fun with this.”