According to various interviews, before recording “A New Dope,” the members of Boston rap duo 7L & Esoteric were feeling somewhat stilted creatively, and both of them began to explore other musical venues. Though nothing ever officially resembling a breakup was ever announced, it seemed as if some sort of change was imminent. And indeed it was, but luckily for fans, that change came in the form of A New Dope. The record is actually a big departure from what they’ve put out before, and partially because Esoteric has pretty much left his battle rhymes behind, he chooses to comment more on the state of the world (hip-hop and otherwise) than to dis other rappers. A New Dope is intricate and accessible and with it, 7L & Esoteric have found a way to challenge and interest both themselves and their fans, reintroducing themselves quite loudly, and quite boldly, with absolutely no signs of slowing down.