Devin The Dude
(RAZOR & TIE)
Although he’s been flying below hip-hop’s national radar for the better part of his 14-year career, Devin the Dude is still, well, that dude. His soulful, sexed-up vocals and feel-good lyrics have made him a definite fan favorite. On his latest, Landing Gear, Devin does what he does best, mixing raunchy love songs with laughable narratives.
Ever the comedian, Devin weaves through the smooth bass line of “In My Draws” to spit a humorous tale about overzealous jump-offs, then gets bilingual on the highly entertaining “El Grande Nalgas,” an ode to apple bottoms en Español. Moving west, the Houston representative links up with Snoop Dogg for the groovy antigroupie anthem “I Don’t Chase ’Em,” before switching from silly to serious. “Thinkin’ ’Boutchu” finds the former Odd Squad member reminiscing about a past love over funky flutes and an acoustic guitar (“It was nobody’s fault/And if you think that I don’t miss you, you can hold that thought”).
Flexing his storytelling ability even further, Devin pens a fictional tale about catching a DUI charge, on the somber-sounding “I Can’t Make It Home.” Ironically, the habitual weed head turns right around and delivers an antidrug PSA on the cautionary “Yo Mind,” where he spits, “You thinkin’ nobody cares, and you’re in it by yourself/Takin’ anything, steady destroying your health.”
Devin is an exceptional writer. Unfortunately, his chronic-induced flow, coupled with the album’s relaxed production, comes across sleepy this time out. On the slow and plodding “Let Me Know It’s Real,” Dev halfheartedly explains his infidelities over a droopy backdrop, only to flip the script and praise his woman’s love on the supersappy “Your Kinda Love.” However, Devin’s easygoing charisma goes a long way, making Landing Gear an ideal soundtrack for those coming off a high. —MEKA UDOH