Words by Patrick M.
When I see the name Devin the Dude and I pop in a CD called Waiting to Inhale, the question that rings in my mind is, “how seriously am I supposed to take this guy?”
I mean what does he want from me? Am I supposed to listen to the tracks with a critic’s ear hoping to hear dope rhymes with social commentary or smoke a bowl of dried up KB and giggle at his penis jokes? (For the record, I tried both.)
From the looks of the singles he has released the man desires the former. The first single features the hottest rappers Lil Weezy as well as co-slept on Houstonian Bun B. The song, “Lil’ Girl Gone,” is a serious tale of a yung un who runs away from home after hard times drive her parents to the drink and the pipe. All three verses tug at the heart strings but Bun B’s story of how the girl watches her family destroy itself helplessly stick out in my mind.
“She says Daddy what’s wrong/but he’s just too high /Mommy what we gonna do/ she just get drunk and cry /caught in the middle of two wrongs/trying to do right. looking for answers all alone/in the darkness of night.”
The second single features a laid back guitar beat and a superteam of MCs in Devin, Snoop Dogg, and Andre 3000 giving their takes on the ups and downs of the rap game. Andre drops his best verse since 2000 in this song even if he does bitch about people downloading his music. Devin chimes in with his own ode to the unseen folks who make every album possible.
“This is for all the engineers who smoke weed/Can’t forget about the production costs and all the hidden fees/For another rhyme written/we spend time spittin’ in the booth/Sometimes it’s like a pigeon coop/But it’s all for the cause so I’m gonna continue to MC/and smoke weed, you know I’mâ€¦”
So here we have this talented rapper, Devin, dropping lead tracks deep with messages about life and the game, and what does he devote the rest of the album to? The annoyance of women who want to charge money for sex, (“She Want That Money.”) running out fo papers or bowls, (“Nothing to Roll With,”) and girls he wanted to fuck in high school that are now fat. (“She Usesta Fuck”) etc.
On first listen, your impulse is to dismiss these songs as fluff, but after a few listens (and a few hits if that’s your thing,) you realize it’s brilliant fluff. The beats consistently make great background for a smoking session, but are varied enough in style to keep things interesting. (“Nothing to Roll With,” has a country vibe; “She Useta” has a straight 70’s jazz funk fusion feel.) More importantly the lyrics are fucking hilarious. In case you are wondering, according to him, Devin’s dick is so clean you could boil it with some collard greens.
And while rap music focuses on the serious, most of life is goofy and stupid. Guys try to convince girls they don’t have to wear condoms (“Broccoli and Cheese”), guys fantasize about getting back at their exes (“Just Because”), and people run out of blunt papers at inopportune times. People don’t write songs about these things because it’s hard to make interesting songs out of seemingly mundane events. Devin does this and keeps it entertaining through his own combo of outrageous humor and banging beats. In some ways, he has created the realest album of the year. And that deserves to be taken seriously…with some broccoli and cheese.