Devin the Dude (@devindude420) — One For The Road Album Review by @JayFingers

Devin the Dude | soulhead

Title: One For The Road
Artist: Devin the Dude
Hood: Houston, Texas
Label: Coughee Brothaz Music / Greenstreets Entertainment / E1 Music
Genre(s): Hip-Hop
Released: October 15, 2013
Social: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The topic has been discussed ad nauseam: Hip-hop is a young man’s game. Yet if we look at some of the recent releases from artists both legendary (Jay Z, Nas) and on the come-up (2 Chainz, Pusha T), it seems that so-called old-timers are giving the younguns a run for their money. One could postulate that as the genre grows older so does a considerable constituency of its fans, and those fans are yearning for music that speaks to them.

Devin the Dude is certainly no spring chicken in the game. Once signed to Rap-A-Lot Records and making rap tunes since the early ‘90s, the 43-year-old Devin’s been at it for quite some time, churning out oft-hilarious songs about smoking weed, wooing women, and … smoking more weed. So it’s a bit of a shock to hear Devin spin grown man tales on his latest offering One For The Road.

Road almost comes across as an audio memoir. For instance, the homey, bluesy “Fresh Air” describes Devin’s encounter with a seemingly ungrateful homeless man outside a corner store. The range of thoughts and emotions that Devin conveys while looking at this man (“Stared to think ‘bout where his family and friends at/And I could even be his kin that/Didn’t even recognize him/Walk right by him/Passed and despised him”) reveals the sort of introspection explored throughout the album.

Devin further seeks to uplift on the positive “Livin’ This Life,” which features a reversed sample akin to the Beasties’ “Paul Revere.” On “Reach For It,” he advises, “Get off your ice and go and put your fuckin’ boots on/You hustle, get your loot on/You ball, go get your hoop on/Whatever/Put your suit on and go finish the job.” And he goes into crooner mode for the funky, motivational “Stop Waitin’.” The message is obvious—get up, get out, and get something. Look, when a man who’s been celebrated as a pot-loving MC tells you to get off your ass, you know you need to get on your hustle.

Even the album opener, “I’m Just Gettin’ Blowed,” veers away from the usual weed smoking shenanigans to impart a few words of wisdom.

But remember, this is a Devin album. He doesn’t get too preachy, and the Dude we’ve come to know and love over the past two decades shows up on “Herb the Nation” and “Please Don’t Smoke the Cheese.” And he tries in vain to remain sober before hitting the stage with his Odd Squad comrades Rob Quest and Jugg Mugg on “I Hope We Don’t Get Too Drunk.”

And of course Devin makes light of his problems with women on the humorous, synth-driven “Probably Should Have.” It’s the sort of sing-songy jam Drake will be making in the future.

Devin the Dude has always been that artist who’s usually enveloped in thick clouds of smoke, but One For The Road is truly a breath of fresh air.

Grade: B

Best Tracks

“Probably Should Have”

“Fresh Air” (feat. Rum & DNA)

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Ep-uVsHQA

“Stop Waitin’”

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f7Q6oAahUg

“Reach for It” (feat. Snap)

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpvfbpntwGA

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