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Love ‘Dex Meets Dexter’ now, forget it tomorrow

| Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cristina Interiano | The Observer

Famous Dex seems restless. Between his high-energy, repetitious music and reportedly non-stop work ethic when it comes to music, it’s odd that his first album has been delayed for 10 months. First touted as dropping in the summer of 2017, “Dex Meets Dexter” has finally been released among the buzz of its first single “Pick it Up.”

And “Pick it Up” defines the appeal of Famous Dex. With a constantly shifting beat and strong feature from A$AP Rocky, “Pick it Up” showcases Famous Dex’s trademark energy along with Rocky’s inimitable flow.

As a single, “Pick it Up,” rules Famous Dex’s catalog, but on the album, it plays a much smaller role. Again, sticking with his M.O. of change, Dex tinkers throughout the album with different flows and even experiments with singing. “JAPAN,” the second single from the album, benefits the most from these differing approaches. It contains endless appeal in its irresistably catchy chorus and bouncing beat.

The album’s opener, “DMD,” is another high point. Famous Dex is on his game — coherent in terms of him speaking English, incoherent in terms of meaning. The beat, produced by Pi’erre Bourne, is bound to make people break floors. “Champion,” featuring Diplo, also has an eccentric, highly-polished beat.

While the beats are generally very strong, the album is not quite perfect when it comes to the noises which are not rapping. Famous Dex’s ad-libs become tiresome. Given that the album is meant to be listened to in a state of mind open to anything, the sort of fifth-grade level of annoyance that his ad-libs bring should easily be ignored.

These ad-libs, which often border on intrusive, are noticeably absent in the sing-songs of the album. Sort of paradoxically, the parts lacking the greatest annoyance are the weakest bits of the album. Famous Dex has a fine voice, but the songs which he sings have little of the excitement of the rest of his music. These songs are sleepy, without any lyrical significance. Although “PROVE IT” and “LIGHT” are poor examples of Famous Dex’s singing ability, “CELINE” strikes just the right balance between rapping and melody. The track lends itself equally well to sing-alongs and parties.

Dex is carefree in his raps. He often makes jokes of what would be missteps.  In “JAPAN,” Famous Dex raps “Took her to my place, baby ate me like some cake… what?” like even he’s surprised about what he just said. Other examples include when he reuses the same lyrics across songs; these repetitions function as connecting threads even though they could be considered lazy songwriting.

Overall, Famous Dex is best when his beats are light and his approach is far from serious. On “Dex Meets Dexter,” he often shows this side of his work; but he also puts on display a lot misguided music. It’s the perennial issue of rappers who come up quickly in this new generation of music. Long-time hip-hop fans often lament their general technical inability, and newer fans take pride in their nonsense.

Famous Dex is an artist for the new school. He’s not strong enough to carry a song while singing or storytelling. Dex’s strength lies in his ability to be free from any constraints, including the constraints of real talent. His music will be forgotten fifteen years from now, but I will gladly shoot to “Dex Meets Dexter” today. Like Famous Dex does, enjoy the here and now; “Dex Meets Dexter” necessitates a listener free from judgement. If that condition can be met, the album will be enjoyed.

 

Artist: Famous Dex

Album: Dex Meets Dexter

Label: 300 Entertainment and Rich Forever Music

Favorite Track: “JAPAN”

If You Like: Playboi Carti, Smokepurpp, MadeinTYO

2.5/5 Shamrocks

 

 

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