Devin the Dude, 'Landing Gear' (Razor & Tie)

7
Landing Gear
Critical Mass
Label: Razor & Tie

by David Peisner

Devin the Dude's enthusiasms are pretty conventional -- weed, wine, women -- but those are the only conventional things about him. As a rapper, he veers between explicit boasts and self-deprecating wisecracks in a matter-of-fact flow that serves as a pointed contrast to the syrupy coo that he employs when singing his hooks. His new album is eclectic to a fault: Thumping, bass-heavy come-on "Let Me Know It's Real" feels like Aquemini-era OutKast; "Stray" is a super-slo-mo R&B sheet-soaker about his tendency to "strangle stupid bitches"; the woozy "I Need a Song" is earnest and introspective. None of this will make Devin a star anytime soon, but that's less his fault than it is everyone else's.

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