Life to most of us isn’t this glamorous enigma that is glorified and talked about by a large portion of today’s mainstream rappers. Rather, most of us are just trying to live day by day and get through it with our head on our shoulders. It isn’t as easy as the ten-percenters make it look, nor is it as hard as the politicians would like you to believe. This middle ground is classified by a search for relaxation and a thirst for comfort that is quenched by the simple things in life. The Dirty South rap artists of the early 2000’s had this lifestyle locked down. More specifically, artists like Devin The Dude were “Feelin’ fine in my Lacville ‘79”, paying no mind to their outdated whip and rather revelling in the fact that its age was correlated to a lower percentage of car theft.
You could say that Devin The Dude was ‘Just Tryin Ta Live’ — he did. His 2002 album, further cements the MC’s relatability to average individual. His verses span from conversational narratives to smoked-out sing-a-longs. The vibe is constrained to only as far as the mind will let it go. This can’t be better explained than listening to the twangy southern guitars and keys of ‘Doubie Ashtray’ with your eyes closed. The first-world problem of having someone help themselves to your weed becomes an extravagant composition that draws out your inner laziness. Oh and he’s pretty damn funny too, ending the song with an exclamation after finding a different bag of weed he must have misplaced.
This lightheartedness is a constant and a gift for Devin. He tackles issues both big and small with an everready sense of comedy and wit. On, ‘Who’s That Man, Moma’ he steps into the audience’s perspective for a few verses about the image of himself he gives his fans and his power over youthful onlookers who want to be him. It’s equal parts touching and hard to take seriously with the incessant marijuana interjections. The instrumental in comprised of a lax bassy-guitar riffing behind separated snare hits. The beats never reach out of their element, which on the musical periodic table is smack-dab in the middle of laid back, down beat, slow tempoed rhythms. Your head can nod while your eyelids slouch, it easy-listening in every sense.
His voice is manipulated within a small range to sound like an airy, southern wordsmith similar to a young Andre 3000. His stories stress the difficulties living in beneath the stressors of money, drugs and women. Never taking this trio of problems too seriously though, he always seems to cover his situation in a haze of weed smoke and that is enough for him. His understanding of the repetitive lifestyles we lead open our eyes to “the grind”. Doing the same thing over and over isn’t leading to anywhere except tomorrow. Tomorrow is fine but to look any further, he closes the album with the idea that, ‘We have to change our ways’. Conscious all while being not. His lyrics travel from the mundane to the briefly intellectual while consistently showing the prowess behind those smoky emissions.