Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Do You (Really) Listen To Devin?
Just posting up a quick reminder about the rescheduled Devin the Dude show this Friday at the Apache Cafe. My homeboy Jabari of Shameless Plug who is promoting the show just sent out an email talking about how in promoting the show he's been introduced to a wide range of people from different races and walks of life who all are fans of Devin. Which shouldn't be a surprise...
People like to get high. But, I wonder how many of them actually "listen" to Devin though. Over the last few years I've been led to believe that most folks who like Devin...like weed. Not that that's a bad thing. Most music sounds great when you're under the influence of something. But in most of my conversations with people regarding Devin's music, weed is usually the focal point.
ME: "What you think of that new Devin album?"
THEM: "Good music to smoke to."
ME: "What's your favorite song on there?"
THEM: "The smoking song."
ME: "What's your favorite Devin album?"
THEM: "The one where he smoking on the cover."
ME: "Do you listen to Devin when you're not smoking?"
THEM: "What? Why? Its smoking music?"
I mean, I've been hep to Devin since he was on Scarface's "Hand of the Dead Body" (1994):
and later on as a member of the Odd Squad. Again, I can't sit here and act like weed and sex aren't frequent themes in Devin's music. I just know that The Dude is more than that and I get a little disappointed when I hear "fans" only know him from that. Its as if they don't appreciate the tragic comedy in his music, or his story telling abilities:
Devin the Dude - "Boo Boo'N"
But shit, they are fans supporting the mans music, so I probably shouldn't complain.
But hell, even he gets a little disappointed by it himself. I interviewed him for Ozone magazine last year when his Landing Gear album came out. I asked him how he felt about the stigma that's been placed on him as an artist, and he admitted that it bothered him. Mainly because it seemed like every time an artist or producer would call him for a feature, it would only be for the "smoking song," the "pussy song," or the "smoking while getting pussy" song. Which is virtually true outside of the time's he's worked with The Roots and De La Soul. And hell, he only did the hook on those songs.
We also spoke about his To Tha X-Treme album and how he was pretty much at his "highest" and lowest making the album. He said he was experimenting with extacy and drinking a lot at the time and was going through a lot of personal problems. Hell, he said he couldn't even listen to the album without crying, which is why he hasn't listened to it since he recorded it. If you go back and listen, its probably his most personal/reflective album to date. He also said it was one of his lowest selling albums and he figured that people didn't want to hear that kinda of shit from him, so...back to the smoking and fucking.
But back to the original thought. Devin also told me that he has to remind people frequently that he is indeed an MC capable on rapping on a bevy of things or that even when he does rap about weed & pussy that he can do it from an unique and not so (pun intended) blunt angle.
Devin the Dude feat. The Odd Squad - "Fa Sho" (one of Devin's "pussy" songs)
Devin the Dude feat. Cory Mo - "Go Fight Some Other Crime" (one of Devin's "weed" songs)
But yeah, I'm probably tripping right now. Like my man TC from, ironically, The Smoking Section once told me in a discussion we once had: you can't be surprised over this because Rap-A-Lot and surely Devin himself markets his image as a weed and sex crazed clown. Maybe I'm reading into something too much or listening to hard. Because I actually hear things other than blunts burning when I listen to The Dude.
Devin the Dude - "Write or Wrong" (my all time favorite Devin song)
But yeah, if you trying to see Devin, make sure you come out to the Apache this Friday. He doesn't come here often.
BONUS: I'm gonna share a link to a review I did on Waiting To Inhale for XXL a couple years ago. The commenters tore me up for giving the album a "L" rating. In my own defense, the copy I reviewed was not the completed version that you lucky people got to hear afterwards. "What A Job" featuring Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000 wasn't even on there. At that point it was just Devin's verse and hook. If that song was on there, it woulda pushed it over the top. But it's still not one of my favorite Devin albums though.
XXL MAGAZINE-Devin The Dude: Waitin’ To Inhale