One of a few hints that D.R.A.M. doesn’t take himself too seriously can be found on the cover of his latest EP, Gahdamn! Yes, that’s an illustration of him happily smacking the spit out of Godzilla. This is one album that can be safely judged by its cover, and a treasure trove of cartoonishly fun, blazed-out excursions await inside.
Hailing from Hampton, Virginia, D.R.A.M. (Does Real Ass Music) spent his youth singing in church choirs and freestyling over Clipse beats by fellow Virginia native Pharrell. You’ll hear both sides of that coin all over Gahdamn! Backed by the pomp-&-circumstance production of Gabe Niles on “$”, D.R.A.M. sounds every inch the hustler who knows he’s on the verge of something big.
Things slow down on the chilled lounge R&B of “I’ll Be Back Again” and “Signals (Throw It Around),” which harnesses traffic light metaphors to chastise a girl who’s always sending mixed messages. Come for the clever wordplay, stay for the chipmunk choirs and trippy effects.
Guest SZA steals the show on a fantastic reworking of the Donnie Trumpet track “Caretaker.” SZA’s gorgeous range can’t help outshining D.R.A.M.’s lesser singing talents, but that’s hardly the point. As the man himself says: “I mess up in perfect stride/It’s alright just as long as you feel the vibe.”