When I heard Devin the Dude was releasing his 8th solo album, One for the Road, it made me realize how long it had been since he’d been in my regular music rotation. So on a short trip across the Golden Gate last night I chose his debut album as the soundtrack, and maybe it was the mood I was in after a tiring workday, but I realized for the first time just how many dark, somber, even straight up sad moments can be found among all the weed and sex jokes that he’s more usually known for.
Devin the Dude – Alright (feat. Randy-Ran)
It made me realize one small thing that I really appreciate about a lot of rap (this also ties in with this post to a degree): it actually does have all of the emotional content present in any other kind of music, but it’s so infrequently blatant about it that when those rare candid moments hit you, they hit with such honesty and presence that the effect is much stronger than if a similar sentiment was being expressed by a dude singing and playing an acoustic guitar or something. Because the kind of vulnerability that is commonplace in many other genres is so rare in rap, it cuts so deep when it comes out.
With my newfound perspective on Devin’s music, I returned home and discovered that the video for the main single from One for the Road had come out just the day before, and I was refreshed to find the same honesty and vulnerability I found on his first album holding strong in his newest track.
Devin the Dude – Probably Should Have
I feel like it’s worth reiterating that this is his eighth solo album, and Devin is well into his 40s at this point. Not a lot of 40 year olds (much less 40 year old rappers) are cool with portraying themselves in such an unflattering light, and it really makes me respect Devin a lot for being willing to when he probably could be making himself look as cool as he could dream of if he chose to. Sure I like what Raekwon did in this video too, but I also really appreciate Devin for doing the opposite.