Have you ever had trouble with mixing and matching outfits in your closet? Like, have you ever been faced with asking yourself, can I get away with wearing this? Have you ever put together an outfit you thought was runway worthy, but to those around you it appeared that you were having a John Witherspoon moment? You know “you got to coordinate.” It’s okay; many people leave the crib everyday without fully checking themselves. However, there’s one man for sure who has never had these problems, and he goes by the name of Devin Tracy. Originally from Jacksonville, FL, Tracy is currently making his mark on the New York City music scene. On his latest EP, Good Afternoon, Tracy skillfully covers classic R&B hooks over mostly underground beats; he knows what to take, and what to leave behind. If there are any Hip-hop beat junkies reading this, Tracy vocally blends old school R&B verses on Afternoon like a lyrical version of Knxwledge.
The Jacksonville native laid the groundwork for this project on 2015’s Good Morning EP that featured beats by a group of mysterious producers: Sango, Aundra D.R.A. Brown, and Zac Biasi. The EP introduced listeners to Tracy’s mash-up skills on the last track titled: Use To Love The Worst. The track pairs the instrumental from Souls of Mischief’s 93‘Til Infinity with lyrics from Faith Evan’s You Used To Love Me. Tracy effortlessly solders the two classics together with his gentle tone, and smooth delivery. Half of Tracy’s work on Afternoon is devoted to showcasing his blending skills. On tracks such as Without Me X Without You, You’re Not Here, and What You Won’t Do For Love, the singer revamps lines from familiar love ballads.
Two of the most interesting presentations out of the three are You’re Not Here, and What You Won’t Do For Love. On the former, the soul expert expresses his desire for a drifting lover by pulling the hook from Lloyd’s 2007 hit I Want You, and his delivery is something both Lloyd and Spandau should be proud of. He further expresses his love by transitioning from Lloyd to Mary J. Blige by adopting her interpretation of the Stylistics’ You Are Everything. All of this is happening on a bomb beat by a not too familiar producer named Z. On the latter, Tracy borrows the Pharcyde’s Folky melody from the Hip-hop classic hit Runnin’, and throws some of Bobby Caldwell’s sentiments on top for a memorable closer to the EP.
The meshing that occurs on this musical gem feels like a mad scientist is at work the way parts and pieces of songs are pulled together. The out come, however, is a listening pleasure and not a monster. To better grasp the experience, imagine the opening sequence to Robot Chicken, but without all the gore. Also remove the mad scientist and the chicken, and replace them with Tracy in the middle of some experiment. Picture some crazy procedure where Lloyd’s head is placed on the body of MJB, and Bobby Caldwell is transformed into the fifth member of the Pharcyde. Okay, all of that may seem strange, but maybe not completely far-fetched to those who have already listened to the project.
Followers of the twenty-something’s work up until this point also get to experience a more evolved and mature artist with this release. This time around the vocalist trades his ponytail for a full beard and a pair of readers. The boyish charm that at times may remind listening audiences of a young Tevin Campbell when he delivers melodies is still there. Overall, this project is something you’ll find yourself replaying, and it’ll have you wanting more. In 2016 will we get a Good Evening EP from the young Tracy? Will we get an official debut? Find him on SoundCloud, and Instagram @devintracy.
By: Will Eady