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Desiigner’s New English, is the Same Formula (Album Review)

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After spending an unprecedented 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Panda”, debuted at #96 and quickly ascended to #1, the 18yr old from Brooklyn, NY is blazing trails for his self. Desiigner’s legitimacy of a rapper and artist are constantly contested, but that hasn’t slowed him down. One thing that can’t be argued is his commercial success since his first single “Panda”. Recently signed to a roster of heavy hitters on Kanye West’s GOOD MUSIC imprint, Desiigner dropped his debut mixtape “New English” as an exclusive on TIDAL.

The opinion of not just Desiigner, but trap music overall, is polarizing to say the least, and to a certain extent, New English is the newest “trapter” (See what I did there?) in the debate on legitimacy of his artistry with many others who follow the same sound and vibe. Known for lyrical content that can be violent, vulgar and can sometimes glorify a less than ideal lifestyle, trap music in recent months has become synonymous with the popular radio airwaves, in particular the lead single “Panda”.

To those on the other side of the fence questioning his craft, Desiigner fire back with more of well, Desiigner. His debut effort, New English is more of what we know of Desiigner already. Clocking in at just about 35 minutes, the mixtape is short, but delivers more of what the “Panda” artist does well. Forgoing annunciation and clear diction in exchange for seemingly gliding over rhymes that he’s been known for. Lines like “I run this sh*t when I’m silent, tools on the scene when I’m mobbing” on “Talk Regardless” and “She’s twisting my weed and she rolling my swisher” on “Zombie Walk” aren’t very easy to hear on the first listen and are all implicative of the imagery we’ve come to know from him.

The production is crisp, maximalist and precise. Sirens, and snares seem immaculately placed, drums and 808’s as expected kick heavy. Overall creating a dark and eerie sound implicative of a desolate and austere gothic surrealist painting. The production is so heavy hitting and well done, its almost as if Desiinger’s rhymes take a back seat to them. “Zombie Walk” in particular stands out, again not for any lyricism particular, but for the production. Bass heavy drums and perfectly timed high-hats are littered throughout the check, while Desiigner and King Savage trade flows gloating about a lifestyle, that leaves them so high, it leaves them well, like zombies.

New English doesn’t revolutionize anything, but I get the sense that it wasn’t meant to. New English is simply another addition to the sound and aesthetic, which we’ve been familiar with. The level of musicality and craftsmanship in not just New English but trap music overall is frequently debated. Whether or not there’s actual lyricism is a hot button issue, but in any music genre, any song is more than just one aspect such as production or lyricism. The sum of all of these parts is greater than each individual piece, and the sum total is the overall aesthetic.

Desiigner’s answer to the naysayers is in fact more Desiigner. From start to finish, his energy is high, his rhymes are fierce (regardless of how inaudible they may be) and the production is menacing. Whether or not you’re here for or not, doesn’t seem to be relevant. With a co-sign from Kanye West, it doesn’t appear that Desiigner has any intention of slowing down.

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