Artist: Dem Nation Boyz
Album: Ready 4 Drama
Label: Crunk Nation
Rating: 6 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
The Dirty South. This particular “genre” of Hiphop music is one of the easiest to separate the fans from the haters – it has its own instantly recognisable style of beats, style of emceeing and subject matter. Casually dismissed by the unknowing as ignorant party music, its easy to see why a lot of Dirty South artists seem to have a small, but concrete fan base, and why the music doesn’t perhaps export to the NY and LA rap markets like its fans feel it should.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, Dem Nation Boyz represent the southern style to the fullest. Based in San Antonix, Texas the 3-man crew hooked up in the winter of 2000 following the depature on two artists from their independent Crunknation label. Label founder Taz (aka Skinny Black) called out to 19 year old Young Tre to begin work with him on a new album, and as work began, Tre’s friend Goldie Mack fell into the mix. The trio set to work, and nine months later, “Ready 4 Drama” was born.
As the album commences its genuinely hard not to draw parallels with the other artists who I’ve heard pumping this style of Hiphop. The slow paced, staccato beats, and southern drawl of DNB instantly makes me think of Juvenile and Cash Money. This can be seen as a blessing and a curse at the same time, as fans of Juvi may be interested in peeping this out, whilst the ones who aint’ feelin’ his style may choose to pass on this too. Pigeonholing is a bitch – but we all do it…
Production wise, I have to admit that I was feeling a lot of the beats. Production on “Ready 4 Drama” was handled by The Track Addicts – a trio of beatmakers with roots in New Orleans, Georgia, and Indiana, who definitely show promise. Forget looking for samples here – the dark synths compliment the rappers moods and subject matter perfectly, while the staccatto drums and hi-hats are styled on Mannie Fresh and Timbaland, whilst still retaining their own originality. Standout moments for me though were the catchy flute loop on ‘Lets Give Em Somethin”, the laidback groove of ‘Sippin’ And Smokin” and the soulful singing of the filthy chorus on ‘Da Catburglars’.
The rappers, although confident and competent, aint saying anything you haven’t heard before though – most of this is bitches and niggas, murder and guns, parties, drinkin’ and getting your smoke on. As mentioned earlier this is both a blessing and a curse, as although it uses the tried and tested methods of production and subject matter it makes it all the more easy to write this off as just another Dirty South album. The double edged sword strikes again – there’s some nice cuts on here, and there’s definitely some talent and some good ideas shining through but ultimately it will probably only appeal to die-hard fans of the genre.