6ix9ine - Dummy Boy (Review)

Martin_Canine
6IX9INE
Dummy Boy
★★★1/2☆

Through his guest verses on two hit singles by German rappers - Gigi (Zkittlez) by Gringo and International Gangstas, a collaboration with Farid Bang and Capo, as well as French rapper SCH - 6ix9ine made himself a name in German speaking territory as well. He was especially praised for his contribution to the former song, and also many Americans were surprised: it was the first wider known instance where he doesn’t scream at all, and he actually does rap solidly. To be honest, despite me having seen potential in him in my review of his first album, I was kind of surprised myself - I never saw him as a straightforward rhymer, rather as a rock rapper to the likes of Scarlxrd, but of course with much less interesting things to say. Unlike when he puts on his loud and aggressive voice, this calmer flow actually fit onto typical trap beats. With that in mind, I hoped for an album on which he either stopped screaming when performing some decent trap or selected a bunch of wilder and more aggressive beats. Everyone in American rap that is not named Eminem currently leans towards a more laid back, somewhat apathetic delivery - 6ix9ine could be a welcome exception, or he could be one of several artists to deliver some catchy trap no-brainers.

Dummy Boy doesn’t repeat the mistakes Day69 made, and feels a whole lot more professional and secure. With better production through his newly found fame, but minus aggressive songs like Billy, 93, Doowee and Chocolaté, which came closest to the sound that suits him best and which still end up in my smartphone’s playlist now and then, Dummy Boy has Tekashi 6ix9ine leaning closer towards trap, and adjusting his voice in a way that makes him stand out next to a gazillion of Future and Lil Pump ripoffs, but always fits with the tone of the beat. There is little doubt that 6ix9ine spent his time in Germany studying the current German charts. Otherwise, songs like Kiki and Bebe wouldn’t exist. The latter is an almost 1:1 copy of the Afrotrap trend that is currently booming in some Central European countries. So far, the closest an American rapper came to the dancehall inspired genre is Cupcakke’s Crayons, but what Tekashi and his producers do is a near perfect imitation. If that’s a good or a bad thing is left to your imagination. He’s definitely not Raf Camora, but he does it better than Azet.

More interesting are the tracks inspired by trap and conventional hip hop. The artist’s vocals get adjusted in a way that they get rough whenever they need to be, or in other words, when the beat is strong enough to handle it, and always at a level it fits the tone (e.g. on Kanga he’s louder but not full throttle). One of the frustrating things about Gummo was that it had a standard, chilled trap beat but almost rock-ish vocals. The closest his new album comes to this is Tati, but even this is levels above said song due to its exciting string loop. Stoopid might has the best combination of a cool beat and aggressive delivery apart from Billy from his last album. An album of jams like these and he might actually be able to compete with the other big names of the subgenre. And on several songs, like the actually pretty soft and melodious Feefa, 6ix9ine is actually closer to singing to the likes of Akon or T-Pain.

Kanye West and Nicki Minaj have scene stealing verses on Fefe, Mama and Kanga, the other guest stars are mostly on one level with the main artist. The latter two of the tracks also rank among the album’s best moments. Mama has a surreal, almost avantgarde trap beat, and an unusually melodic verse by 6ix9ine. But most of all, it’s a Nicki Minaj show, who perform the catchy chorus. Kanga is an old-fashioned crunk party rap tune that could as well count as a leftover from Lil Jon.

As on Day69, 6ix9ine’s lyrical depth is basically non-existent, for most of the time he’s spitting basic phrases, but that’s not what he’s about anyway. What artists like him want is using their voice in a catchy way and create songs with hit potential that keep the people going. Even though 6ix9ine’s life has more than enough fuel for a full blown trilogy of crime movies, it’s probably best for him to stay within superficial territory on his music - if he had chosen to include personal songs, it would have only backfired on him anyway. Instead, Dummy Boy always aims for the tracks that won't leave your head too soon. And he achieves that with both more words and more power than other trappers. Still, Dummy Boy is no Lil Pump, it lacks the amount of most irresistible bangers to be that, but it’s solid fodder for trap fans who want something with a little more personality than your average subgenre artist.

Comments

I honestly would've enjoyed his music if he wrote better lyrics and stopped rapping about hoes, s3x, gang violence, and cash. He DOES have potential though and I'd say he's improved. - CharismaticKat

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