Review Summary: Almost too boring to even be offensive, almost.
Soul bearing became en vogue in rap sometime around 2009 when artists like Kid Cudi and Drake started breaking through to the mainstream. From there, the genre has been spiraling downward to see how close it can veer to harrowing without becoming repulsive.
Releases like The Weeknd’s House of Balloons, Danny Brown’s XXX
, and Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d.city
have taken the genre to the edge of despair with incredible results. GDP and the Wrong Address’ new EP Holla
attempts to further explore this by being a bracing portrait of anger and jealousy but ends up somewhere between offensive and boring.
Holla is at its best when GDP is working his in the pocket flow over producers The Wrong Address’ dense, jazzy beats. Album highlight “Catatonia” succeeds through its bump shuffle drum break and the enticingly mysterious hook of “Staring at the sun with glazed eyes and a smile.” Over a thick bass line, GDP sketches little details of a relationship’s lingering burn – it works because its forward momentum carries it through the haze.
Things drop hard after that.
“The Art of Blowing Glass VS The Act of Breakin” opens with the abysmal line “A pimp like Dumbledore/A whore like mother Mary/Televangelists keep closets full of fairies” delivered in a tone that suggests its author thinks it’s the deepest thing ever written. Here we get our first taste of the album’s rampant misogyny, “Happiness is warm cum, bang bang shoot shoot.” Between lines like “She’s had a couple partners but its tighter than you think” or “Don’t believe what they say to you in bed/They say the same to everyone soon she’ll say the same to someone else” and the slut-shaming music video for “Friends that F**k” (in which two women prance about in their underwear as the camera watches with scorn), Holla has all the sexual politics of a Limp Bizkit album. GDP is no better off, “I’m depressed all day/So we could have sex all night or argue,” he moans.
Instead of coloring his depression with beauty or involving wordplay, GDP and the Wrong Address succumb to utter despair, wallowing in bitterness and anger. Which, in itself, could be interesting if the album wasn’t such a slog. The instrumentals lope along at slow tempos with dank melodies and murky rhythms that make every song feel 20 minutes long. It doesn’t help when GDP is dropping lyrics like “Under my arm, under the sheets, stained with fluids that rain like sleet.”
isn’t bad simply because its misogynistic or depressing, it’s bad because it just isn’t compelling. The songs hold at such similar tempos and themes that the album runs completely out of surprise a quarter of the way through. Without anything even slightly less dour to contrast the misery, Holla falls flat. Lets hope GDP finds himself a little more stable before his next release.