Digibro: Gay and Dead – Album Review

(This is a critique of Digibro’s music not of the man himself)

It’s so odd seeing an artist you like stray out of their chosen craft to pursue other ventures. Usually it’s an absolute disaster, for every 8 Mile there’s about 100 bad movies starring musicians (most of them probably star Madonna).

Digibro is a particularly interesting one as he is a critic of art and as such you would expect any art he was to create to at the very least be self aware. It’s not.

It’s odd, for as much as I am entertained by most of Digi’s output, including those that stray from just Anime analysis, I have never been grabbed by his music. His style just doesn’t appeal to me.

I love Hip-Hop, more specifically lyrical Hip-Hop and that seems to be at least partially what Digi is going for. I don’t think I have the knowledge base or taste range to criticize music in general but Hip-Hop is my zone so OK with commenting on this album.

Let’s cut to the chase, the album is not very good.

Right from begining with the opener “Broken Brilliance” the album sets an unappealing tone it can never recover from. The instrumental here is not great, the instruments feel way too synthetic and Digi is nearly drowned out in the mix at parts. Both of those things being prevalent issues throughout the album’s 40 minute runtime. Mixing aside most of the beats are just not good and some are even wholly unpleasant to listen to.

Delivery

Another problem on this track that plagues the album is Digi’s delivery. It’s dreadful. He tries to bend words to make them rhyme but it ends up coming off incredibly forced (attempting to rhyme “8 A.M” and “Humans in this case). He has neither the accent or technical skill to do something like this. It’s something that Eminem does often, if you look at his songs on paper a lot of words that rhyme in the song don’t rhyme in reality, it’s called a slant rhyme. Digi is not very good at inflecting his words in such a way that they sound natural when rhyming artificially with others.

Then there’s his voices. When rapping on this project Digi’s voice is not consistent. He changes it between songs and has many occasions where he will attempt to portray another character by imitating a voice (poorly). He needs to stick to his regular voice when rapping, the delivery on some previous projects of his is not half bad. He is outshined immensely delivery wise by Endless Jess whenever he appears as a feature on this album. Plan B’s “Raking The Dead” is a fantastic example of how to do this right, in one verse he raps as a cop, a suspect and a narrator, going back and forth between them whilst keeping the voices distinct.

 

On the song “Paradise” with it’s tropical beat that seems like it may have come straight from Bikini Bottom, his delivery is neither laid back enough to match the beat nor aggressive enough to be juxtaposing against it. It’s just left hanging somewhere in the middle, his delivery often doesn’t mesh with his instrumentals intensity wise.

His multi tracking is almost never used well and it makes the song “Body Rolls” an incomprehensible mess. He seems to do this intentionally but it really makes the song unlistenable.

He’s at his best when he’s just concentrating on sticking a flow and not anything else like on “Freak Power!” one of the two tolerable tracks on this album. Without worrying about voice effects or trying to sound experimental the focus is solely on one of his better skills.

Lyrical Content

But what does delivery even matter without good lyrics?

Now I’m a but obsessive over lyrical skill. I pour over rhyme schemes endlessly and spend a lot of my time trying to make clever rhymes just for the fun of it. Digi’s rhymes are at best basic and at worst non existent.

He will often do this thing where he switches his rhyme about a line too early. Typically a skilled artist will use in rhyme to smooth the transition and failing that they’ll switch from rhyme A to rhyme B after an even number of rhyming lines are complete is complete. Digi will often switch his rhyme on the the 4th line, which can be used for emphasis when done right but being that he doesn’t seem to be saying anything of particular importance when he does this it just comes off as sloppy and jarring.

As for what he’s actually saying there isn’t much there either, I couldn’t find any particularly clever lines on my couple listens through only being caught by the seemingly stupid ones. “I’m as dead as a doorknob” is not a particularly poignant statement, most inanimate objects are pretty equally dead. On the song “Quarter” he will rhyme fuck up with itself which is a rap nerd sin unless it’s done with some clever switch in meaning between the 2 lines. On “Buttfuckers Anthem” he says “I’ll stuff your muff” which if I’m not mistaken is the wrong slang word for that title but hey I’m just nitpicking.

One constant throughout the album is the theme of sex. Look, Digi simply cannot pull off what he’s going for her. Hearing him rap constantly about sex makes him sound like an unironic Filthy Frank. I’m not sure how tongue in cheek it’s meant to be but it comes off as as Digi trying to sound cool. He can’t. “Fat and Dangerous” is a prime example of this. Digi is not innately suave enough to pull that sort of thing off, he’s not Big Pun.

 

I don’t know if he lacks self awareness about the topic or is willfully ignorant but he should take not that rappers like Pun and Biggie usually had an air of a player about them because of who they were and in spite of their physical appearance. There was a point on the song “Gayer than God” when I thought he was being insightful about this as he rapped about how he didn’t have much of a sex life but then my hopes were dashed when he chalked it up to apathy. He says earlier on that he’s cringe by design. Cringe and sex don’t go together unironically. If he wants to make songs about sex (and he clearly does) than do it like Lil Dicky does, funny and truthfully.

Finally I have to bring this up. He raps the word nigger. Now I know people have differing opinions on the appropriateness of the word’s usage but a white guy should never use it in the context of Hip-Hop.

I’m Irish, the word has never really been an issue in any community I’ve ever been apart of in real life. With the advent of Hip-Hop it is used often in an ironic sense around and by me. I personally don’t think it should be considered offensive under certain contexts regardless of who’s using it. But you’ve got to be respectful to the art form you’re using it in. As a white guy, saying nigger in a Hip-Hop song is disrespectful. Eminem has talked about this before when a tape of him saying the word leaked. He has black friends so he has obviously used it before but would never use it in a song because he respects his craft. Hip-Hop is a black artform first and foremost using the word in it, ironically or otherwise, is disrespectful to the artform. Just think about it, if I were to make a 9/11 joke right now, I think most people would be OK with it or at least wouldn’t be too offended. But if I were to make one outside the Freedom Tower in New York? I’d be killed. You have to be aware of these things, ignorance does not fly in cases like these.

Themes And Concepts

I’ve made it clear I did not care for most of the tracks on an individual level. So what about the album as a whole?

Even though the tracks seem to fit together sonically I found it hard to pinpoint a general theme. I guess there are nihilistic undertones throughout but they’re never tackled with any nuance. He just sort of lays out the fact that he’s somewhat nihilistic and ponders existentialism often and just leaves them there. It’s the equivalent of just screaming “We’re all gonna die and it doesn’t ultimately matter” for 40 odd minuets. Why can’t he expand on these topics? There’s only one way to convincingly rap as a nihilist, it’s to not rap as a nihilist. Eminem does this very effectively on his first album “The Slim Shady LP” letting us know of our impending mortality and then rapping about literally anything else because he doesn’t care, because he takes life as a joke. He raps about doing drugs and murder as a form of escapism and then juxtaposes it with the occasional depiction of grim reality on songs like “Rock Bottom”.

As for existentialism it’s again not delved into any further than surface level insight. The man’s what, 27? Surely you have something to say about these topics that extends past what a Wikipedia entry could provide. I don’t think you have to try and convince us your ideology is correct but try and make us understand why you believe it if you’re going to bring it up so often. For such a critical thinker his music does not seem to go very deep a lot of the time. Sure he’s bringing up complex ideas but if he’s not doing anything with them what’s the point. Ideological rappers such as Kendrick Lamar are so great because they take complex ideas and tell them through the use of metaphor amongst other techniques. Kendrick’s message gets across because he doesn’t shove it down your throat, it’s there for those who seek it, his style emulating his faith in god. I don’t agree with his religious sentiments but the way he tells it is so clever that I’m intrigued regardless.

Ultimately this half assed attempt at thematic throughlines and insight leads to a very boring album.

Final Thoughts

One of the worst things an album can be is boring. I have absolutely no desire to listen to this again. It’s not good enough to keep me coming back for more nor is it bad enough to stick out in my mind. I had to constantly reference my notes and relisten to tracks to remember which songs were which.

It’s not even very interesting as an insight into Digibro, it didn’t seem to offer too much in that regard. Even artists worst albums can have merit when they provide insight into the artist themselves.

It fails as a rap album lyrically, sonically and delivery wise. There’s very little here to like.

Final Score: 2/10

Thanks for reading,

Psychime

 

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