Devin The Dude – Suite 420
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Devin The Dude, like fellow walking riots Redman, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Biz Markie, pretty much doesn’t deviate from his oddball path. You know each time out what you’re going to get even if the trimmings are a bit different than what you had in mind. For an artist that may not fit inside the confines of what many might consider an emcee he has carved out a niche for himself and has a string of consistent albums under his belt.
This is the reason why Suite 420 is a bit of a letdown for me. The problem isn’t so much Devin’s mic performance. If you have a problem with tales of smoking weed, growing weed, having sex with women while smoking weed, replicating DNA using weed as a catalyst, etc. this or any Devin album isn’t for you. But it’s more so in how uneven the production provided by the Coughee Bros is on here.
The record starts off wonderfully with the “Cultural Coughee” skit and “We Get High”, which would sound at home on any of Devin’s previous releases. The futuristic funk production blends right into “Still Comin” and acts as a mini song cycle. With lines like “I write a verse, do a song, sing a ringtone/anything to keep you on my dingaling bone” its pretty clear that age — he’s 40 as of June 4 — and tenure hasn’t cleaned up The Dude’s act any, thankfully.
The middle portion of the record is where the quality dips a bit. “I Gotta Ho” and “Ultimate High” have beats that are below Devin’s standards, but the delightful corniness of Devin’s singing on “I Can’t Handle It” is so great that it almost makes you forget about them. “Where Ya At” doesn’t fare as well, as the disjointed BBD style singing doesn’t mesh well with the generic sound bed.
Things pick up again on “Its On You” as Devin is joined by Korey-B, Ced-B, and Tony Mac for just exactly what you would gather knowing the parties involved. The “Twitta” skit leads into “Lil Funky Freestyle” and closes the album out with a bang.
There are no high profile guests on Suite 420 and, as a matter of fact, it’s probably better off as a result because you get to see The Dude’s personality on full display. That’s a rarity on a hip-hop record nowadays. Barring the production missteps and lapses in sequencing, Suite 420 is more of the same from Mr. Boo Boo’n. And if you have followed him since his days in The Odd Squad, you’ll know that’s not a knock.