The New York rap revival is in full swing at the moment. We saw its rise last year with the likes of Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson peppering their fans with as many mixtapes as they could possibly spit on, but 2013 is the year for DyMe-A-DuZiN to step up and mark his territory. After releasing three acclaimed mixtapes, the Brooklyn signed a contract with Warner Bros Records at the age of 19, and this month, he dropped his latest effort, A Portrait Of Donnovan.
The Phony Ppl and Pro Era associate’s latest release looks impressive before you even start listening to it. With guest appearances from Joey Bada$$ and the late Capital STEEZ, and production from Grammy-nominated Emile Haynie, Plain Pat and Warner Bros A&R Dante Ross, the stage is set for a mixtape of the highest quality; even the artwork depicting DyMe sporting a bowtie and blazer oozes class.
Sure enough, he kicks things off in the right manner with opener “It’s Alright Now”, Emile Haynie’s cinematic production being the perfect setting for DyMe to introduce himself: “God painted the character/made a movie star in him/you are all the audience”. As expected with such a talented production cast, pretty much every track on here holds its own, and the variety of beats on show is seriously impressive. Whether it’s the 808s and twinkling synths on “Getting $$$”, the chilled, percussive “I Lied To Myself” with fellow Phony Ppl member Elbee Thrie providing the hook, or the bouncy, jovial sounding “New Brooklyn”, DyMe’s confidence and versatility is clearly evident.
The highlight of A Portrait Of Donnovan comes after just four songs. With Pro Era members Joey Bada$$, Capital STEEZ and CJ Fly crowding round the microphone alongside DyME, “Swank Sinatra” is a perfect slice of New York hip-hop, and the kind of posse-cut that could easily compete with A$AP Rocky’s “1train”. Actually, it’s probably better. As mentioned earlier, pretty much every track on here holds its own, but a few tracks that stand out more than others include “I Like” with its lazily delivered, infectious hook, the frenetic hi-hats and furious flow on “Who You?” and the cloud-rap atmospherics of “Memories”.
Despite only being a month or so into 2013, A Portrait Of Donnovan is sure to be considered one of the best mixtapes of the year, and will undoubtedly be the milestone, which marks the stratospheric rise to popularity that DyMe is sure to experience in months to come. This release has left a number of avenues open to him, and whether it be another mixtape or his major label debut with Warner Bros, we can all look forward to being suitably surprised at what he does next.