Spring has officially sprung for mumble-pop-rap enthusiasts. Rich Forever and 300 are full steam ahead with the release of Rich The Kid’s glitzy debut album, Famous Dex’s Dex Meets Dexter debut has bloomed. While Rich’s debut was filled with pulsating energy and spastic ad-libs, Dex operates on the other side of the mumble rap coin with a surprisingly specific focus on Auto-Tune croons and melancholy melodies.
The Rich Forever second-in-command emerged onto the SoundCloud scene back in 2016 to a seemingly explosive career trajectory (the rocket fuel being face tats, colorful dreads and viral videos shot by Cole Bennett). This momentum was promptly halted when footage of him beating his girlfriend surfaced online in late 2016. Guilty or innocent, the shocking video cooled down Dex’s rising stock until he dropped A$AP Rocky-assisted “Pick It Up” almost a year later. Ironically, the track that revitalized Dex’s album rollout is the album’s biggest oddball.
With the exception of “Pick It Up” and turnt track “Take Her” (alongside Wiz Khalifa), Dex is relatively pacified. Instead of a sugar rush of hi-hats and dizzying raps, Dex slows down the pace and gets off a few unexpectedly comprehensive songs. The trap star grooves kick in almost immediately, or at least after the messy intro song “DMD” and forgettable filler cut “Prove It.” J Gramm’s lightly muffled steel pan drums and equally vibey baseline makes “Japan” wildly catchy. Granted, Dex doesn’t lyrically dazzle in the slightest but manages to make “Baby girl, what you doing, where your mans?/I just popped a Xan/50 thousand in Japan” sound cool enough to sing along to. “Deadpool” also has a hypnotizing beat, this time from $B. Dex though, keeps the same lyrical stylings centered around designer clothes and deceitful and drugged-up women.
With the help of Drax Project’s angelic voice and a heavy dose of Auto-Tune for himself, “Light” is really where Dex shines brightest. Dex laces a guitar-driven beat from Davaughn with both charming words and warble.
While the subdued version of Dex checks off the versatility box, his lax swag quickly turns into laziness on the back half of the album. Snoozefests like “Them Days” and “Said So” will gently rock listeners to sleep with their monotone beats and vocals. After a handful of playthroughs, it’s hard to distinguish these latter songs from each other.
Had Dex Meets Dexter been a cut in half, it would have been much more of an enjoyable listen but there are too many low moments for the album to be championed as leading-edge. To his credit, it shows strong signs of musical improvement from the Dex of two years ago that couldn’t find a pocket to save his life.
Until he perfects the metrics of his mumbling, fans will bounce around to find their favorite song, which works in Dex’s favor thanks to the streaming era.