It’s always interesting to hear the mind state of an artist in their genesis. Kanye West with the backpack, Kendrick Lamar when he was K.Dot, Childish Gambino when he just got out of NYU, all the music they released around their respective time periods were extremely exciting to listen to.
Part of the excitement was not knowing what’s next. Each artist had clear potential for greater sounds, but it was hard to tell exactly what that next sound was going to be. 2 Face is like a project that reflects what Kendrick and Kanye had when they were just starting out. The only problem is that you get a feeling that Dak could release a project right now that would sound way more capable than what 2 Face came out to be.
Heavily influenced by Neo Jazz and R&B, Dak’s new project is by no means bad. It’s perfect “no lights” music, sitting in your room with one light and playing the songs would be an experience by itself. The Los Angeles rapper has clear talent with the EP having instrumentals that are self-produced. It’s apparent based on his training, as Dak has earned a Bachelor’s in Performance Jazz Piano while also being musically affluent in other instruments like the trumpet.
There’s plenty of raw lyrics throughout and it’s really tempting to give it a TPAB comparison. It ultimately, however, gives off a much heavier Overly Dedicated vibe. It’s a young project, and you can tell the artist is just as young as the project sounds. Which is fine, but it would’ve been much more impressive 5 years ago, when all the ideas and overall vibe of OD was fairly new. It feels like Dak is doing what he does REALLY well, but just a little delayed.
For the most part, many of the songs are fairly laid back. “Distracted” has pretty good vocals from Brenna Feeney, but mediocre mixing is really holding all the vocals back from their potential.
“For Myself” is a highlight, though. The piano is phenomenal, and the hook is absolutely fantastic. The track as a whole is only an example of how much potential Dak really has as it’s genuine as hell. “I wish someone would tell me to believe, I wish that someone was me.” The Spoken Word influence that he’s garnered from his own performances is clear here.
Even then, none of the lyrics on the song are killer, but you have a feeling they really could be. There’s potential for the lyrics to be way less grounded and more surreal.
In almost every song, Dak’s energy is prevalent but for the majority of the project, that’s all I take in. The last track has Dak literally gasping for air and reminded me of a watered down version of “Wings” by Macklemore. I was just waiting for the generic children’s choir to chime in.
There weren’t many standout lines except on “For Myself.” The instrumentals are also great, but at the same time don’t really go anywhere. Dak clearly knows how to form a song together, every song seems like a blueprint for something truly great, but it also seems like the blueprint for something that’s already been done.
Listen to Dak’s 2 Strange below and for more on hip-hop, keep reading on at TrueToo.