Dev Demetries has quietly amassed one of the finest song collections of any underground rapper in 2019 so far. Taking on the ills of his, and our world, he manages to create a consistently confident record, with his attention to detail and knack for intricately ambitious sound textures. The sound is lush. Sure, the term is overused, but here, it just applies. I challenge you to listen to this album over any decent system and not have the word jump to mind any time throughout. It makes for one compelling album, sticking to inspired grooves, tricking the listener into comfort, only to pull the rug out from under them when the profound narratives kick in.
Currently incarcerated and awaiting trial but still working on his music. Recording artist Dev Demetries, formerly known as D-Bo, has released his latest project “Jail Talk 710846” from the Marion County Jail located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The album features several talented lyricists including Famerica Jean Deau’, Ill HD, and Farrelli with production from Daylo, Buck Behind The Beat, Bable Boy Geechi, Playbwoi the Great, Lord Riddles, Z Stew, and Rossalini. There’s no real end to Dev’s aspirations here, in just 16 songs, he sifts through his own past, his present and future while searching to believe in a brighter future.
It’s just what makes this record so powerful. It’s a lot of pressure, not to mention ambition, for any album, especially a hip hop album equally capable of getting you to nod your head, as well as to think.
Right from when the opening track, “Money Machine” slides in, Dev Demetries handles it with grace and aplomb, notwithstanding his condition. The vibe is heartfelt but gorgeous on “Pain In My Heart”, featuring guttural but lithe bass and airy synths in support of Dev’s excellent raps and superb melodic singing.
As an artist Dev Demetries sums up the complexities of urban music and frenzied lyrical stimuli, reaching at times into dark recesses. The result is troubled yet rousing and delivered with a dose of anger and hope. Listen to how he gets the job done on “Goin’ In” or on the piano-dominated and poignant “Fuck It Up”.
There’s just something about the way Dev Demetries raps that gives him a bit of a storyteller quality. Listen to “Got The Wave”– maybe that steady tone of voice and relaxed delivery conveys the spirit of man that has seen too much. It is hard to resist Dev’s endearing stories and convincing atmospheres.
It’s even more difficult when he adds in the mesmerizing melodic twists. Something he does outstandingly on “Tmwy14” ft. IIIhd, “Troubled Waters”, “Birds & Caskets” and “I Know a Thing”. But that just covers the first half of the album.
A large part of my enjoyment is derived from the beats; they are a true highlight of the album, featuring an impressive diversity, multiple layers to explore, they play a large role in the actual telling of the stories. Even when they’re minimal, as on “All Ass” and “Who R Yu?”
The beats on this album feel really powerful because they aren’t simply just a backing for the vocals but rather they become part of the story, building along with the songs. Listen to the atmosphere and mood the keyboards create on “Just in Time” and “Ride Wit Me”, along with the resonating bass lines.
“Jail Talk 710846” is a very stubborn album, it forces you to pay close attention to detail and narrative to get the full scope of its intentions, and quite cleverly, Dev Demetries leaves the best for last, as he winds things up with the absolute standouts, and catchy earworms – “Real Life” and “Free Da Ahks”.
If “Jail Talk 710846” isn’t the album that breaks through for him, it begs the question: what more does a rap virtuoso with an uncompromising vision have to do to garner some damn attention?