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Devin the Dude

Waitin' to Inhale

It's obligatory that any Devin the Dude review include the phrase "weed, wine and women." His individual albums' personalities have always come from the exact balance of these elements. Waitin' to Inhale, despite its title, is Devin's horniest release since his debut. Three of the first five songs are dedicated to sexual conquest and, disappointingly, they're largely devoid of the cleverness and psychologizing that have made the Dude unique. "I Hope I Don't Get Sick-A-This" comes right out and says it: Devin's pimpadelic lifestyle is starting to bore him. Well, his talk about it is starting to bore me. "Broccoli and Cheese" is the best of these, if only for its bizarre vegetable metaphors and playa boasts about the Dude's STD-free johnson.

Devin has always been at his best extending his lyrical scope. In person, he's reflective, and his fans benefit when he lets his mind wander. Two of Waitin' to Inhale's best tracks, "Almighty Dollar" and "What a Job This Is," fit the bill; "Dollar" is the best (okay, only) rap song about inflation I've ever heard. "Job," with strong guest appearances by Snoop Dogg and André 3000, insists that life's greatest joys come from the creative act, namely laying down tracks.

"Lil' Girl Gone" is solid, from the symphonic punch of the music to the great raps from Lil' Wayne and Bun B. The tune taps into an R&B tradition going back to Sly Stone's "Runnin' Away" and follows most recently on the heels of Ludacris and Mary J. Blige's "Runaway Love." Devin begins his rap with a line that demonstrates he's still got a writer's eye for detail: "Couldn't even fold her clothes yet / she chose to jet."

I would be remiss not to note, for the sake of 420 Nation, that this album lacks a ganja anthem on the level of "To Tha X-Treme" or "Motha." The last two tracks aim for such a tune but fall short. "Til It's All Gone" is interesting mainly for its minimal, Neptunes-like beats, which will startle listeners accustomed to the Dude's smooth crooner's funk, yet it lacks that sing-along hook.

Still, in the end, there are just as many songs on Inhale that will find a permanent place on your iPod as there are on any other Devin record -- except maybe Just Trying Ta Live -- and that's always been a pretty good standard. -- Terry Wagner

 
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