Devin the Dude: Landing Gear

Devin the Dude, Houston's sleepy-eyed hip-hop savant, seems to exist in a perpetual state of mania. For the breadth of his decade-long career, the Dude's content has focused on the holy trinity of slack: pussy, weed and alcohol. His music has been identified by a conversational, self-deprecating lyricism, slow-dragging bass lines and stringent adherence to his vices. It's hardly a modus operandi for mainstream success, but this unrelenting dedication (and subsequent shunning of deserved fame) has earned Devin an allegiance of lifelong fans. He's well aware of this, too, and he embraces them accordingly on the very first line of Landing Gear: "Well hello again my weed-smoking friends, I'm glad you came." Outsiders will almost certainly decry LG's lack of range — "What!? There's not a single auto-tuned song on this entire CD?!" — a byproduct of André 3000's inclusion on Waiting To Exhale's "What A Job" last year. But at his heart, Devin is not about extension. He's at his finest when his hirsute spit is on cruise control ("All My Draws") or recounting seemingly tedious stories with a thematic engagement ("El Grande Nalgas") or draped over dirty soul-beats (nearly every other song), not when he's out of his comfort zone. Nope, you won't find anything new on Landing Gear, and that's why it's great. Top 40 sucks anyway.

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